What to Do When Toilet Overflows

We watch the water in the toilet continue to rise beyond what it should be. We anxiously watch with bated breath wondering silently to ourselves, “Will it overflow?”  The water quickly rises before our brain registers that we are going to have a big stinky mess on our hands, and we need to do something about it.

Broken toilet and bidet overflowing

What Do You Do When Your Toilet Overflows?

If the toilet bowl overflows after a flush, usually the toilet itself is clogged. Sop up the water from the overflowing bowl to minimize flood damage. Remove the tank lid, find the flapper valve, and press down on it to prevent water from getting into the bowl and stop it from spilling over the sides.

Once the flapper valve is secured, lift the float to stop the tank from filling up. Hold them in place for one minute to remove the toilet bowl water supply. Then, allow the water to return to normal. If the water doesn’t drop, shut off the water valve located behind the toilet bowl base by turning the valve clockwise.

How Do You Fix an Overflowing Toilet?

Find the flange plunger and attempt to remove what is blocking the toilet. The cup of the plunger should fit tightly over the drain hole at the bottom of the bowl. Begin plunging to dislodge the object. Usually, a few plunges will be sufficient to release the clog allowing the toilet to properly flush.

If clearing the drain doesn’t stop the problem, examine the toilet tank. If the toilet is overflowing unrelated to flushing, the clog may be in the drainpipe- potentially the sewer line or main drain.

In this scenario, running water from other sources will not escape, and backflow to the toilet results. If you have a septic system, it may be full. If so, then call a professional to have your septic tank pumped, which may alleviate the clog.

Plunger to dislodge more minor clogs

Steps for a General Clog

  1. Shut off the water supply. Close the valve beneath the toilet to remove the water going to it. If the toilet continues to overflow when the main water supply is off, it indicates sewer backup and requires a call to a plumber.
  2. Open the toilet tank to rig the float. Make sure it stays in a position where water will not come flooding back into the tank.
  3. Remove excess water by using a cup, bucket, or wet vacuum to remove excess water. It can be poured into the bathtub or sink for drainage.
  4. Immediately dry the floors to prevent damage. For carpeting, use a folded, dry towel over the spilled water. Place something heavy over the towel for 30-60 minutes so that it absorbs the excess water. When finished, you may have to use an antibacterial carpet cleaner to keep the area sanitized.
  5. Remove the plug or debris safely. Dispose of all garbage in the best sanitary method possible. Disinfect all surfaces as they have encountered feces or other materials.
  6. Use a plunger to get rid of the plug. Once it is free, use a pair of gloves to remove it. If the plunger doesn’t work, you may need a toilet snake to dislodge the blockage. If you do, place the hook end of the snake into the bowl. Turn it clockwise to allow the cable to extend into the drain.

Pull back on the snake. If you feel some resistance, you’ve reached the clog. Crank counterclockwise to remove it from the drain and up into the toilet bowl. Dump the blocked material into a bucket and repeat these steps a few times to ensure everything is removed.

Flush the toilet, then put the waste back into it in small amounts. Flush each time to ensure you don't create another blockage.

  1. Now, test the toilet to make sure it works properly. Turn on the water supply and place the float into its normal position. Flush to make sure the toilet is working again and to see if there is still a block. If it still overflows, repeat the steps once again.

If you have tried two to three times to stop the toilet from overflowing but to no avail, then contact a plumber as this may indicate a larger plumbing issue.

The best method to prevent clogs is to flush human waste down the toilet, toilet paper (in moderation), and water. That’s it. Just because a product claims that it’s flushable doesn’t always make it so. Feminine hygiene products, kitty litter, baby wipes, diapers, and adult wipes are not suitable to be flushed. It is not good for your system or septic tank.

What is the Best Liquid to Unclog Toilet?

The best drain cleaner is Drano Max Gel Liquid Clog remover. CLR Clear Pipes and Drains is good to use monthly to remove build-ups, and Thrift Odorless Drain Cleaner can clear the drain.

When using these products, follow the directions on the bottle. Be sure the room has proper ventilation and do not leave the cleaner in the drains for longer than recommended.

Always wear gloves and protect your eyes. Also, do not mix products.

Avoid spillage by pouring it down the drain carefully. Some materials can damage the toilet. Flush the drain well after using the cleaner.

Unplugging a toilet is a relatively easy fix. While it isn’t pleasant, it is still something that needs to be done from time to time. Maintenance and prevention go a long way as well. Toilets do become clogged, as does any drain. Incorporating regular maintenance helps prevent issues from arising.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *