How to Handle a Clogged Toilet or Drain

How to Handle a Clogged Toilet or Drain

plumbing emergency like a clogged drain or toilet can happen at some pretty inopportune times. Sometimes ignoring the clog and going about your daily life until you have the time to take care of it is an option, but this isn’t always the case. Your family’s needs don’t stop. If you have people that are going to need to use a shower or toilet that is clogged, you need to take care of it quickly. These emergencies can come in the middle of the day or the middle of the night, but there are a few steps you can take to handle them quickly in either case.

Turn Off Water

The first response to any plumbing emergency, including clogs, is to turn off the water. This is obvious for a leak or running faucet; it is less obvious but equally important for clogs. If a toilet is clogged and about to overflow, reach inside the toilet tank and push the stopper down until the tank is finished filling. Next, turn off the shutoff valve to the clogged fixture. If it doesn’t have one, turn off the main shutoff valve. If there is a water-using appliance that flows through the drain, turn it off as well.


Once the water is off it’s time to plunge. First, choose the right plunger. A flange plunger has an extended rubber lip that helps it get a better seal in toilets. A cup plunger is a standard plunger that works well in bathtubs, showers, sinks, and floor drains. Start with either plunger by placing it over the hole. While keeping the plunger standing straight up, push it completely down and back up about 20 times, then check if the clog has been dislodged. Repeat this process until you succeed or until you are too tired to continue.

Call a Plumber

If you can’t get the drain cleared yourself, call a plumber. You may be tempted to try more aggressive solutions, like snaking, but these processes can do more harm than good if not performed by a professional. Even if a drain is clogged in the middle of the night and you need it repaired by morning, a Roto-Rooter plumber is available 24/7. Within a couple hours of your call, you should have your problem taken care of.

Other Plumbing Emergencies

Clogs aren’t the only plumbing emergencies that can occur, but the response to most of these emergencies is always similar. Your first job is always to stop the flow of water. After you’ve attempted any fixes you want to try on your own, it’s time to call in an emergency plumber to get your house back into working order as quickly as possible.

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