Advice about Toilet Troubles
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Advice about Toilet Troubles
I need advice on a more effective way of unclogging our toilet. Due to some
medications that I take (or at least I THINK that's the reason), I am frequently
constipated. As a result, I only have BM' s every 2-3 days and at that point they are
enormous and very hard. As a result, our toilet is then clogged and no amount of
plunging seems to work to dislodge the clog. We are forced to wait 2-3 days, until (I
imagine) that the clog softens up and will go down. We are EXTREMELY lucky that we
have more than one bathroom, but it is still inconvenient and disgusting in the
Obviously, I need to solve the constipation problem (already eating lots of fiber,
drinking lots of water, taking stool softeners and probiotics in yoghurt), but in the
meantime, does anyone have any advice on how to get the clog to go down sooner than
waiting 2 days?
I recommend a pressure assist toilet. We put one in my mothers house for a similar
reason. It was a little pricey but does the trick every time. The plumber we used
was great, she really took The time to explain everything so my Mom could
understand. Big Blue Plumbing, ask for Danni.
I can't believe I'm saying this in public, but it sometimes works to break up the,
um, clog with a stick before flushing - sort of chop it into smaller pieces. Try
Thank Goodness this is Anon
Your ''biggest'' problem isn't the toilet but the constipation. You need to get
that in check first and then the secondary problem will dissolve. Senecot (Senna
generic form-the cheaper kind is fine) helps if you drink enough water. Some is
sold with a stimulant in it as well. From your description I would guess you are
taking pain medications and not hydrating. Prescription Lactulose works, so does
prune juice or stewed prunes. You can't imagine the health concerns chronic
constipation can cause. Quitting the meds is another cure if possible.
In the meantime you can use multiple flushes rather than waiting to fill the bowl
with stool and paper. Flush each ''section'' of stool as it drops. You can modify
the float in the toilet tank to give you more flushing water or use a bucket to
supplement the toilet. Not pleasant but curative would be to chop the stool into
manageable pieces with something like a wooden paint stir stick free from the paint
store if you don't tell them what you are doing with it.
A power wash toilet seat like ToTo and Panasonic make is heaven when you have
your problem. It helps clear things out in manageable pieces and prevents
hemorrhoids. They aren't cheap at $500 but once you have one you'll never go back
to paper. Hope that helps get things moving along.
To avoid clogs in our house we keep a package of stiff bamboo skewers in the
bathroom and use them to break up the big ''pieces'' into smaller pieces. (Sorry
for the visual, don't know how else to describe it. Break skewer in half, wipe off
after use, wrap in tp, put in waste basket.) I think of this problem as the
intersection of basic bodily functions, long-unchanged plumbing design, and modern
life (changing diets, sedentary lifestyles).
I found this great solution on-line. Wait until as much of the water can drain down
the toilet as possible. Squeeze some Dawn dish washing liquid into the toilet (the
directions called for a fairly large amount, but I've had success with a
tablespoonful or so). Pour a kettle of boiling water into the toilet and wait an
hour or so. You still have to plunge, and you may have to repeat this. I love this
solution because after you're done, your toilet is also clean!
It does sound like a yucky problem to have. The most expensive solution to this
would be to get a new toilet. There are ones that handle big poo better than
others. The downside to the expensive solution (apart from money) is that your
problem might be in your pipes after all, in which case getting a new toilet won't
help. The cheap solution is to keep a little plastic stick next to your toilet.
After you poo, break up your poo into smaller pieces with the stick. Then flush.
Rinse the stick in the toilet water, and store it next to the toilet again. Gross,
but better than a clogged toilet.
You poor thing!! Have you tried Miralax? That did the trick for my son. We did it
under a gi's supervision. I think she had him on a dose that was a lot bigger than
prescribed on the container. It really helped the clogging situation and helped him
Everyone will tell you this. Get a plumber's snake, make sure it's a toilet snake,
not a sink snake. A plunger won't do anything for you.
We had this problem for a couple of years with our youngest who tended to be a
witholder when he was around three and get really constipated. He would clog the
toilet every single time he went.
The plumber's snake has a J-shaped tube that fits into the drain opening of your
toilet bowl. Through it is threaded a flexible metal cable with a rotor shape on
the toilet end. There is a handle on the other end for you to rotate the cable
through the clog. There are many videos on YouTube. The whole thing will cost you
about $15 at the hardware store.
This is an easy problem to solve and you will be really happy with the results.
I would not be so quick to assume that the plumbing problem is
caused by your medical condition. Can you afford to consult with
Meanwhile, I have found that my bowel function is aided greatly
by taking probiotic capsules (Kyo-Dophilus-9) rather than
relying on foods; also eating rice every day (rice cakes,
brown rice with dinner, Rice-Krispies for breakfast) helps
I'm sorry about your clogging. Both of them. My Md. once told me :''number 1
bitchiness is constipation''.
