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Overflowing Bathroom Toilet — What Now?

Posted on February 19, 2013

Watching the water quickly inching toward the top of your toilet bowl can be a very frantic moment. You hope that it doesn’t spill over, but you don’t know how to stop it. Do not panic, and definitely do not flush the toilet again. Here are a few things that you can do when this happens to you:

  • As fast as  you can, turn off the water to the toilet. There should be a knob that you can twist clockwise to close the valve, located on the pipe underneath the toilet. At some point when your toilet isn’t overrunning, open and close the valve so you’ll be accustomed to the process, and can be confident the valve isn’t stuck.
  • If water has spilled onto the floor, clean it up quickly, and use a wet/dry Shop-vac if the spill is large or contains solid waste.
  • Wash and disinfect any surfaces that the wastewater came in contact with.
  • If the toilet is visibly stopped up, try using a  toilet plunger to break up the clog. You can also use a plumbing snake if the plunger doesn’t quickly solve the problem and you happen to have one handy.
  • If a foreign object like a soap dish or a washcloth is plugging the drain, grab some gloves and remove it.
  • If all else fails – call a plumber! He can unclog the block in the toilet, or else fix the problem if it doesn’t involve something clogging the toilet, but rather is a result of malfunctioning toilet components.

All of these steps are helpful after the fact, but wouldn’t it be better if they weren’t necessary? A couple of preventive steps that you can take to avoid an overflowing bathroom toilet are:

  • Try to use less toilet paper. Today’s thicker, quilted toilet paper allows you to use less. If you find that this does not work for you, try flushing more often.
  • Never flush feminine products down a toilet. Even if the product claims to be flushable, it is still best to throw it in the trash.
  • Keep the area around the toilet free from small objects that can fall into the toilet. (Never keep valuables such as your cell phone or small camera in your shirt pocket. Many have been ruined when a person bends over to flush.)

Hopefully, these tips will come in handy the next time you find yourself with an overflowing bathroom toilet. If you have recurring problems or just don’t want to mess with it, you can always contact our plumbing professionals at Comfort Systems. We serve the Wichita area with quality HVAC and plumbing services.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wichita, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about plumbing and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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