How to Unclog a Toilet: A Love Story in Three Acts

how to unclog a toilet

Ah, the toilet. That timeless masterpiece of modern engineering that’s a cornerstone of our domestic lives. We have a bond with our toilets that verges on the sacred. It listens to our podcasts with us, it never complains about the lack of ventilation, and it doesn’t even pass judgment when we eat burritos for three meals in a row. But what do you do when this unspoken hero of daily life decides to go on strike and get clogged?

You could call a plumber, but where’s the adventure in that? It’s like calling a hitman to take out a spider — you’re missing out on the emotional growth and character development. And so, we embark on this comedic yet poignant journey of unclogging your toilet. Buckle up, because we’re diving in, plunger first.

Act 1: The Self-Assessment

You walk into the bathroom, flush, and the water starts rising. A sense of dread fills you. Should you run? Should you scream? Should you build an ark? Wrong, wrong, and possibly right but not helpful. The first thing you should do is… nothing. Pause. Let the panic subside like the water, hopefully, will.

Step 1: Assess the Threat Level

How bad is it? If it’s an apocalyptic kind of bad where the water is about to spill out, quickly reach down and turn off the water supply valve behind the toilet. If you don’t know where that is, it’s a little knob, usually silver, hiding near the base of the toilet like it’s playing a perpetual game of hide-and-seek. Turn it clockwise to shut off the water. Yes, clockwise. Don’t be the hero who turns it the other way and triggers a mini-tsunami.

Step 2: Suit Up

We’re about to enter a warzone, and as the general in this battle of the bathroom, you must dress the part. Do you have rubber gloves? Great, put them on. No rubber gloves? Dishwashing gloves will do. No dishwashing gloves? Well, it’s gonna be a bare-knuckle fight, isn’t it? In any case, prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for what comes next. Maybe put on some “Eye of the Tiger” or something to pump you up.

Act 2: Choose Your Weapon

Before you, you have several possible tools at your disposal. The Plunger, The Toilet Auger, or The Chemical Agent. Each has its own merits, but since we’re aiming for a practical guide, let’s start with the most iconic: The Plunger.

Step 3: Plunge like a Pro

Plungers come in different shapes and sizes, like snowflakes but less pretty and more… well, you get it. You want a plunger with a flange — the part that looks like a smaller cup protruding from the main cup—as this will give you more suction. It’s not about the size; it’s how you use it, they say, and never has this been more true.

Place the plunger in the bowl, covering the hole entirely. Here’s where things get intimate. Make sure you’ve got a good seal. Then, plunge. Push down and pull up vigorously but maintain that seal. Be firm, be assertive, but don’t be aggressive. You don’t want the water to splash out and ruin the mood. Do this 10 to 15 times and then lift the plunger quickly. This creates a vacuum that will hopefully dislodge whatever unidentified object is holding your toilet hostage.

Congratulations, if the water drains away, you’ve successfully performed your first act of plumbing heroics. But, if you’re still staring down a bowl of stubborn water, worry not. There’s still Act 3 to come, where we explore more aggressive negotiations. Stay tuned for the dramatic conclusion to this love story between you and your toilet. Spoiler: It doesn’t involve a bouquet of roses but might require some air freshener.

I hope you’re feeling empowered, ready to face the porcelain challenge before you. Remember, unclogging a toilet is not just a chore; it’s a rite of passage, a tale of courage and wit that you’ll tell your grandchildren someday — preferably not at the dinner table.

Act 3: Aggressive Negotiations

If you’ve come this far and are still ankle-deep in trouble (not literally, we hope), it’s time to pull out the big guns. Not literal guns — don’t shoot your toilet. That’s a bad idea for so many reasons. Instead, reach for one of the more advanced tools of toilet emancipation: the Toilet Auger or Chemical Agents.

Step 4: The Auger Games

You know that long, curvy thing that looks like you could battle snakes with it? That’s a toilet auger. Before you can play snake charmer, however, make sure you’ve read the instructions. If your auger came without instructions because you bought it at a sketchy garage sale, then may the odds be ever in your favor.

Insert the business end of the auger into the drain hole of the toilet and crank it in a clockwise motion. The goal is to snag whatever devilish entity is clogging your pipes and pull it back out or break it apart. If you feel resistance, don’t just yank it like you’re starting a lawn mower; finesse is key here. Once you’ve navigated the bends and turns of your toilet’s inner sanctum, carefully pull out the auger, and flush to test the water flow. You might want to stand back for this one, just in case.

Step 5: The Chemical Warfare (A Last Resort)

Let’s get serious for a moment. Chemical drain cleaners should be a last resort. They’re not only bad for the environment but also can damage your pipes if misused. So use them responsibly, and don’t pour the whole bottle down in a desperate bid for freedom. Follow the instructions on the bottle, usually involving pouring a certain amount into the bowl and waiting for a specific time. During this waiting period, you might contemplate your life choices that led to this moment or work on your “Toilet Unclogging Victory Dance.”

After the waiting period, flush the toilet. If the bowl empties like the stands at a losing football game, congratulations, you’ve won. If not, you might have to reconsider your relationship with your toilet—perhaps it’s time for a break-up.

The Curtain Call

If none of these methods work, then yes, it’s finally time to call a plumber. No shame in admitting defeat, my friend. Sometimes, love just isn’t enough to keep a relationship (with your toilet) alive.

So there you have it, a guide that’s part practical, part stand-up comedy routine on how to unclog a toilet. Now, go forth and conquer, knowing that no clog is too stubborn, no toilet too unruly, for you and your trusty plunger (or auger or very cautiously used chemical cleaner).

As you emerge victoriously from your bathroom, it’s time to address your adoring fans. Oh, no one’s clapping? Just your dog wondering why you’ve been talking to yourself for the last hour? Well, no matter. You know the valor you’ve shown today, and that’s what truly counts.

Don’t forget to clean your tools and, perhaps, light a scented candle as a tribute to the toilet gods for future successes. Because let’s be honest, in the grand scheme of bathroom mishaps, this is probably not a once-in-a-lifetime event. But the next time it happens, you’ll be ready, plunger in hand, to dive into the fray.