Boy can I relate : i have to take narcotics on a regular basis, and constipation is
a major side-effect. I have tried everything (EVERYTHING) from under the sun, and
finally found a herbal formula that works. It is a gentle, non-habit forming
Ayurvaedic formula : Trifala.
You can find it at herbal stores (I get my capsules at Lhasa Karnak ) on any Indian
herbal stores, although they tend to sell the much cheaper - and putrid - version,
in powdered form.
One can never take too much Trifala, as it is also cleansing and fortifying the
colon wall. After a hospital stay, I once had to swallow about 15 capsules, which,
in powdered formula, would be no more than 2 teaspoons. Nothing, really.
Start with one capsule, and work your way up to as many as needed (at night, before
going to bed). I know you'll get relief. ( I regularly take between 4-6 capsules a
In the meantime (and yes, I think that you should treat the core of the problem
first as well...) 1/2 cup of baking soda with flushing down boiling water can help.
Oh, and eating loads of blanched almonds (soaked overnight, then peeled....time
consuming, but if you could, I KNOW you'd be grateful to me
Good luck !
Make sure you have the right kind of plunger. An accordion plunger is what works
best for toilets. The flat bottomed kind that most people have is pretty useless.
See if that helps.
It's worth a try.
Just echoing the comment that it may not be only your biological plumbing that's
the issue. We had the same problem during my first pregnancy several years back,
when unfortunately I was prone to the same pattern and we had the same kinds of
clogs. Yuck yuck yuck. At the very end, I got so fed up (we weren't lucky enough to
have a second bathroom!) that we called a plumber, who discovered that out old
house had a toilet installed on an improperly sized waste pipe. $500 later, the
plumber had torn out the old pipe, upgraded it to what it should have been from the
start, and installed a new toilet. New toilet was great, but the baby was born two
weeks later and the problems that had caused the clogs resolved, so we never really
put it to the test. Fast forward to today--pregnant with second child, and same
wonderful issues. We have not yet had one clog--whatever magic the plumber worked,
it is amazing! Haven't had to use the plunger or snake since, and can't believe we
didn't call to have it checked out sooner.
Best house money we have spent!
Somehow, our toilet recently began smelling like a porta-potty and is getting worse.
I don't think it is a cleanliness issue - we're quite regular in our cleanings of it,
and despite a 'fresh' smell of cleaner, you can still smell the odor of rankness
coming through. To put it mildly.
We're wondering maybe if there is a plumbing problem... but before I call and pay for
one to come to the house, I wanted to know if there might be some other simple
explanation that we could manage on our own.
Advice? Suggestions? Recommendations? We'll take them all.
I think that warrants calling the plumber. We had that happen one time, and
it turned out that the toilet needed a new wax gasket.
I know how to fix this! Our new (2 year old) toilet was REEKING over the
past 6 months or so (we have an 8 year old son who ''misses'' and hits the
back of the seat/hinge area sometimes.) You need to DISASSEMBLE & clean
the seat. The screws usually have plastic caps that pop off with a flat
screwdriver wedged under them. Then unscrew the bolt (you may have to hold
the nut under the porcelain while unscrewing the bolt from the top). Take
off the seat and thoroughly clean the whole thing, especially in the back
where it's hinged, (I did ours in the bathtub) with an old toothbrush and
some Comet or other cleanser. Also clean the bolts, any other washers or
parts, and the holes in the porcelain on the toilet. Dry, reassemble, and
the smell should be gone!
I just experienced a similar issue. It could be the 'P' trap, (could be
clogged or broken), or something clogging the main sewer line. In my
situation, it was a combo of the two.Roots clogged the old pipe, and the P
trap was beyond old and needed to be replaced. The new P trap, was $50.00,
and the pipe cleaning was $175.00.
No longer smells
check that nothing is blocking your plumbing vent for that toilet. this
vent is a 2'' vertical pipe near your toilet... likely protrudes through
The water in the toilet bowl is there as a barrier between the drain odors
and the air of the room, so if the toilet is not visibly cracked and leaking
it is possible that the seal between the toilet and the drain has failed and
the floor beneath the toilet is wet and causing the smell. it is also
possible that there is a break in the drain pipe below the toilet and the
smell is coming up from underneath the house. Yes - call a plumber or if
you are a DIY-er pull the toilet out to investigate and do it soon since a
major flooring repair could be necessary if you let this mystery go
Your toilet - most any toilet in the US - is sealed to a waste line by a wax
Most likely, over time, that wax ring has been worn away by passing water,
cleaning products, etc.
