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Before You Call a Plumber, Can You Unclog it Yourself?

Toilets are great – when they work.  When your toilet gets clogged, it can be a disaster.  Here are  a few tips to try even before calling a plumber.

First of all, the most important step to take is the one you should not be taking.  If your toilet is clogged, do not flush again.  Flushing an already clogged toilet just causes it to back up even more, or even overflow, which will cause you clean up problems in addition to plumbing problems.  So if your best solution is to just keep flushing and to just keep jiggling the handle, you might be better off just calling a licensed plumber, and having somebody take care of the problem professionally.

Before doing anything, put some rubber or latex gloves on, because you may get dirty.  Cover the floor around the toilet with newspaper or a towel that can be thrown away.  Taking simple precautions like these before getting started can pay off dividends in cleanliness or sanitation.

A simple quick fix is to pour some hot water and dish detergent into the bowl.  This can loosen things up, and might solve the clog all by itself.  If you live in an apartment building, this is not recommended though, so just pick up the phone and call your plumber.

If you have another bathroom, and can live without this one for a little while, you can buy special enzymes at a plumbing supply store or a general hardware store, and let it sit in the pipes doing its work.  Of course, a plunger can always do the trick, especially if combined with one of these other methods.  It’s likely to be one of the first things your plumber tries, as well.

At the end of the day, though, anything you try runs the risk of making your plumbing worries even worse.  Most licensed plumbers would recommend that you give them a call at the first sign of trouble.  If you do decide to be your own handyman, and then call your plumber if you’ve given up, it’s always very important to go over step by step with him, exactly what measures you took to try to unclog the toilet, especially if chemicals were used.  Good luck!