unclog

Yes, it is possible to unclog a toilet without making a mess. Here at the printer jam we usually we cover things like unclogging a print queue . A jammed printer. Or even a clogged ink cartridge. Today I’ve got on my Log JAM hat. For reasons that remain best unsaid, I’ve personally had to unclog a tiolet well over 500 times. Due to much trial and error I’ve found a method that works fast and efficient, without splashing water everywhere.

The concept is similar to how an impact wrench works. They don’t use pressure, rather an impact to transfer energy. We want to transfer as much energy as possible toward the clog with an impact. Pressure will just find the path of least resistance which usually means spraying out the sides of the plunger and onto the floor. The trick is to strike the plunger not push the plunger.

Steps

  1. To begin, put the plunger in the clogged toilet and slowly press down as far as it will go. This is for two reasons. First it will remove any trapped air from under the plunger. Second it will give you a “feel” for the range of your plunger.
  2. Next let the plunger up enough for it return to its original shape and start position over the hole.
  3. Now press the plunger down about 1/3 to 1/2 way and hold it there.
  4. Take a 2 x 4 about 8 to 12 inches long and strike the top of the plunger about 3 or 4 times. No 2 x 4? No problem, move your hand up the handle of the plunger until it is flush with the top. This is so you don’t hurt the palm of your hand. Strike your hand gripping the plunger with the palm of your free hand about 7 or 8 times. Make sure the strikes don’t move the plunger down more than a 1/2 inch per strike. Again, the idea is to smack the plunger not push the plunger. Imagine you’re trying to smack the bottom of an old ketchup bottle and you’ll get just the right amount of force.
  5. Lift the plunger a little to see of water is flowing. If not repeat the process.

Summary

It’s important to begin with the plunger under water, about 1/3 of the range down, and that the strikes only move it about 1/2 inch. Whether its your hand or a piece of wood, it’s all about that sharp quick impact. If it feels bouncy you’re doing it right. Any harder and you run the risk of splashing water. Softer taps should still work. It may take 20 or 30 taps but even lighter taps can work eventually. I recommend using a block of wood or a hardcover book. They seem to have the best transfer of energy. Now that I’ve given the steps to unclog a toilet, I’ll put back on my printer hat. And get back to helping people get the most from their…uh…printer.