Basic Toilet Drain Plumbing

What You'll Need
Rubber gloves
Baking soda
White vinegar
Drain auger
Toilet brush
Scouring pad

Being able to undertake some basic toilet drain plumbing will help to alleviate any panic in the event of an emergency. By following a few steps, you will have some idea of what to do when a problem arises.

Step 1 – Easy Clean

If you notice that water and debris does not run down the toilet drain as quickly as normal after operation of the flush mechanism, your toilet drain plumbing is likely to need a heavy-duty cleaning to prevent the build-up of debris causing a full clog. Pour half a cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl and follow this up by slowly pouring in half a cup of white vinegar. Do this gradually as the mixture will fizz up and could overflow if done too quickly. Leave the mixture to settle and sit for at least half an hour before using a toilet brush to scrub the toilet or, if you are feeling brave, use a scouring pad so that you can reach deeper into the drain. Flush the toilet to rinse away the cleaner and observe how quickly the water disappears.

If this process does not work, stop the water supply to the toilet and flush until the cistern is empty. Use the same solution as above but with the addition of salt and leave it in place for at least half an hour; scrub the toilet before introducing the water back and flushing.      

Step 2 – Clear Clog

In the event of a clog to the toilet drain that prevents waste disappearing as it should, you will need to take more drastic action. Avoid continually flushing the toilet as this may cause it to back up and overflow. Instead, position a plunger so that it seals the entire mouth of the toilet drain and sharply pump the handle several times in quick succession. Start with ten thrusts and see if this makes a difference before continuing.

If this method doesn’t work or sewage is backing up into the bowl, you will need to make use of a drain auger which will allow you to work a cable into the toilet drain with the use of a crank on the main body of the appliance. Make sure the cable reaches in as far as possible to help dislodge the clog. However, take care if it gets caught as excessive force could cause damage to the porcelain. Instead, work it back and forth until it becomes loose and check whether this causes the water in the bowl to drain. Pour a bucket of water into the drain to flush it.        

Step 3 – Disassemble Toilet

In the clog is too deep to reach with the drain auger, it will be necessary for the toilet to be removed. Ensure the room is ventilated before bailing out the contents of the toilet bowl with a bucket and dispose of it an outside drain. Unscrew the bolts securing the toilet in place and set it aside, stuff the drain hole with a rag to prevent sewer gases drifting into your bathroom and work a drain auger into a gap to clear the drain completely.