Many children are fascinated by toilets that magically whisk away anything in the bowl. That fascination often leads to decisions to give rubber ducky a ride or to send that pet dinosaur to Neverland. When this happens, you may face a clogged or overflowing toilet that grinds your life to a halt.
Before you call in a plumber to retrieve the toy that’s stuck in the toilet, there are some things you can do to attempt to get it out of the drain yourself.
If your child has just sent one of their toys down to Davy Jones’s locker, you may be able to get it out of the toilet on your own. Before you start, put on a pair of rubber gloves, preferably ones that go all the way up to your elbows — and remind your little one that their toy will need a disinfecting bath before they can play with it again!
First, turn off the water supply. Find the water valve — it should be on the wall behind your toilet — and make sure it’s closed. Turning the water off will help prevent accidental overflow. Once the valve is safely closed, empty the toilet bowl. You can use a disposable cup or container to scoop out the water. Coffee cans, milk cartons and empty cans work well too. Leave enough water in the bowl to cover the plunger.
Now it’s time to try retrieving the toy. Start at the top of the list and move on to the next method if necessary.
You might be able to remove the toy by reaching into the toilet. Pull the toy out with your hand if you see it in the drain. In this case, the toy is probably stuck in the toilet trap, the curved section inside the base. A toy stuck here is likely wedged in, so you may need to work it loose first. If you are lucky, you may be able to remove Dino by the tail or grasp part of the object and pull it free of the toilet.
If you can see the toy, but can’t get a grip with your hands, try using a bent coat hanger or another hooked object to latch onto the toy. Pull with a slow, even motion to get the toy out. It may take several attempts. Likewise, you may be able to remove the toy by creating a slip knot in a string and looping it around a leg or other extension on the toy.
If you don’t see the toy or cannot remove it physically, it is time to grab the plunger. If you only have a standard plunger with a flat bottom, you may want to pick up a toilet plunger first — their flanged bottom will be a better fit for the drain opening, letting you get better suction.
Several thrusts of the plunger may dislodge the clog and send the toy away. Try to avoid using too much force as this may damage the toilet bowl.
Before you try this method, empty the rest of the water from the toilet, including the tank. Then insert the end of the auger into the toilet and begin twisting. This method may allow you to recover the toy, or it may dislodge it and send it down the drain. If the auger catches on the surface of the toy, slowly remove the auger to retrieve the toy.
If the toy is entangled in toilet tissue or other debris, it can form a clog blocking the flow of water. Dissolving the clog may let the toy slip through the drain and out to the sewer system. While we don’t recommend chemical de-cloggers, we recognize that some customers use them. If you try a de-clogger, choose one without harsh chemicals that can pose a danger to your health, your plumbing and the environment.
Alert your plumber if you have used de-cloggers in the drain before he arrives.
If your young artist has flushed a box of crayons or a handful of clay, resist the temptation to use boiling water to resolve the issue. While you may remove the clog, you’ll likely end up damaging the toilet as well.
A wax ring seals the place where your toilet lines up with the drain on the floor. Pouring in enough hot water to melt the clog will also likely melt the seal. If the seal melts, you’ll quickly find water leaking out of the base of the toilet, causing an even bigger mess. You’ll have to completely drain and remove the toilet to replace the seal.
You may believe the toilet isn’t clogged with a toy flushed down if it’s still draining slowly, but don’t wait to solve the issue. Beyond an inconvenience, clogs can present serious consequences, including:
If your efforts are unsuccessful, you will need a professional to take care of the problem. If you have something stuck in your toilet that won’t flush, call Crawford Mechanical Services to get it cleared quickly, efficiently and with integrity.
At Crawford Mechanical Services, we’ve been serving the central Ohio area for over 25 years. Our plumbing experts have over 40 years of experience, and we provide both standard and emergency plumbing services to help with all your residential plumbing needs. You can reach us by phone at 614-665-8594 or contact us online today.