10 Common Causes Of Clogged Toilets And What To Do About It

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Michael Foster
June 21, 2024
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Are you asking yourself, “why do toilets clog?” We want you to know that a clogged piece of hardware for human waste may be a frustrating and unpleasant experience, but it is also a common problem that can happen to anyone. Understanding what causes clogged toilets will help you quickly prevent and fix the problem.

10 causes or reasons for a clogged toilet and what to do to prevent or fix it

  • Overuse of toilet paper
It is one of the most common causes of why toilet clogs. We want you to know that too much tissue paper usage may build up on pipes and cause a blockage. You can avoid this if you only dispose of the recommended amount of tissue paper. If your toilet is frequently clogged, try using less tissue paper and see if that helps.
  • Flushing non-biodegradable materials
Another common cause is the disposal of non-biodegradable materials, such as wipes, sanitary products, and paper towels. These materials do not break down in the water and may cause pipe blockages. That's why it's necessary to flush tissue and human waste and properly dispose of other materials.
  • Foreign objects
Children may accidentally drop small toys into the bowl, and jewelry may fall out of their pockets while using the bathroom. These foreign objects caused a clogged toilet. Ensure to keep an eye on children when using the bathroom and check for lost jewelry before flushing.
  • Grease, hair, and soap scum buildup
These materials will stick to the sides of your pipes and slowly build up over time, eventually causing a blockage. To stop yourself from asking, "what can clog a toilet?" It is crucial to use a drain cleaner regularly and to avoid pouring grease down your sink or shower drain.
  • Hard water
We want you to know that hard water will leave mineral deposits in your plumbing lines, leading to blockages. It is essential to install a water softener to remove the minerals and to flush your lines regularly.
  • Root infiltration
Do you know that tree roots can grow? You read it right! The roots of a tree can grow in pipelines and be the reason for a blockage. You can avoid this if you keep trees and shrubs well-trimmed away from your sewer line.
  • Sewer line blockages
Blockages in your main sewer line can cause backups in toilets. Make sure to have regular sewer line evaluations to identify and address any issues.
  • Old or damaged pipes
Pipes that are old or damaged may not be able to handle the amount of waste they receive, leading to clogs. To ensure not to experience toilet clogging, ensure regular pipe inspections and replace any old or damaged pipes.
  • Flushing inappropriate items
Flushing items such as cigarette butts, cotton balls, or dental floss can cause blockages in the pipes. It is necessary to flush tissue paper and human waste down your toilet to avoid blocking.
  • Septic tank issues
Septic tanks that are not properly maintained or are too small for your household can cause clogging. You must have regular septic tank inspections and ensure the tank size is appropriate for your household.

Why did my toilet clog for no reason?

You must know why a toilet might clog for no apparent reason. Some possible causes include the following:
  1. Old or damaged pipes: Pipes that are old or damaged may not be able to handle the amount of waste they receive, leading to clogs.
  2. Mineral deposits buildup: Hard water may leave mineral deposits in your pipes, leading to blockages.
  3. Root infiltration: Tree roots can grow into your pipes and cause clogs.
  4. Sewer line blockages: Blockages in your main sewer line may cause backups in toilets.
  5. Septic tank issues: Septic tanks that are not properly maintained or are too small for your household will cause clogged toilets.
  6. Poor installation: Incorrect installation of your toilet or pipes can lead to clogs and other problems.
  7. Incorrect toilet usage: Inappropriate flushing items like sanitary napkins, baby wipes, cigarette butts, paper towels, and others can cause blockages in your pipes.
If your toilet is frequently clogged, you should call a plumber to inspect what causes a toilet clog and address any underlying issues.

How do you fix a toilet that keeps clogging?

