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View Full Version : If Drano won't unclog a toilet, what (other than a plunger) will?


BrainGlutton
01-29-2008, 02:59 PM
I have a stopped-up toilet in my half-bath -- near as I can figure, because some asstard guest flushed paper towels down it. I thought I had a plunger but I can't find it. A bottle of Drano or Liquid Plumr always says, "Do not use on toilets." Is there any other product I can use?

Quartz
01-29-2008, 03:01 PM
Get some long-sleeve rubber gloves and try and remove the blockage by hand.

Cluricaun
01-29-2008, 03:03 PM
And if that doesn't work get yourself a plumbers snake (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plumber's_snake) at your hardware store.

Valgard
01-29-2008, 03:03 PM
There's a short snake meant specifically for toilets called a "Toilet auger" - it's under $10 and you should be able to find one at any hardware store:

http://amazon.com/Gen-Wire-Spring-Toilet-Auger/dp/B000DZGJZW/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1201640578&sr=1-2

Shagnasty
01-29-2008, 03:10 PM
I own a toilet snake and it works. Mine only cost about $7 at Home Depot.

Squink
01-29-2008, 03:15 PM
Is there any other product I can use?The shockwave from a detonating M-80 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M-80_(explosive)) might loosen the clog.

Voyager
01-29-2008, 03:17 PM
Funny you should mention this. One of ours got blocked, and my wife tried to fix it by pouring boiling water down it. She created a leak. When I replaced the wax seal, I discovered that the blockage had come from her dropping her car keys down it. ("Oh that's where they went. :rolleyes: )

We've also had blockages from the sewer line being blocked. You can rent a big power snake, assuming you have a good access point, and clear it out. We found that doing this on our own was much cheaper (and more successful) than calling RotoRooter or the equivalent.

XaMcQ
01-29-2008, 03:50 PM
If you have to go out and buy something, why not buy a plunger? Just curious.

Wee Bairn
01-29-2008, 03:57 PM
Try the plunger first-I have the snake thing an ashamedly admit I have no idea how the damn thing works.

BrainGlutton
01-29-2008, 04:46 PM
Does anybody know why you're not supposed to pour Drano down a toilet?

Wee Bairn
01-29-2008, 05:08 PM
Per the Drano website, the heat generated can damage the porcelain coating of the bowl or even crack it.

ASAKMOTSD
01-29-2008, 05:12 PM
Does anybody know why you're not supposed to pour Drano down a toilet?

This sounds like a job for Mythbusters! <dun dun dunnnn>

Qadgop the Mercotan
01-29-2008, 05:17 PM
Per the Drano website, the heat generated can damage the porcelain coating of the bowl or even crack it.
I wager it could melt the wax sealing ring, too.

Valgard
01-29-2008, 05:52 PM
Does anybody know why you're not supposed to pour Drano down a toilet?

IANAP and I'll trust the Drano folks on the heat issues but another problem with drain cleaners in general is that if they don't work (and all the plumbers I've heard from, here and elsewhere, say that the chemicals don't generally do much for an existing clog although they can help prevent formation of clogs if used ahead of time), you now have a fixture full of standing water and drain cleaner. Plunging, opening up the trap (sinks) and other normal troubleshooting methods will then offer the possibility of sloshing caustic liquid all over the place.

I'm sorry that I ever bought a bottle of drain cleaner. I have a good snake (drill powered), a couple of quality toilet plungers (splurge and buy the really expensive $6 model, not the cheap $3 one) and since I need to hit the hardware store anyhow I'm thinking that I'll get a toilet auger while I'm there. Those are tools that are cheap and when you need them, you need them Right Now, not in an hour.

Harmonious Discord
01-29-2008, 06:06 PM
Drano and the like can produce heat and gases quickly. The toilet water can explode violently upward under some conditions. A sink does usually contain urea where as a toilet normally would.

Lily
01-29-2008, 06:31 PM
Dish soap will unclog a toilet of any human made blockages. Put a couple good squirts in, let it sit for 20 minutes to let the soap dissolve the solids, and start in with the plunger. Works like a charm, even on my husband's most dedicated efforts.

You know, there were aspects of marriage I failed to consider before the wedding.

BrainGlutton
01-29-2008, 06:38 PM
Dish soap will unclog a toilet of any human made blockages.

Including paper towels?

You know, there were aspects of marriage I failed to consider before the wedding.

On such folly hangs the survival of the species.

Harmonious Discord
01-29-2008, 07:47 PM
Bleach is good at dissolving organics in a drain, but not for cellulose like paper fibers.

I'd go with a plunger first, a drain snake second.

Cardinal
01-29-2008, 08:48 PM
Liquid Plumber and the like are simply lye and bleach combined. Read the label and recognize that sodium hydroxide is lye (and potassium hydroxide is its half brother), and sodium hypochlorite is bleach.

These are made to attack grease buildup/clogs. If your clog is caused by GI Joes, too much tp, car keys, etc, they will be next to or totally useless. Find a plunger that fits your bowl hole and get busy. I found one that has an accordion style head that's very flexible and moldable. It shifted my clogs.

