Do I replace a toilet that keeps clogging?
August 20, 2014

Toilet clogged? It's tempting to reach for the nearest bottle of Drano to try to clear the clog.

But is that wise?

No way.

Even Drano says you shouldn't use their typical clog cleaner for a toilet.

Here's why.

How Drano can "heat up" your pipes and toilet

Drano uses caustic or oxidizing chemicals (like lye) to dissolve whatever is clogging a drain. The chemical reaction between the clog and Drano creates heat.

Now, Drano does not clear a clog instantly. It's going to sit in the toilet (or farther down the pipes, depending where the clog is) until the clog dissolves. That means it continues to generate heat.

This can:

  • Crack toilet's porcelain bowl and the whole commode will need replacing
  • Soften plastic (PVC) pipes
  • Damage old, corroded pipes

How Drano can hurt you

Let's assume the Drano does not work. So Drano is now sitting in your toilet, not only harming it, but has the possibility of harming you if you try to use another method to unclog the drain.

For example, if you use flange plunger or toilet auger to unclog the toilet after using Drano, it could accidentally splash on you and burn your skin.

And if you try to mix Drano with another chemical cleaner, it could create toxic fumes.

Source: Household Product Database.

What to use instead to unclog the toilet

So if you can't use Drano, what are your options? We have an article on how to unclog a toilet, but we'll summarize it here.

You have 3 tools you can use:

Flange plunger
This "bell-shaped" plunger is made to unclog toilets. Don't use a cup plunger, since those are made to unclog drains with flat surfaces, like a bathroom sink.

Toilet auger (drain snake)
The toilet auger extends a spring coil down the toilet to push the obstruction down the drain. But they can only go about 3 feet. So if the clog is down in the sewer line, you'll need a professional to unclog it.

Here's a good video on how to use a toilet auger.

Natural enzymes
Some drain cleaners like Bio-Clean(r) use naturally occurring bacteria and enzymes that "digest" dead organic waste found in your plumbing system. That means it can get rid of the blockage, but won't hurt your pipes or create toxic fumes like chemical cleaners can. While this is not a fast method (cleaner needs to sit in overnight), it works, and it's safe.

Ask us about Bio-Clean.

Causes of serious blockages you can't unclog

Like we said before, the clog may be in the sewer line. Or you may have tree roots that have disrupted the sewer line, so water cannot exit the home.

Learn more in our article: 3 Common Causes of Home Sewer Backups.

At any rate, if you have a nasty clog you just can't fix, call Pippin Brothers for help. We're your local Lawton-area plumbing experts!

Pippin Brothers is the Lawton-area's most trusted heating, air conditioning and plumbing company. We've been serving Oklahoma since 1978. Contact us for more information.