We can see the problem now. Your toilet’s not draining and you’re stood there, Marigolds on, plunger in one hand, phone in the other, trying to remember the best way to carry out probably the least glamorous job in plumbing. You have our sympathies – if you’re not a professional drainage company, this sort of problem could really leave you in a stink.

Luckily, it’s not as bad as it seems. There are a few quick ways to unclog a toilet, and some of them don’t even require special equipment. Let us explain.

The mop

Not got a plunger to hand? Not to worry; if you need a tool that provides suction enough to get that U-bend clear, your friendly household mop could do the job.

Just secure a plastic bag around the mop head with elastic bands and use it as you would a plunger. Voila – one clear toilet – just don’t forget the rubber gloves!

Clean the Overflow Pipe

This is more for slow-draining toilets than totally blocked loos.

Get visions of scrubbing with an old toothbrush out of your head because this tip is really easy to do. Lift up the lid on your toilet’s cistern and look for an upright pipe with a small tube running through it.

Add around a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid to this pipe and leave it to seep down into the inner workings of the toilet. Then, give it a flush and the soap should have dislodged any calcium deposits clogging up the pipework in the top and back of the toilet.

Snake it

For the worst possible cases of toilet blockage, sometimes a plumber’s snake is the only way forward.

This video tells you all you need to know – and you can get your own snake from any good hardware shop or online.

And the rest

If your toilet seems to have a unique problem that we haven’t mentioned here, don’t worry. There’s plenty more advice available for toilets that refuse to drain, mysteriously lack any flushing power or have simply decided not to toilet. It happens. There are some great tutorials over on The DIY Network, where a friendly plumber called Ed Del Grande talks through some common problems you could run into. His tips are easy to follow and he preaches caution and patience above all else – great advice for plumbers everywhere.

The good thing about blocked toilets is that they are usually pretty simple to fix. It might not be the most pleasant job to do, but you should be able to do it yourself, saving time and money.

If you’re still having trouble with your toilet, get in touch with a professional. They may be able to give you a free consultation to explain the true cause of your toilet’s drainage issues.

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