Advice about Toilet Troubles

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Constantly clogged toilet

April 2014

I need advice on a more effective way of unclogging our toilet. Due to some medications that I take (or at least I THINK that's the reason), I am frequently constipated. As a result, I only have BM' s every 2-3 days and at that point they are enormous and very hard. As a result, our toilet is then clogged and no amount of plunging seems to work to dislodge the clog. We are forced to wait 2-3 days, until (I imagine) that the clog softens up and will go down. We are EXTREMELY lucky that we have more than one bathroom, but it is still inconvenient and disgusting in the meantime. Obviously, I need to solve the constipation problem (already eating lots of fiber, drinking lots of water, taking stool softeners and probiotics in yoghurt), but in the meantime, does anyone have any advice on how to get the clog to go down sooner than waiting 2 days? anon

I recommend a pressure assist toilet. We put one in my mothers house for a similar reason. It was a little pricey but does the trick every time. The plumber we used was great, she really took The time to explain everything so my Mom could understand. Big Blue Plumbing, ask for Danni. Barry

I can't believe I'm saying this in public, but it sometimes works to break up the, um, clog with a stick before flushing - sort of chop it into smaller pieces. Try it. Thank Goodness this is Anon

Your ''biggest'' problem isn't the toilet but the constipation. You need to get that in check first and then the secondary problem will dissolve. Senecot (Senna generic form-the cheaper kind is fine) helps if you drink enough water. Some is sold with a stimulant in it as well. From your description I would guess you are taking pain medications and not hydrating. Prescription Lactulose works, so does prune juice or stewed prunes. You can't imagine the health concerns chronic constipation can cause. Quitting the meds is another cure if possible. In the meantime you can use multiple flushes rather than waiting to fill the bowl with stool and paper. Flush each ''section'' of stool as it drops. You can modify the float in the toilet tank to give you more flushing water or use a bucket to supplement the toilet. Not pleasant but curative would be to chop the stool into manageable pieces with something like a wooden paint stir stick free from the paint store if you don't tell them what you are doing with it. A power wash toilet seat like ToTo and Panasonic make is heaven when you have your problem. It helps clear things out in manageable pieces and prevents hemorrhoids. They aren't cheap at $500 but once you have one you'll never go back to paper. Hope that helps get things moving along. gas man

To avoid clogs in our house we keep a package of stiff bamboo skewers in the bathroom and use them to break up the big ''pieces'' into smaller pieces. (Sorry for the visual, don't know how else to describe it. Break skewer in half, wipe off after use, wrap in tp, put in waste basket.) I think of this problem as the intersection of basic bodily functions, long-unchanged plumbing design, and modern life (changing diets, sedentary lifestyles). definitely anon

I found this great solution on-line. Wait until as much of the water can drain down the toilet as possible. Squeeze some Dawn dish washing liquid into the toilet (the directions called for a fairly large amount, but I've had success with a tablespoonful or so). Pour a kettle of boiling water into the toilet and wait an hour or so. You still have to plunge, and you may have to repeat this. I love this solution because after you're done, your toilet is also clean!

It does sound like a yucky problem to have. The most expensive solution to this would be to get a new toilet. There are ones that handle big poo better than others. The downside to the expensive solution (apart from money) is that your problem might be in your pipes after all, in which case getting a new toilet won't help. The cheap solution is to keep a little plastic stick next to your toilet. After you poo, break up your poo into smaller pieces with the stick. Then flush. Rinse the stick in the toilet water, and store it next to the toilet again. Gross, but better than a clogged toilet.

You poor thing!! Have you tried Miralax? That did the trick for my son. We did it under a gi's supervision. I think she had him on a dose that was a lot bigger than prescribed on the container. It really helped the clogging situation and helped him feel better! Good Luck!

Everyone will tell you this. Get a plumber's snake, make sure it's a toilet snake, not a sink snake. A plunger won't do anything for you.