If your sanitary hardware that collects human urine and feces keeps clogging, there are several things you can try to fix the problem:
  1. Use a plunger: Try using a plunger to break up the blockage. Make sure to create a tight seal around the base of your toilet bowl and use a back-and-forth pumping motion to dislodge the clog.
  2. Use a plumbing snake: If the plunger doesn't work, try using a plumbing snake to reach the blockage and break it up. You must insert the plumbing snake into the drain opening and pump/ push it through the pipes until you feel resistance. Turn the handle to break up the clog.
  3. Check the trap: The trap is the curved portion of the drain pipe under your toilet. It is designed to hold water and prevent sewer gasses from entering the bathroom. If the trap is dry, this is the reason why your toilet gets clogged. Try pouring a bucket of water into the toilet to fill the trap and break up the clog.
  4. Try a chemical cleaner: If none of those methods work, try using a chemical cleaner to break up clogs. Follow the instructions on the package, and be sure to use the correct amount.
  5. Consider calling a plumber: If your toilet continues to clog despite your efforts, it may be necessary to call a plumber for professional help. A plumber will inspect your pipes and address any underlying issues.
Take note! Regular maintenance of your toilet and pipes, avoiding inappropriate flushing items, and being mindful of what is being flushed can help prevent clogs.

How to Clean and Maintain Your Toilet?

Maintaining a toilet is crucial to keep it functioning properly and to prevent clogs from occurring. Here are some steps to take when cleaning and maintaining it:
  1. Use a toilet cleaner: Regularly cleaning your bowl with a toilet cleaner will help to prevent the buildup of stains, grime, and bacteria. It may help to keep your lavatory looking and smelling fresh.
  2. Inspect for leaks: Check for leaks around the base, which may cause water damage and increase your water bill. If you notice a leak, call a plumber to address the problem.
  3. Check the flush: Make sure it is flushing properly. A weak flush is an indicator of a clog or a problem with the flushing mechanism.
  4. Monitor the fill valve: The fill valve controls the water level in the toilet tank. Too high or too low water leave can also cause a problem with flushing. What to do? Just check if the fill valve is adjusted properly.
  5. Clean the bowl: Remove the stain and grime buildup inside the bowl using a toilet brush. This procedure can also help to prevent odors.
  6. Clean the tank: Clean the inside of the toilet tank with a bowl cleaner or white vinegar. It will help to remove any buildup of stains and grime.
  7. Check the wax ring: The wax ring is a seal between the toilet's base and the sewer pipe. Over time, the wax ring may dry out and develop leaks. Call a plumber to replace the wax ring if you notice a leak.
  8. Examine the water supply: Ensure the water supply is turned on and working properly.
  9. Inspect for clogs: Be on the lookout for them in the toilet and address them immediately to prevent further damage.
  10. Regular Inspection: Regularly inspect the septic tank, if you have one, to ensure it is functioning well and preventing any potential backup.
Following these steps and regular maintenance may help keep your fixture in good working order and prevent clogs. They said, "Prevention is always better than cure," so keep up with regular maintenance.

Will a Clogged Toilet Eventually Unclog Itself?

A clogged bowl may eventually unclog itself, depending on the clog causes. For example, if a buildup of tissue paper causes a clog, it may eventually break down and clear your pipes. However, this is not always the scenario and is not guaranteed.
Some clogs, such as those caused by foreign objects or grease, may not break down and require intervention to unclog. In some cases, if it is severe enough, it may cause damage to your pipes, which will require repairs.
Additionally, if a blockage occurs in your main sewer line, it may not be clear and may lead to backups in your toilet and other fixtures at home. It is not recommended to wait for the fixture to unclog itself, as it will cause further damage and lead to unpleasant odors and unsanitary conditions.

Call and Work with Professionals!

When your toilet is clogged, it is best to address the problem immediately by using a plunger or a plumbing snake to save money. But if these ways do not work, hiring a plumber for professional assistance may be necessary. Great news! Home Alliance is here and ready to serve you 24/7.
By the way, if you also want to know how to get rid of a clogged drain, you can check it out on our blog page.