Wednesday, November 21, 2012

7 Green Ways to Unclog Your Toilet

Plugged toilets are disgusting, messy and a real pain in the neck - and something that we have to deal with more often around the holidays, often with extra family in town.  It’s so very tempting to grab a bottle of liquid drain cleaner and pour it down, hoping the clear the mess without getting your hands, or anything else, dirty. Yet that liquid drain unclogger is incredibly harmful to the environment.  The chemicals leach into our soil and taint our water supply.  Not to fret, there are easy and green ways to unclog your toilet.  Next time it becomes plugged, try one of these eight greener tricks.

English: toilet wc
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
#1. If you’ve only flushed once and it’s apparent the toilet is plugged, turn the water off at the source so no more water can fill the tank or bowl and flush again.  Nine times out of ten this easy little trick will take care of basic toilet clogs.  Another option, if this doesn’t work, is to tap the backside of the bowl to jostle the clog. 

#2.  If step one doesn’t work then you can resort to the plunger.  Plungers release suction and like a tap to the backside of the bowl it’ll help jostle the clog.

#3.  A good old-fashioned plumber snake will also help drive a hole through the clog.  This may be especially useful with children around, as they have the uncanny ability to throw the strangest things into the toilet. A plumber snake can be purchased for about $15 to $20 dollars at the hardware store.  It’s an easy device to use - simply unwind the device using the reel type handle and let the snake work its way gradually through the clog.

#4.  Hot water.  Provided you have room in the toilet bowl, fill a bucket with very hot tap water and pour it quickly into the bowl.  This works in a number of ways.  The hot water sometimes dissolves enough of the clog to loosen it.  The change in water pressure in the tank may force the clog through, and the motion of pouring the water into the bowl may jostle the clog enough to force it through.

Non-Toxic Drain Cleaning
Non-Toxic Drain Cleaning (Photo credit: Chiot's Run)
#5.  Baking Soda.  Again, assuming the toilet bowl isn’t ready to overflow, pour one cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar into the bowl.  This can also be followed by a gallon of hot or boiling water.  The vinegar and baking soda cause a reaction, remember volcanoes in grade school?  The reaction may work to loosen the clog.

#6. Dish soap.  Another green toilet-unclogging remedy is to pour in a gallon of boiling water and a quarter to one-third cup of dish detergent.  You’ll want to make sure it’s environmentally safe and biodegradable dish detergent for this practice to be environmentally sound.  Dish detergent works to break down the clog, just like it breaks down the dirt on your dishes. You’ll probably need to let it set for a while before the clog breaks free.

#7.  When all else fails it may be time to put on a pair of very long rubber gloves.  Ick, right?  Well it’s better than pouring caustic drain cleaner into our water supply, not to mention the dangerous fumes drain cleaners give off that can pollute the air in your home. 

Unclogging a toilet is no fun and there’s really no way to make it enjoyable, unless you’re a plumber and charging $100/hour - and even then it's probably no picnic.  Fortunately, there are a number of tried and true green ways to unclog a toilet that shouldn't make a mess, for you or the environment.

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