What Causes Toilets to Clog?

Toilet clogging is something every homeowner does not look forward to as it is stressful, messy and they end up having to spend so much on plumbing. Once this problem becomes recurrent, it can be very frustrating for you as a homeowner.

A toilet is an essential structure in a plumbing system and household that must be maintained at all times. Many homeowners often overlook regular toilet maintenance until problems like clogging happen.

A clogged toilet causes many disadvantages like; an unpleasant smell in the house, increases the risk of health problems, toilet overflow, weakening of the plumbing structure, slow drainage, etc.

What Causes Toilets to Clog

Everyone knows that the best way to stop something from happening is to prevent it. To prevent a problem, you need to know what causes that problem. Hence, the common question: what causes toilets to clog?

The different parts of a toilet

It is essential to know some of the different parts of a toilet and how they affect toilet clogging. When you know this information, you know the source of the problem and how to fix it.

Toilet bowl

A round base or vessel on which the person using the toilet sits that accepts waste.

A C–shaped internal trap is built into the bowl to carry waste away. Almost all toilet bowls are made using vitreous China, a waterproof material.

Floor range

Above the sewer pipe, a round plastic or metal bracket protrudes from the floor and below the toilet bowl. It is called the floor range.

It is firmly connected to the floor, and the toilet is attached to it using T – bolts. If the toilet is leaking water, the floor range can weaken and break. It leads to a shaky water closet.

P – trap

It is a U–shaped trap in a toilet used to prevent smells by sealing off the drainage system (which holds a small amount of water) that stops sewer gasses from entering your bathroom.

Soil stack

This part connects the internal plumbing system to the sewer outside of the building.

Whenever you flush your toilet, it goes through the P trap; it then goes through the branch drain and the soil stack, leading the waste to the sewer.

Tank O – ring seal

This is also called the tank-to-bowl gasket, and it helps prevent any leakage of water from the toilet tank by providing a leak-free seal.

It is an O–shaped rubber washer that fits perfectly between the top of the toilet bowl and the bottom of the toilet tank.


The cleanout is a pipe (s) that provides access to the main sewer line either in the front yard, backyard, or outside your house.

This is done so that it can remove blockages. It usually has a cap at its end, but it can be removed when the drainpipe needs to be accessed.

The causes of toilet clogging

Many things can cause your toilet to get blocked, and some of them are listed below.

1. Flushing the wrong items

The cause of a clogged toilet happens because there is an item stuck in it that is not supposed to be there. Children like playing with water and could end up flushing a toy or an object down the drain.

These objects are big enough to pass through the toilet bowl but cause problems when they get to the pipes. There are also tons of things that we shouldn’t flush, but we end up flushing them.

Some of these objects include; feminine products (pads and tampons expand when flushed), Wipes (just because they are called flushable wipes does not mean they are), cotton balls, paper towels, grease, hair chunks, toilet paper, etc.

The only things that should be flushed down a toilet are toilet paper and bodily waste.

2. Little water in the tank & too much toilet paper

If your toilet is clogged, there’s likely not enough water pressure to flush down whatever it is that you’re flushing. The toilet tank must be filled up for the toilet to flush correctly.

Most toilet papers are stronger than they look and do not dissolve in water as fast as you think. Too much-flushed toilet paper can lead to clogging.

This happens because there is accumulated toilet paper in the pipes, and it becomes challenging to flush water down the toilet.

3. Hard & chlorinated water problems

Most homeowners are not aware of hard water and soft water. Hard water contains a lot of minerals and, when used to flush your toilet, causes a white substance that is very difficult to remove. The harder your water, the more minerals get stuck in your system.

This white substance blocks the pipe and leaves only a narrow space for waste and toilet paper to pass through, causing a blockage.

Too much chlorine in water can affect the plastic parts of your toilet, making them weak. This can affect the flushing of your toilet. If your toilet is not flushed properly, waste will accumulate.

4. Old pipework or toilet

Bad or old pipes are also a reason for toilet clogging. It can lead to slow drains in your toilets and other drainage systems in your home.

Old pipework can collapse; once you realize that more than one toilet in your home is clogged, it is a sign that your pipework needs change. Another sign is sediment backwash.

Old toilets such as low flush toilets are one of the causes of toilet blockage. There is always little water used to flush the toilet. Little water is equal to low water pressure. Hence, the toilet is not flushed properly.

5. Plumbing venting issues

Your plumbing vent is located on the roof. If there is a problem with it, this means that there is no proper airflow (your drainage needs airflow to work), a lot of pressure, and items such as leaves or sticks might have clogged the vent.

The problem could also be that the plumbing vent was not installed correctly. Issues with the vent can cause a vacuum to form, thereby holding wastewater in place.

How to stop toilet clogging

The first step in stopping a clogged toilet is to know how your toilet works basically. Know the system appropriately in order to avoid any upcoming problems.

You should know if your toilet uses a sewage system or a septic tank to operate. You can also always try the same old plunger and if that does not work, get a professional. Remember to inspect your toilets at least twice a year.

Always be mindful of the kind of items you flush down the toilet. Flush the right amount of toilet paper and ensure that there is always a trash can near the toilet where products can be disposed.

Please keep track of children to ensure that they keep toys and objects out of the bathroom. If you use hard water, ensure to invest in a water softener to treat your water before it enters the toilet. If you notice there is little water in the toilet tank, ensure that the supply valve is open and that there are no leaks. It is effortless to be a DIY when it comes to unclogging your toilet with all these.

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