Objects getting stuck in the toilet trap is uncommon, but it happens. Usually the cause is children being curious and seeing what they can flush! Objects like toys, keys, forks, spoons and rags can get stuck and cause problems with your toilet system. If your toilet is draining slowly or backing up, this may have happened to you. You may be fortunate enough to see the item, or it may be too far gone to be visible.
If you can see the object that is stuck, the solution is simple: Just grab the item and take it out, ideally with a wire hanger. If it’s a flushable item a plunger is the ideal tool. Use a snake or auger if the object is stuck even deeper. In some unfortunate cases, it will be necessary to take about the entire toilet system to get those stuck items out.
In this article, we’ll give you some details on how to get toys and other objects out of your toilet trap. Remember to keep your safety in mind and use gloves and a mask to cover your hands and face, and keep some protective footwear on! You will also need to make sure the room is ventilated.
Pulling out with Your Hand
If you have flushed and can see something stuck in a toilet, it is perfectly fine (with gloves) to grab the object with your hands and take it out. You can follow these steps if it is difficult to clearly see the object:
– Turn off the water supply to make sure no more water enters the bowl
– Using a disposable bucket or duster, get rid of any excess water from the bowl. This will reduce the water level and make things easier for you.
– Now that it’s easier to see the entrance to the toilet trap, take a closer look and try to see the object. If you can, great! Remove it now.
– It’s also possible for you to reach into the trap and feel around for the object. If you can feel it, try and grab it out.
Removing by Hooking with Wire
If it’s impossible to get the object with your hands, it means the object is deeper in the toilet trap. It is best to use a wire to get objects like forks, spoons and keys that are likely to be stuck further down. Your first step is to find a strong wire and create a hook at one end. Using a wire coat hanger is ideal for this!
It’s important to note that you could scratch the sides of your toilet with the wire, so be careful to not use too much force.
If you’re still unable to get to the object, that means it must be deeper still, and you’ll need to take the next step!
Plunge The Toilet
The most obvious fix is to use a plunger, but this will not work 100% of the time. If it’s a rag or cloth that has been stuck, then this method should work well. The plunger can work to either push everything down or pull things out, either of which will solve your problem and have your object unstuck.
Follow these steps
- Find the right plunger. Flange plungers are specifically made for this situation, while sink plungers will not give you as much suction for toilet traps.
- To suit the shape of the plunger, make sure you have enough water in the bowl. Simply flush again if there is not enough water in your toilet.
- Place the plunger inside the water so that it will create suction and create a seal.
- Using a rhythmic, strong action, start pumping. Don’t pump too hard and remember to keep it angled to maintain suction.
- After six or seven times remove the plunger and check if the item has revealed itself. If not, try again!
If these steps don’t work, the next step is to use an auger or snake.
Using an Auger or Snake
A toilet snake or auger is made from a cable and tube that can be easily moved into a toilet and clear out any objects or clogs that have lodged inside.
It’s relatively simple to use a toilet auger or snake to check for any blockages. Follow these steps:
- Be sure to wear protective gloves, for obvious reasons! Hold the snake in the correct position, ready for it to move into the toilet.
- Begin moving the snake into the toilet
- Slowly spin in a clockwise direction to unwind down the drain. Pause when you feel some kind of resistance, as it will be likely you have found the cause of the blockage.
- Carefully rotate counter-clockwise to lift the object out of the toilet. Do so with care, as you don’t want to let it go again.
This is a relatively easy process, made even easier if you have an electric auger. However, if you’re still not having any success or don’t have access to an auger, the final step is to dismantle the toilet itself.
Dismantling The Toilet
If all your attempts have ended in failure, the final step is to conduct some toilet surgery.
Note that this is a very risky procedure, and should probably be done by a professional plumber.
First, turn off any water supply. You may also need to remove any attached items like screws and the mounting ring, wax ring and caulk.
This process will require you to replace some of the items removed, though it will still be less expensive than hiring a plumber.
- There will be plastic protectors covering the toilet bolts. Use a screwdriver to pop these off. Now that these bolts are exposed, you can carefully unwind them to loosen the toilet off the ground
- Once these bolts have been successfully unwound, use a wrench to remove the toilet completely
- Take off the toilet bowl and place it somewhere it can lean safely
- Using a torch if needed, look in the drain trap to see if you can find the object
- With the object removed, return the toilet. Place the trap and toilet together and screw the bolts back on using the wrench. Ensure you have tightly put all screws back on so that the toilet is firmly in place. You may need to place the wax seal with a new caulk.
Avoiding Foreign Objects in Your Toilet
As you can see from the instructions above, having objects trapped in your toilet is not an ideal situation, and creates a lot of work and difficulty, especially if the object is not easily retrievable.
Of course, it’s better to avoid all this heartache and take steps to make sure your toilet trap remains unblocked! Follow these tips to make sure your toilet works smoothly and the work above is not needed:
- Always keep the toilet seat closed, and instruct others in your household to do the same. This will stop children throwing random objects into the toilet.
- The only thing you should throw in the toilet is toilet paper. Do not throw paper, tissues, baby wipes or other objects that you think might be ok to throw in. It may seem like paper-like items can be thrown in without an issue, but these items will bind together and create problems. Even if they are flushed successfully, they can clog the sewage system and create deeper problems for local sewers.
- Again, keep others in your family informed on what is appropriate to put down the toilet. Even teenagers may not be aware that if you haven’t eaten it, it shouldn’t be flushed!
- Occasionally check your toilet to ensure there are no objects that may be blocking it.