Magiver
01-29-2008, 08:50 PM
Having recently replaced my upstairs drain pipes I can assure you that acid and cast sewer pipe are not the best of friends. There's nothing like walking toward the back door on your way to work and seeing a tub full of water pour through the kitchen ceiling. Can you say 1" by 8" hole. I can. The only thing more fun than replacing all the pipes is the thrill of mating up drywall to lathe. After months of labor I can proudly say the house is restored to the condition it was before I invested $6 in drain cleaner.

If you can't plunge it or augur it then pull the toilet. If you think the clog is near the toilet then invest in a wax ring and your time. The only other cost would be the 4 bolts holding it down (often corroded). If it's farther than you can get with a hand auger then rent a power one or get a plumber. Note, a large mechanical snake can mangle your hand if you don't know what you're doing.

Wee Bairn
01-29-2008, 09:09 PM
Dish soap will unclog a toilet of any human made blockages. Put a couple good squirts in, let it sit for 20 minutes to let the soap dissolve the solids, and start in with the plunger. Works like a charm, even on my husband's most dedicated efforts.

You know, there were aspects of marriage I failed to consider before the wedding.


I didn't know this was actually possible, unless you didn't flush for a week.

Lily
01-29-2008, 09:26 PM
I didn't know this was actually possible, unless you didn't flush for a week.


Yeah, I was surprised too. Makes a lot of bubbles, but it has always worked when just the plunger wouldn't.

And I have no idea if it would work on paper towels. I kind of doubt it, unless you were willing to let it sit for a couple days. Easier to just get a drain snake.

DrDeth
01-29-2008, 09:31 PM
Does anybody know why you're not supposed to pour Drano down a toilet?

Actually, I'd never use the crap. Too dangerous and doesn't work well. I use plungers, snakes, the compressed gas can-thing, hot water and best of all- to keep drains running free- the enzymatic and bacteria product.

ManiacMan
01-29-2008, 10:36 PM
How can you be sure it's paper towels?

Just call a plumber...

GusNSpot
01-30-2008, 01:13 AM
If a plunger won't get it....
I have a garden hose fitting inside and I have a 1/4 turn shut off valve with 6 more feet of hose. that and a bath towel to seal it off and I have not found anything that went down the toilet too hard to move.

Grease and hair build up in other drains is a problem unless you can seal the vents on the roofs and all the traps in all the sinks.

99% of all stoppages in the toilet can be fixed with a plunger if there are no small children in the home.

Wee Bairn
01-30-2008, 06:58 AM
Yeah, I was surprised too. Makes a lot of bubbles, but it has always worked when just the plunger wouldn't.

And I have no idea if it would work on paper towels. I kind of doubt it, unless you were willing to let it sit for a couple days. Easier to just get a drain snake.


No, I meant I didn't know you could clog a toilet with a single crap. :)

Fir na tine
01-30-2008, 07:33 AM
No, I meant I didn't know you could clog a toilet with a single crap. :)

You have led a very sheltered existence. :D

UncleRojelio
01-30-2008, 08:32 AM
No, I meant I didn't know you could clog a toilet with a single crap. :)
You obviously don't have a low-flow toilet. I suppose they are good from a conservation point-of-view, but you damn well better be handy with a plunger.

Ludovic
01-30-2008, 09:44 AM
Here's where I come in and say I only clean my house once a year, but do it with Drano Gel. I'm sure I'm gonna stain or corrode something eventually, but until then, it's apply and wipe!

Cervaise
01-30-2008, 10:17 AM
No, I meant I didn't know you could clog a toilet with a single crap. :)Eat more fiber.

Voyager
01-30-2008, 11:13 AM
99% of all stoppages in the toilet can be fixed with a plunger if there are no small children in the home.

Or troublesome spouses. :) Plunger and snake are the first choices, but a slow toilet might be the first sign of a bigger problem, so if they don't work the power snake route works well.

What Exit?
01-30-2008, 11:25 AM
If you have not gathered it by now. Go out and buy a plunger. When you buy the plunger get a good plunger.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Plunger_250x410.jpg

In the linked picture, it shows to type. Look for one in the style of the black one. They work much better on toilets.

Says the father of two kids, one with the knack of clogging toilets.

Jim

GargoyleWB
01-30-2008, 12:15 PM
99% of all stoppages in the toilet can be fixed with a plunger if there are no small children in the home.

Yep, a plunger just forces them deeper. It's best to feed a rope or leash down to recover the children.

lalenin
01-30-2008, 12:23 PM
There's a short snake meant specifically for toilets called a "Toilet auger" - it's under $10 and you should be able to find one at any hardware store:

http://amazon.com/Gen-Wire-Spring-Toilet-Auger/dp/B000DZGJZW/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1201640578&sr=1-2

I must endorse this advice. I have very healthy bowels, and in my first couple of months in Canada I managed to clog the toilet 8 times! A trip to the hardware store later and I have not had to call the landlord again for this particular problem, I still clog the toilet but my trusty toilet snake bails me out every time.

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