Taking Action Fast When Your Toilet Overflows

14 December 2018
 Categories: , Blog


Just when you least expect it, disaster strikes. When your sewage seems to be moving in reverse, you need to take action quickly while you wait for the plumber to arrive. Here's what to do.

1. Shut off the water. The shut-off valve is probably near the base of your toilet and looks like a metal wheel. Turn the wheel until the flow stops. If you cannot locate the valve or your toilet doesn't seem to have one, take the lid off the toilet and pull up on the float. The float is the rubber ball that can be lifted. That should stop the flow.

2. If you suspect a clog has caused the overflow, try to free the clog by using a household plunger. Use several downward plunges and put some effort into it for the best result. In some cases, the clog will clear but you might want to have a plumber take a look if you keep having the same problems over and over again.

3. If you have a clog but it cannot be cleared by the plunger, try using baking soda and vinegar. Use 1 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar and allow this mixture to marinate in the toilet overnight. While harsh clog-busters like liquid plumber might work, it is not advisable. Not only are these DIY products dangerous, but they make it dangerous for the plumber who might need to come in after the product doesn't work. If you've used such a product, be sure to let your plumber know about before they begin work.

4. If you can see an object, try to remove it while wearing rubber gloves.

5. Clean up the mess. Water can cause damage to flooring and should be addressed as soon as possible. A small spill that is confined to your bathroom should be mopped up with some towels. If the spill affected a larger area, you may need to use a shop-vac machine to suck up the water quickly and efficiently. Carpets can grow mold if they are left to dry on their own, so consider scheduling a professional cleaning in the next few days. The water from the toilet should not be considered clean water, so take steps to protect your skin by wearing gloves and by disinfecting your entire bathroom once the plumber has come and gone.

6. Prevent more clogs. To keep this messy situation from occurring again:

  • Never flush feminine napkins or tampons down the toilet.
  • Avoid flushing baby wipes down the toilet.
  • Use less toilet paper.
  • Flush more often rather than allowing too much to accumulate at once.
  • Use care when placing items near the toilet that could fall in and cause a clog.

For more information, reach out to local plumbing contractors.