How to Fix a Blocked Toilet Drain

Blocked toilet drains are one of the top reasons people call us out. Not only are they a frustrating problem that is more than a little unpleasant, but they can also be a health risk if left. 

Here, we take a look at the most common causes of toilet drain blockages (and no, it isn’t the obvious!) and what you can do at home to fix them before you call a blocked drains professional

What Causes a Blocked Toilet Drain?

Lots of things can cause a blocked toilet. But the following are some of the most common causes of toilet blockages that we come across:

  • Toilet paper (using too much at once)
  • Sanitary towels and tampons
  • Baby wipes
  • Hair
  • Toys or other small objects
  • Cotton pads


how to fix a blocked toilet drain

These are all things that are easily preventable. You should only be flushing toilet paper down your toilet, and you should try to avoid using too much paper, as this can cause a clog. Make sure your household is educated as to what’s okay to put down the loo. 

However, there are also several factors that can cause toilet blockages that are generally outside of your control. These include:

  • Low flush toilets and low pressure providing too little pressure to move waste
  • Hard water calcifying and blocking the pipe
  • Slow-moving septic systems
  • Old pipes

What Are the Signs of a Blocked Toilet Drain?

The signs of a blocked toilet drain aren’t hard to identify. You may notice the water draining more slowly from the toilet bowl. Or your toilet bowl may be unusually full of water, or even overflowing. Other signs include strange gurgling noises and foul smells coming from the drains. 

How to Unblock Your Toilet Drain?

For big blockages or a toilet that is already overflowing, we suggest calling in the professionals to make sure your home or drains aren’t damaged. A professional blocked drains service will have the right tools and skills to take care of all major blockages safely and quickly. 

For minor blockages, there are several methods that can be effective to try yourself. 

You’ll first want to identify the nature of the clog. If the water is draining slowly, it is likely there is a blockage in the pipe. Try flushing once to see if this will remove the blockage. Where there is hardly any water in the bowl, this means it is likely that there is something preventing ventilation in the pipes. And finally, if the water rises and stays high, this means that there is a blockage stopping water getting through completely. In this case, it is a severe blockage and will likely need professional intervention. 

toilet drain plunger



Take the plunger and cover the waste pipe outlet in the bowl to form a seal. Gently but firmly push downwards, then pull up. Do this repeatedly until the water begins to drain. Remove the plunger and flush to see if the blockage is cleared. 

Enzyme cleaner

Enzyme cleaners are natural cleaners that use enzymes to help break down clogs. We recommend using these types of cleaners over bleach as they are more environmentally friendly and less harsh on your pipes. Using bleach should always be a last resort as it can damage your drains and it is hazardous when it comes into contact with skin. 

Baking soda + vinegar

Combine a cup of baking soda and 2 cups of white vinegar and pour into the toilet bowl. Leave for 5 minutes, before pouring in 2 litres of boiling water. Try flushing after 30 minutes. 

Plumbing auger

These are available from most hardware shops or online. Take the auger and push it into the toilet pipe until you reach the blockage. Rotate the auger, while pushing down to break up the blockage. You may be able to pull out the blockage with the auger. Once finished, flush the toilet to see if it has worked. This is unlikely to work for solid objects. 

You could minimise the chances of something undesirable happening through our preventive maintenance. For tough to remove blockages or emergency drain unblocking, call the team at Trent’s Drains. We treat blocked drains in Bristol and the South West and our team has years of experience. Call 0117 949 0155 today for toilet unblocking service in Bristol and near you. 


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