Unless you've successfully replaced this simple wax ring before, it's easier
to get a plumber to do it. Easy Peasy!
Careful Property Owner
I have two little boys and have had this problem. Here's what I did:
1. Cleaned really well in the crevice between the tank and back of the
bowl. This requires a very thin rag shimmied into the crack. Errant pee
drops go in here to die.
2. Rolled up an old washcloth to put on the back of the toilet behind the
hinges to catch spray. This also prevents drops from dripping down the bolt
holes that hold the seat on the toilet. Stuff drips down here and dries on
the underside where you are unlikely to see or clean it.
3. Cleaned really well where the toilet meets the floor. When it was dry,
I caulked it well, preventing drips from sliding into that space.
This solved my problem. Good luck!
Stinky No More
This happened one or two times at our circa 1910 house back in the early
days of our ownership in the 1990s. Each time it was because roots had
invaded the outside sewer pipe and blocked the line. The gases get trapped
and come back up the pipe, hence the smell. The first time we had a
roto-rooter type company just root out the line, and it worked for a while.
The second time, they found the original clay sewer pipe had cracked/broken,
and the whole thing had to be replaced. However, our homeowner's insurance
covered the replacement since it was due to tree roots. Not sure if they
still cover that today.
In any case, you can try snaking out the line, but the blockage could be way
across your yard (ours was) and the snake might not reach it. Might be
easiest to have one of the rooter companies come in and do a diagnosis.
Stinky no more
As water-conscious Californians, our household rule regarding potty
use has always been ''if it's yellow, let it mellow''. That's worked
just fine (in terms of a lack of smell) for the previous 2 places
where we've lived. But now we have a situation where one of our
potties stinks ALL the time. (The other one in the house is just fine
in the smell department.)
Short of reverting to flushing with every use, or scrubbing it every
few days, what can we do?
I do sprinkle borax powder (when I remember!) and that helps somewhat,
but not even close to 100% of smell removal.
Has anyone else ever encountered this before? What worked for you?
Hoping to Smell Less
We had the same prolonged awful stinky problem with our toilet
and it stemmed from leaving yellow over time. Do you have a
low-flow toilet? What was happening in our case is that the
bacteria from the urine was starting to create a stinky mold
in the inner-under part of the toilet. Our toilet has a rim
around the entire top where water flows down to flush. There
is a lip that can't be reached by a normal toilet brush, but
it is exposed to air. I tried everything, even spraying in
the rim and leaving bleach in the bowl which I try not to use.
So, it got so bad that I put my gloves on grabbed a toothbrush
and really got up in the rim. I pulled out chunks of moldy
black stuff. It was completely disgusting, BUT now it's fine
and I just do regular maintenance cleaning
Do you have some males using this potty, by any chance? The
hinge area where the seat attaches to the bowl is notorious
for trapping wayward urine - and stinking up the place. Try
removing the seat and see if there is tons of yellow crud in
there. Clean that well and see if that helps. If it's an
ongoing problem, consider getting one of the quick-release
seats now available - it's helped at our house!
We had a stinky toilet one time in an old house we rented and it turned
smell was sewer gas coming up from the sewer line because of a floor
the basement that had dried out. The water that sits in drains and traps
the sink and toilet prevent sewer gas from coming back in, so if there's
you get the stink. A plumber came out and just poured a bucket of water
the drain in the basement and that solved the problem. Does your toilet
like an outhouse? If so, sewer gas fumes could be your problem. Google
gas' and you'll learn a lot about it!
Our perpetually smelly potty was due to my son peeing all over
the place as he was learning to use the ''big potty''. Despite
cleaning the floor tiles around the toilet, the men's urinal
smell did not ever go away. I guess the pee was absorbed by
the grout... Anyway I bought a steam cleaner and really gave
the tiles a good scrub and steam. The smell disappeared. My
son now has better aim. The stink has gone!
It could be that you have a very slow small leak. I have
reseated a toilet, it's not that hard. Just go out and buy a
new wax seal, flush first and turn the water off at the wall
right after it goes down and before it fills back up again,
and bail out the extra water. Undo the bolts that hold the
toilet down (the big ones on either side) unscrew the water
hoses, remove any old sealant where it meets the floor, lift
the toilet off (might need 2 people, it can be stuck hard
and toilets are heavy) place it on an old piece of cardboard
next to the old spot while you clean up the old wax seal,
put down the fresh one following directions on the package,
place the toilet back down on it, tighten the bolts, and
turn your water back on and you should be good to go. Hope
I had this problem once, and being the mother of 2 boys,
finally discovered that the urine smell seeped through the
vinyl floor/toilet seam. Really gross. No amount of cleaning
did any good. It went away when we replaced the vinyl.
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