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Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Blog

Clogged toilet? Here’s What to Know!

We’ve all been here before: You flush the toilet, but somethings wrong. The water level rises. A mass of paper and a nasty mess is caught in the drain. Even further the water rises like a flood, nearing the seat, threatening to spill all over your clean floor.

You just clogged the toilet. No judgements, everyone’s done it at least once. But before you grab the plunger and go to town, you need to ask yourself a simple question:

Did I clog this toilet with too much TP and too much Chipotle?


Did this toilet clog on its own?   

And you might respond: Either way, its gross, so what difference does it make?

All the difference in the world. A clogged toilet can be either a nuisance or the first warning of a hyper-foul plumbing disaster. Read on to learn the difference, what it means, and just how foul it can get.

Clogs You Made

If you used half a roll of Charmin, there’s no mystery why the toilet can’t handle that. Next time you’ll just flush twice.

When this is the case, plunge away.

We can even help with that too. Here’s a refresher course on this crucial adult skill.

How to Plunge a Clogged Toilet

  • Run the plunger under hot water. This softens up the plunger so it can form a tighter seal with your drain.
  • Carefully submerge your plunger into the toilet. Too much force can necessitate the mop-n-bucket cleanup you’re trying to avoid.
  • Form a tight seal between the plunger and the clogged drain.
  • At first, plunge carefully.
  • Plunge the toilet strenuously, putting equal weight into both the up and down motions.
  • Remove the plunger quickly to break the seal. The force will either cause the clog to be pushed down the drain or pulled back into the bowl. If the clog is pushed down the drain, good work. If the clog is pulled back into the bowl, it’ll likely be broken up enough to be flushed normally.
  • Clean the plunger and wash your hands.

Clogs You Didn’t Make

So let’s say you only went #1, yet you’re staring down at a clogged toilet. Or you know how much your commode can accommodate, and you didn’t exceed that.

In that case, the problem likely isn’t in your bowl but further down — in your pipes or sewer line. Clogged toilets stand out as a major symptom of a bigger problem: clogged pipes or blocked sewer lines.

In a clogged pipe or a clogged sewer line, matter blocks the pipe. That blockage prevents the pipe or sewer line from doing its job, i.e. transporting waste into the sewer system.

Unexplained toilet clogs are the first sign you might have a problem. You might not get a second warning.

Does a clogged toilet turn your stomach? A pipe or sewer line clog can send raw sewage flooding out from every drain in your house. That fecal phenomenon is known as a sewer line backup.

Sound terrifying? It is.

Read more about a blocked sewer pipe.

Clogged Pipe Causes



  • Excess hair down your shower drain
  • Excess soap down your shower drain
  • Toothpaste down your bathroom sink
  • Shaving cream down your bathroom sink
  • Food waste down the kitchen sink

Blocked Sewer Pipe Causes

  • Flushing non-degradable waste down your toilet
  • Build-up of food grease from the sink or garbage disposal
  • Tree roots growing into your sewer pipe
  • Pipes corroding or degrading from age



Good news for you, we have a high-tech, no mess solution to annihilate the majority of sewer and pipe clogs!

For Pipe Clogs

To remedy a clogged pipe, Benjamin Franklin plumbers use a heavy-duty, drain-clearing snake. The metal snake breaks apart the tenacious clog, allowing the clog materials to be flushed into the sewer —where they belong.



We recommend NEVER using chemical drain cleaners. Either a potent acid or base, these caustic liquids have the tendency to destroy your pipes—along with the clog they were meant to target. In addition, like all concentrated chemicals, using them without proper ventilation poses a massive health hazard.

If you want to handle minor pipe clogs on your own, we recommend Bio Ben. Bio Ben is an enzyme that safely dissolves organic matter, while posing no risk to your pipes or your health.

For extremely stubborn clogs, we employ a high-pressure water jet to annihilate blockages.

Contact us to schedule a pipe cleaning or to purchase Bio Ben.

To clear find and destroy sewer line blockages, our expert plumber will perform a video pipe inspection. During the procedure, the plumber navigates a camera down the pipes and into the sewer system. The video from the camera allows the plumber to pinpoint the exact location, and nature, of the clog.

Depending on the size of the clog, our plumber can use the sturdy camera like a battering ram to destroy it. Double win.

Contact us to schedule a camera inspection.

Clogged Toilet: Wrap-Up

It might sound strange, but if a clogged toilet helps you prevent a sewer line backup, you might be thankful for it.

What’s more, after reading this blog, you’re now unofficially certified to plunge toilets like a champ.

Just like everyone’s clogged a toilet before, everyone (statistically) is likely to do it again. So the next time you face down a clogged toilet, ask yourself the important question: was this me or was this something way worse?

If you can’t pinpoint the cause of your clog, get us on the phone. We can find and destroy trouble before it strikes.

Contact us to discuss clogged pipes and blocked sewer line.

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