How to Clean an Overflowing Toilet
A blockage somewhere in drain is the cause of overflowing toilets. The blockage does not allow flushing smoothly down the toilet drain and instead causes water, waste and even sewage to overflow your toilet. Delay in cleaning this can lead to damaging the bathroom floor and can even leak through the ceiling below. No matter what the cause may be, we will explain you how to clean up an overflowing toilet.
Water damage after an overflowing toilet? Call 2482897382 for a free estimate from 911 Restoration specialists.
What to do when a toilet overflows?
In case of a toilet overflow, you should clean it up immediately to keep the damage to minimum. Avoid using your plumbing till you have figured out the caused of overflow. If there is no visible toilet overflow, there is a possibility that wastewater has soaked into flooring, baseboards, walls or vanity. In this case, call 911 Restoration of Metro Detroit trained professional, they will first check your home for damage and restore your bathroom to its original condition.
Steps to Clean up an Overflowing Toilet
1. Turn off the Water
The first thing to do is turn off the water valve, even if the toilets overflow isn’t related to your supply line. You can do this by turning the shut-off valve that is below the toilet tank near the floor.
In case there isn’t a shut-off valve on the supply line, you can still stop the water by removing the toilet tank lid and pulling up the float up, this will stop the flow of water. Assuming this stops the over flowing, allow the toilet bowl to drain completely before releasing the float.
If the water starts running again once you release the float, you will have to turn off the main water supply line. If toilet continues to overflow even after the water supply line has been shut off, the problem is likely either a drain pipe or the main sewer line.
2. Use a Toilet Auger or Drain Snake
Using a plunger, you may end up in a bigger mess if your toilet is already overflowing. In such cases it is better to use a toilet auger. Toilet augers are same as drain snakes, but are better designed for your toilet’s s-shaped trap. This snags the clog so you can pull it out. In most of the cases, the auger will break up the clog so it will flow away from the toilet into the sewers.
3. Remove Standing Water and Waste
The longer water and waste sit on your bathroom floor, the greater is the possibility of damage. The water gets soaked into walls and cabinets quickly and waste causes development and spread bacteria and both may result in causing growth of mold.
Use a wet-dry vacuum to suck as much visible water and waste as possible. Then use towels or paper towel to remove any remaining water. Either wash them thoroughly or discard them afterward.
4. Dry Out Damaged Walls and Cabinets
After water has been removed, use high volume fans to dry your bathroom quickly. Regular house fans can also be used but they are not that effective as they do not give out desired air flow and work slow and there is a greater chance of mold and bacteria growing.
High volume fans can be rented from your local equipment rental company. In most cases, one to two fans are good to dry a standard bathroom. However, you may need more, depending upon the spread and damage to other rooms or walls.
5. Clean and Disinfect Your Bathroom
Finally, you need to clean and disinfect your bathroom. Start by washing everything with soap and warm water, even if it didn’t get wet in the toilet overflow.
Then mix together one cup bleach and a gallon of water and wipe everything down to disinfect it. This will not only kill mold and bacteria, but it will help remove odor as well.
How Do I Unclog a Toilet?
In case of a unclogged toilet that has not overflowed, using a plunger is the most effective way to unclog. Most of the toilets clog in the trap or the bowl, a plunger actually forces the clog down the drain. In case of a toilet that is close to overflowing, use a bucket to remove some water before you starting plunging as otherwise you will end up making a mess.
Up and down motion of the plunger actually clears the clog, the upward movement creates suction that helps loosen the clog and the downward pressure helps flush it away. It is important to create a good seal between the plunger and toilet bowl to create enough suction or pressure to remove the clog. Plunging like crazy does not help you clear the clog unless there is enough suction created.
Since the seal is important, you should use a bell plunger that gets into the toilet trap. This will help clear the clog faster and will less effort. You can also put some petroleum jelly on the plunger to make a better seal as well.
What Causes a Toilet Overflow?
Although there are many reasons your toilet will overflow, clogs are the biggest problem. Clogs are usually caused by flushing the wrong thing down the toilet.
Toilet is designed to flush toilet paper and waste, other things can clog the drain. Never flush diapers, sanitary products, paper towels or any solid items. So called flushable wipes available in the market say that they are safe to flush down the toilet but that is not true and are actually one of the biggest causes of clogs.
Apart from clogs, plumbing problems, sewer line issues and issues with your septic system are some other causes of an overflowing toilet.
Clogged Toilet Bowl
Most common cause of a toilet overflow is a clogged toilet bowl. Using too much toilet paper can clog your toilet bowl. This cause is easiest to fix as just plunge the toilet to unclog the bowl and stop the overflow.
Clogged Toilet Trap
Toilets have an s-shaped trap that prevents sewer gases from coming up the drain into your bathroom and cause terrible smell. These bend are susceptible to get clogged if you use too much toilet paper. These clogs can be cleared by simply using a plunger.
Clogged Drain Pipes
From your toilet, water drains through drain pipes in your home towards the sewers. These drain pipes often have a number of bends, waste and other items can get stuck in these bends. Clogged drain pipes can cause your toilet to flush slowly or even lead to an overflow.
Clogged Sewer Line
A clog in your sewer line can also cause a toilet overflow. This is the main pipe that connects your house to the city sewers. Many non-flushable items, like sanitary products and so-called flushable wipes, often build up in this pipe. If this is the issue, you will typically have other drainage issues like a gurgling drain or a backed-up sink.
Improperly Working Septic System
If you have a septic system, your toilet overflowing could be a sign of a full tank or another problem. You should inspect your septic system to make sure it is working properly.
Low Flow Toilets
Many newer homes have low flow toilets designed to conserve water. While they do save on water usage, some low flow toilets have a hard time flushing everything down the drain. Low flow models produced before 1997 are especially prone to toilet overflows.
A stuck handle or a broken tank float can keep water running and cause an overflow. If your toilet is overflowing with clean water, look inside the tank for problems. Use the water shutoff valve to stop the water while you make repairs.
Need Help With an Overflowing Toilet? We’re here to Help
If you have an overflowing toilet, call 2482897382 now for a free estimate on water restoration services. All of our on-call specialists offer 24-hour emergency services and 45 minute response time to limit damage and keep restoration costs down.