How Come My Toilet Always Clogs?

411 plumb There are many reasons why your toilet bowl can clog up. The toilet bowl is designed to flush regular toilet paper and not designed to flush other items. There is a long history of people flushing everything from paper towels, maxi-pads, tampon applicators, cigarette butts, cat liter and of course kitchen grease. These items when flushed can get caught up inside of the toilet bowl trap and even in the toilet flange and can create a partial clog or complete toilet line stoppage.

If you have just moved into an apartment or house and have not flushed anything besides toilet paper down your toilet there could be an existing problem with the toilet or the toilet bowl drain line. If this is the case you will want to contact the landlord if you rent. If you own the home you may either want to fix this problem yourself or call a professional plumber to repair the toilet for you. If you are handy you can attempt to figure out why the toilet is clogging all of the time. You can first try the basic ways to unclog the toilet which include using a plunger and toilet auger or hand snake.

If you have already tried to plunge the toilet and have also used a hand snake and the toilet keeps clogging then you could possibly have something stuck inside of the toilet trap or something partially blocking the opening to the toilet flange. What you will have to do is remove the toilet and check to see if the toilet flange or the toilet bowl trap have something lodged inside of them. Removing the toilet bowl can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on how handy you are and your physical strength.

There are also a few other things to think about if your toilet is clogging all of the time. You also will want to check and make sure that the water level inside of your toilet bowl tank is at the correct level. If your toilet tank is only filling partially that will prevent the toilet from flushing properly because it will not have enough of a water supply to do so. The next thing you will want to check it so see if your toilet flapper is opening all of the way when you flush the toilet. You can do this by removing the toilet tank lid and then flushing the toilet while watching the action of the flapper. If your flapper is not staying open long enough this could cause the toilet to only half flush.

If your house or building is on a slab and you have a septic system you will want to make sure that the cesspool is not overfull. If this is the case your toilet could be backing up because the septic tank /cesspool need to be emptied. If your house or apartment in on a slap and your toilet is clogged and you see waste water coming up from the tub, this usually means that the cesspool is full or the main sewage line is clogged. You will want to call a professional drain cleaning company, cesspool company or even a licensed plumber to help you empty the waste out of your septic tanks or even clear the main sewage line as well.

Posted in toilet questions, Toilet Repairs
6 comments on “How Come My Toilet Always Clogs?
  1. Great tips! I’m going to give it a try with my stubborn toilet(s). What do you think about the dish soap hot water method? Also, I’d be interested to know your thoughts on whether regular maintenance with natural products such as Natural House’s Flushy work? Also, do you think that using recycled or green toilet paper helps? I’ve only been in my house for a few months and I won’t be able to survive if my toilet keeps clogging. Fortunately, I’m in a rental, so I can always call my property manager if the normal course of action does not work. However, I do want to be a responsible renter and contribute to proper maintenance? Any recommendations?

    Also, I linked to your site in a recent post on my blog!

    • Redwood says:

      Hi Melissa Say What,
      First of all I’d avoid using the “Dish Soap Hot Water Method” as bad advice. It is an excellent way to end up buying a new toilet when the old one cracks from the thermal shock of hot and cold water in the bowl. It may just get you a clean toilet that flushes properly, unfortunately it will be a new toilet.

      As for maintenance products for bowl cleaning any of the products that go directly into the bowl are fine by me. The ones that store a mixed solution of the cleaner in the toilet tank are problematic and will void the warranty on a toilet. As far as natural products such as Natural House‚Äôs Flushy, if the product does a good job of cleaning, and the “Green Product” doesn’t involve taking a lot of green out of my wallet, then they are fine by me. $4.99 + tax & shipping every month seems a little higher priced than many of the other methods of cleaning a toilet.

      One thing to note is many of these products contain a bacteria which supposedly helps maintain septic systems and “keeps drain lines clean,” which are more of a marketing scam that anything that is needed. Septic Systems maintain their own level of bacteria for the digesting of waste and it is produced naturally. As long as you don’t do anything bad such as introduce a sterilizing quantity of chlorine bleach into the system the bacteria levels will be fine without supplements. Even if you did “kill the tank” the introduction of bacteria will not help as long as the sterilizing bleach level in the tank is at the sterilizing level, the bacteria will return once the bleach level is reduced naturally.

      In addition these bacterial products do nothing to improve the flushing ability of the toilet. The toilet’s flushing ability is best maintained by making sure the water level in the tank is at the proper level, the components in the tank are functioning properly, and the holes around the underside of the rim and the siphon jet at the bottom of the bowl are not blocked with mineral deposits.

      Using Recycled or “Green” toilet paper helps the environment for sure, but as to whether of not it prevents clogs it is not much if any better than most of the single ply toilet papers. It’s the tougher papers such as Charmin and Cottonelle which do not break apart easily, which can accumulate in a line at a point where a problem exists or, in the inlet baffle area of a septic tank causing problems.

      If you really want to be “Green” why not consider using a Bidet Toilet Seat and eliminate using toilet paper altogether? The bidet seats only use water and will leave you feeling, “Oh So Fresh & Clean.” You can read about Bidet Toilet Seats By Clicking Here.

      Thanks for linking this site in your blog,

  2. WOW! Thanks for the thorough reply. You’ve answered all of my questions. I’ve always been a two-ply kinda gal, but I might try to seek out an acceptable 1-ply recycled alternative. Kill two birds with one stone!

    Since I’m currently in a rental, bidet toilet seats are something I would consider for my own home!

    Thank you SO MUCH for your response!

  3. Mary says:

    Thank you for the information. I had a question about certain areas and what type of toilet paper you use. If I were to live in an Urban area, I’m finding that the thicker the toilet paper the more clogs I am getting. Do you have information about living in Urban areas and their sewage lines?

    • Redwood says:

      Hi Mary,
      I don’t think that the area is as big a factor as is the condition of the pipes. The thicker bulkier toilet paper is much tougher than the thinner single ply 1,000 sheet roll types of toilet paper. The thinner paper breaks apart very easily when it is wet so many times just the act of throwing it into the toilet and flushing will have the toilet paper broken into small pieces as it leaves the toilet and enters the pipe. The tougher papers may be completely intact at even 100′ into the sewer line and that is after being flushed, falling several floors and going though the horizontal pipes to leave the building. I have seen intact clumps of folded paper with a sewer inspection camera 100′ out in a sewer line.

      Older sewer lines often have things such as rust, root intrusion, misaligned joints, bellies (sags) that hold water, or leaking joints that allow the water running through the line to leak out before it can carry all the solid waste to the city sewer, all of these defects are places where tougher intact clumps of toilet paper may catch and accumulate resulting in a clog. Most of the buildings in urban areas tend to be older than the buildings in the suburbs, which really didn’t become heavily developed until after WW II in the 1950’s with the building of the Interstate Highway System which allowed easy commutes into the city for work. It is merely a case of the cities having older sewer lines, rather than the location being a cause for clogs.


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