There are few things worse than a clogged toilet. When dealing with a stubborn clog in your home, you may be tempted to pour Drano down the toilet for a quick fix. While this solution works well for sink and shower clogs, it’s far from the best option for your toilets.
If you put Drano down the toilet, it’s unlikely to reach the clog effectively and will damage your pipes. Using such a strong chemical solution can pose safety risks for you as you attempt to fix the clog later. Better alternatives include a plunger, table salt, or a solution of soap and water or baking soda and vinegar.
Don’t worry about Drano being a less than ideal solution for a toilet clog. There are plenty of other remedies you can turn to instead. Read on for a deeper explanation of why Drano doesn’t work for toilets and how you can use other common household ingredients for unclogging and improving the overall efficiency of your toilets.
What is Drano?
Drano is a drain cleaner typically used for household clogs in sinks and showers. It provides an adequate solution to hair and build-up of bathroom and kitchen products.
Lye (sodium hydroxide) is the main chemical ingredient, accompanied by bleach, salt, and aluminum. It works by breaking down and dissolving blockages in drains.
The liquid is poured down the affected drain and left for a set amount of time to effectively clear any obstructions. During this time, the lye eats away at the masses.
Shortly after, the aluminum reacts with the sodium hydroxide, resulting in high temperatures that clear the debris faster. The other active ingredients work together to dissolve any remaining materials before they are finally pushed down the drain with hot water.
Can You Put Drano Down the Toilet?
You should not put Drano down the toilet because it won’t do anything to fix the clog and presents more risks than it’s worth. When used in sink or shower drains, Drano is able to attack and dissolve the build-up directly. This is meant to be done when the water is not running and any standing water has been removed.
Toilets, on the other hand, are full of water at all times, so any chemicals added will be floating around in the bowl with no direction. The presence of Drano in your toilet bowl can break down the structure of your toilet and affect the pipes negatively.
It’s unsafe to have chemicals in your toilet bowl with a clog, as they can come in contact with your face, eyes, and skin if you try to unclog it manually. Other chemical products mixed with Drano in your toilet can cause unexpected reactions, posing further dangers.
What Should You Put Down Your Toilet?
There are plenty of products you can put down your toilet to stop a clog instead of Drano. These include table salt, baking soda and vinegar, and soap and hot water. A plunger is another safe option to effectively fix a toilet clog without putting yourself in danger.
Table salt is an excellent way to unclog your toilet using ingredients you already have in the house. The minerals in salt mix into the toilet water to slowly break down clogged materials.
It’s important to note that regular table salt is not nearly as strong as epsom salt, which works instantly. Table salt must be combined with another substance, like vinegar or baking soda, to work in a timely manner.
This will require leaving the mixture in your toilet bowl overnight to soften the clog. The next day, you can flush the toilet to push the materials down the drain.
Salt not only helps toilet clogs, but can also increase overall efficiency and power. By repeating these steps once a week, you can prevent clogs from happening in the first place.
Baking Soda and Vinegar
Vinegar and baking soda create a chemical reaction when combined that causes the mixture to fizz and bubble. It’s a popular household cleaning solution, and is no different for toilet clogs.
When both products are added to the toilet bowl, they dissolve buildup and create room for the materials to be flushed out. Simply add baking soda to the toilet, pour in hot water (depending on how full the bowl is already), pour in the vinegar, and give it some time before the final flush.
Regular use of baking soda and vinegar in your toilet bowl, even without a clog, can keep everything clean and running smoothly. Any build up in the pipes will be cleared away before it causes a complex clog that requires attention.
Soap and Hot Water
Soap and hot water is another effective solution for tackling a toilet clog. When you pour dish soap into the bowl, it loosens any built up waste by lubrication.
When hot water is poured in afterward, it dissolves the blockage much quicker. The pressure caused by flushing will push the slippery clogged materials into the pipes for good.
Using dish soap in your toilet regularly (at least once a month) can improve the lubrication in your pipes. It also dissolves calcium from hard water that can obstruct rim holes. It’s an excellent preventative measure to avoid future clogs.
Use a Plunger
Stubborn clogs can be taken care of with a plunger if none of the above solutions are effective. Plungers work by forcing air down the toilet and into the pipes. When you push it into the toilet bowl and pull it up again, items are loosened and sent back down the drain.
The use of a plunger can increase the power and efficiency of your toilet by quickly taking care of any clogs. There is no need to pour chemicals or other materials into the bowl, and the solution is almost instant. A plunger can unclog your toilet and prevent future clogs by manually pushing and pulling air alone.
When Should You Call a Professional?
You should call a professional plumber to fix your toilet when the plunger doesn’t work or additional issues present themselves. These problems may include sewage overflow or a toilet that keeps running.
If a drain is leaking in another area of your home caused by the toilet clog, this is a concerning problem that is best left to the professionals. In addition, if you know a large foreign object is causing the clog rather than normal waste buildup, you will need to call a plumber for help extracting it safely.
When you hire a professional, you can ensure any issues are taken care of correctly the first time. DIY attempts can extend your time spent dealing with this problem or make it worse.
A professional plumber may use specialized tools or perform preventative actions beyond household remedies. Their trained eyes will be able to catch on to further issues you may have missed, and repair them before they cause any inconvenience.
How Much Does it Cost To Fix Your Toilet?
The cost to fix your toilet will depend on the repair concern and whether you choose to hire a professional or attempt a DIY solution. The average cost for a plumber to unclog a toilet is $100-$275. Depending on the severity of the clog and any additional problems it has caused, you may need other repairs or replacements.
The following table compares the cost of hiring a professional and doing it yourself in many common repair scenarios. The DIY approach will only require purchasing the parts, but you will need some basic skill and know-how to do so effectively.
Hiring a professional, on the other hand, will include the cost to buy the parts and labor. The typical hourly rate for plumbing services ranges from $70 to $80 per hour, depending on several factors.
|New Toilet Installation||$300-800||$200|
A stubborn toilet clog can be a hassle to deal with as a homeowner. To avoid interruption of your daily activities, it’s understandable to search for a quick remedy that will dissolve the build up and allow you to flush your toilet normally.
While Drano works well for unclogging sinks and shower drains, it’s not recommended for toilet clogs. On top of ruining your porcelain and pipes, it will not work for unclogging.
Instead, you can use table salt, a mixture of vinegar and baking soda, or soap and water to loosen the clog. If all else fails, a plunger is a reliable solution to a common toilet clog.
It’s important to know when to contact a professional for a complex toilet clog. Without proper training and experience, you can potentially make matters worse. If you know the clog is caused by a foreign object, there’s an overflow of sewage, or you notice drain problems in other areas of the home, your best bet will be to get in touch with a plumber to discuss how they can solve your problem safely and effectively.
Ruben has a diverse background in the home services industry, with experience running a construction company, a kitchen and bath showroom, and a moving and relocation company. This breadth of experience has provided him with a wealth of knowledge and expertise in various areas of home improvement in general and specifically in the heating and plumbing niche.