Clogged toilet: Easy fixes when your bowl overflows

Clogged toilets are easy to fix. If your toilet bowl is overflowing you can repair your clogged toilet by following these easy steps. If you toilet appears to be clogged and is draining slowly you might also want to read our repair tips for toilet bowls that drain slowly.

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Toilet Clogged: Bowl Drains Slowly

The bowl or drain is clogged or blocked


First, prepare the floor around the toilet should water overflow or splash out. If the bowl is overflowing or filled to the rim you will need to bail it out. Use rubber gloves, a bucket and a small container to empty about half of the water from the bowl.

See our plunger review to find the best toilet plunger for your home.

If the bowl is empty fill it to half full with water.

Place a plunger flush over the drain opening in the bottom of the toilet. Quickly pump the plunger about a dozen times, then remove it with a quick motion. If the blockage is dislodged the water should rush away. If not, repeat the process as necessary.


If a plunger does not clear the toilet an auger will likely do the trick. Be careful not to scratch the porcelain in the bowl when inserting the coil into the drain. Once the auger is fed into the drain turn it clockwise until you feel resistance. Then turn it counterclockwise. Repeat this process to clear the clog, then remove the auger from the drain. If the drain is not fully cleared try using the plunger again and then repeat with the auger if necessary.

Remove the toilet

If you are still not able to clear the toilet you may need to remove the toilet to remove the blockage from below.

Float ball is too low or adjust water-intake assembly

Reposition the Float Ball
Reposition float ball
Reposition the float ball if it is too low and your toilet is not flushing completely.

If the float ball is too low the toilet may not flush completely and you may need to adjust the float ball back up slightly to get more water in the tank. You can simply bend the float arm up slightly to keep the water about 1 inch below the top of the overflow pipe. Flush the toilet to a make sure it enough water is getting into the bowl.

If it also possible that the float ball is damaged or rubbing against the side of the tank. If it is rubbing the tank, gently bend it toward the center of the tank. If the float ball is damaged, it will not rise enough to close the ball cock. The float ball can be screwed off of the float arm counter clockwise. You may need to use pliers to grasp the float arm. When placing the new float ball on the arm, apply petroleum jelly or plumbers tape to the threads.

Adjust the Water-Intake Assembly
Water intake assembly.
If your toilet has a water intake assembly, adjusting it may fix your problem.

Your toilet may have a water-intake assembly instead of a float ball.
To adjust the water level in the bowl so it does not flow into the overflow pipe, pinch the clip attached to the thin metal rod and slide it and the cup down to lower the water level.

If the water level in the tank is too low sliding the water-intake assembly clip and cup up will raise the water level.

Try moving the clip about an inch at a time and flushing the toilet to see the results.

Flush holes are blocked

Clean and clear flush holes

If the flush holes below the bowl rim are blocked the toiled will not drain properly. You can try using toilet bowl cleaner and a brush to clear the holes. If that does not work use a coat hanger to clear the holes and clean the bowl again.

Save money with toilet repairs

The Seattle Times recommends fixing a gravity toilet during a bathroom makeover rather than replacing it. Taking care of toilet repairs on your own can help cut costs during a remodeling job, since new toilets can run from a couple of hundred to several thousand dollars.

For those times when only a new loo will do, however, consider the bathroom’s location. If it’s near a kitchen or other living area — or if your home is small — you’ll probably prefer a quieter toilet, such as a traditional gravity model or a vacuum-assisted toilet. Noisier is a third type: the pressure-assisted model.

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Quick tips for unclogging your toilet

Nobody enjoys fighting with a problem toilet, especially when its a clogged one. There are a number of ways to effectively clear your toilets drain and I have mentioned one of those below:

Good Old Soapy Water – You may not believe it at first, but one of the best drain cleaners that you can own, is right over by your kitchen sink. Dish detergent.

A good amount of liquid soap, mixed with a small bucket of water can work extremely well with even the toughest clogged toilet. Simply pour the mixture into the toilet bowl and allow to sit for about fifteen minutes. After your short wait, simply plunge and flush.

Your clog should be gone for good! Or, at least until the next one.

Pimp your potty with a bidet

The Los Angeles Times takes a look at bidets that can be fit onto existing toilets.

With the introduction of high-tech bidet seats that can be retrofitted to existing toilets, products such as Toto’s Washlet and Brondell’s Swash are gradually becoming standard equipment in high-end homes.One of the selling points: environmental friendliness. Though the bidet does increase water usage slightly, it can reduce the use of toilet paper by 50% to 90%, according to Brondell. That may not seem significant until one realizes that Americans use more than 3.2 million tons of toilet paper annually, cutting down 54 million trees in the process. The production of each roll requires an average of 1 1/2 pounds of wood, 37 gallons of water and 1.3 kilowatts of energy, and it involves toxic chemicals such as chlorine.

Lack of toilets is deadly

The World Toilet Association says the lack of proper toilet facilities kills almost two million people a year.

Most of these 1.8 million deaths occur in Asia. Inadequate sanitation hits children especially high, with 90 percent of the deaths occurring in children under five.

The United Nations has designated 2008 the Year of the Toilet in an effort to improve sanitation in developing nations.

“The funding needed is not overwhelmingly large, but the return is immense,” said Vanessa Tobin of U.N. children’s agency UNICEF. “Political support is extremely important. Advocacy for this issue is a high priority.”

According to the United Nations, spending $10 billion a year could halve the proportion of people without basic toilet facilities by 2015, and Tobin said this investment would net an estimated $84 billion in savings from improved public health and better living conditions.