We had this problem for a couple of years with our youngest who tended to be a witholder when he was around three and get really constipated. He would clog the toilet every single time he went.

The plumber's snake has a J-shaped tube that fits into the drain opening of your toilet bowl. Through it is threaded a flexible metal cable with a rotor shape on the toilet end. There is a handle on the other end for you to rotate the cable through the clog. There are many videos on YouTube. The whole thing will cost you about $15 at the hardware store. This is an easy problem to solve and you will be really happy with the results. Handy

I would not be so quick to assume that the plumbing problem is caused by your medical condition. Can you afford to consult with a plumber?

Meanwhile, I have found that my bowel function is aided greatly by taking probiotic capsules (Kyo-Dophilus-9) rather than relying on foods; also eating rice every day (rice cakes, brown rice with dinner, Rice-Krispies for breakfast) helps immensely. Gastro Girl

Hello ! I'm sorry about your clogging. Both of them. My Md. once told me :''number 1 bitchiness is constipation''.

Boy can I relate : i have to take narcotics on a regular basis, and constipation is a major side-effect. I have tried everything (EVERYTHING) from under the sun, and finally found a herbal formula that works. It is a gentle, non-habit forming Ayurvaedic formula : Trifala. You can find it at herbal stores (I get my capsules at Lhasa Karnak ) on any Indian herbal stores, although they tend to sell the much cheaper - and putrid - version, in powdered form. One can never take too much Trifala, as it is also cleansing and fortifying the colon wall. After a hospital stay, I once had to swallow about 15 capsules, which, in powdered formula, would be no more than 2 teaspoons. Nothing, really. Start with one capsule, and work your way up to as many as needed (at night, before going to bed). I know you'll get relief. ( I regularly take between 4-6 capsules a night)

In the meantime (and yes, I think that you should treat the core of the problem first as well...) 1/2 cup of baking soda with flushing down boiling water can help. Oh, and eating loads of blanched almonds (soaked overnight, then peeled....time consuming, but if you could, I KNOW you'd be grateful to me Good luck !

Make sure you have the right kind of plunger. An accordion plunger is what works best for toilets. The flat bottomed kind that most people have is pretty useless. See if that helps. It's worth a try.

Just echoing the comment that it may not be only your biological plumbing that's the issue. We had the same problem during my first pregnancy several years back, when unfortunately I was prone to the same pattern and we had the same kinds of clogs. Yuck yuck yuck. At the very end, I got so fed up (we weren't lucky enough to have a second bathroom!) that we called a plumber, who discovered that out old house had a toilet installed on an improperly sized waste pipe. $500 later, the plumber had torn out the old pipe, upgraded it to what it should have been from the start, and installed a new toilet. New toilet was great, but the baby was born two weeks later and the problems that had caused the clogs resolved, so we never really put it to the test. Fast forward to today--pregnant with second child, and same wonderful issues. We have not yet had one clog--whatever magic the plumber worked, it is amazing! Haven't had to use the plunger or snake since, and can't believe we didn't call to have it checked out sooner. Best house money we have spent!

Toilet Bowl Ring

July 2012

I purchased a new toilet, low flush, two years ago. Within a very short time I had that highly unattractive ring in the bowl. I have heard that buying the products that will self clean after every flush is bad for the sewers and environment. I clean with green cleaners and that's just not doing the job. Is there something that will do away with the ring without being harmful? lord of the ring

I heard that the capsules that disolve to clean dentures works great! U take the capsule, put some gloves on & scratch the stained ring. It should disappear almost immediately! Goodluck! momma said

A pumice stone has worked perfectly for me anon

Someone recommended using a pumice stone to clean a toilet ring. Don't do this! It will scratch off the enamelled surface of your toilet bowl and it will never be clean-able again. Use something with chlorine bleach in it. Or just put a bit of bleach in the bowl periodically. This will also kill bacteria and microbes, which you don't want, right?