Toilets clog for all sorts of reasons and many clogs are difficult to prevent. The vast majority of toilet backups are caused by too much waste and too much toilet paper being flushed at once. A simple plunge usually clears that kind of temporary clog easily enough. However, a significant number of clogs involve foreign objects that won’t flush all the way through the line. I recently conducted an informal survey among several Roto-Rooter branches and learned that the most common item they are fishing out of toilet traps these days is the clip-on toilet bowl deodorizer. They’re large enough that they won’t pass through the 2-inch toilet trap but they will go out of sight, just out of view from the person hovering over the bowl.
One common reason foreign objects find their way into toilets is that too often people leave the lid open. And if you have one of those hutches or shelving/cabinet units over your toilet tank, things
tend to fall out and into open toilets. This includes items such as perfume bottles, deodorant, soap bars, medicine bottles, candles and whatever else people keep on the shelves. If you get into the
habit of keeping the toilet lid closed, you won’t have a problem. But too often, people freak out when something lands in the toilet. Nobody wants to stick their hands into the bowl to retrieve the item so they’ll take their chances and attempt to flush it out of sight! Better to take a deep breath, put on some old rubber dish gloves or latex gloves and grab the item or you will end up with a clogged toilet that needs repair.
Since the holiday gift-giving season is approaching, there is something else you need to know. Many of those new toys, especially the ones small enough to fit into a Christmas stocking, often take their first swims in the toilet. We wrote up a great article on seasonal plumbing tips for the winter that you can read to avoid common problems. We commonly find action figures, toy boats, submarines, army men, Hot Wheels cars and other toys in the toilet trap or the branch line. For young kids, there is something special about playing with toys in the bathtub…and yes, the toilet.