Overflowing toilets can be a real pain, but understanding the root cause can help you tackle the problem effectively. One of the most common reasons is a blocked drain. This can occur when non-dissolvable items like wet wipes, cotton buds, or even toys (we’re looking at you, kids!) are flushed down the toilet.

These items can accumulate and cause a clog, leading to an overflow.

Clogged pipes, often caused by flushing too much toilet paper or other foreign objects, can cause your toilet to overflow. Another culprit could be a faulty cistern or a malfunctioning float ball. If they’re not working properly, they can cause the toilet to fill with water, leading to constant overflow.

So today, we are going to find out how to fix an overflowing toilet and why it is happening in the first place!

Common Culprits Behind Toilet Clogs

When it comes to toilet clogs, the unexpected culprits are often to blame:

  • Excessive toilet paper: While it’s a necessity, using too much can lead to a blockage. Remember, moderation is key!
  • Feminine hygiene products: These are not designed to be flushed. Always dispose of them in a bin.
  • Baby wipes: Despite what the packaging may say, these are not flush-friendly. They can easily accumulate and cause a clog.
  • Children’s toys: Kids can be curious creatures, and their toys can end up in the most unexpected places, including the toilet!
  • Foreign objects: If it’s not human waste or toilet paper, it’s a potential clog-causer.

These items can accumulate in the pipes, creating a blockage that can overflow your toilet. It’s important to remember that toilets are not rubbish bins. Only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed to avoid any unwelcome surprises.

So, what’s the moral of the story? Be mindful of what goes down the loo. It’s a simple habit that can save you a lot of hassle in the long run.


Immediate Steps to Stop an Overflowing Toilet

When a toilet drain overflows, it’s a race against the clock to prevent water damage. Here are the steps you need to take:

1. Turn Off the Water Supply

When your loo resembles a rogue fountain, it’s time to act swiftly. The first step? Turn off the water supply.

Here’s how:

  1. Locate the water supply valve. It’s typically found on the wall behind the toilet, close to the floor.
  2. Turn the valve clockwise until it’s tight. This shuts off the water flow to the toilet.
  3. Give the toilet a flush to drain the water from the cistern. This will halt the overflow.

2. Unclogging Tools You Need

When facing a clogged toilet, having the right tools can make all the difference. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Toilet Plunger: Essential for minor clogs, a good plunger can clear blockages with several forceful pumps.
  • Toilet Auger: For tougher clogs, a toilet auger reaches deep into the drain to break up stubborn blockages.
  • Bucket: Useful for removing excess water and catching debris from the toilet bowl.
  • Rubber Gloves: Protect your hands and keep the job sanitary with a pair of durable rubber gloves.
  • Wet/Dry Vacuum: Ideal for extracting water and debris, making it easier to address the clog.

DIY Methods to Clear a Clogged Toilet


Using a Toilet Plunger Effectively

Let’s face it, a plunger isn’t the most glamorous tool in the shed, but when your toilet decides to pull a stunt, it can be your best mate.

Here’s how to use it effectively:

  1. First, choose the right plunger. A flange plunger is ideal for toilets, thanks to its extended rubber lip that creates a tight seal.
  2. Place the plunger in the bowl, ensuring the flange covers the drain completely. This seal is crucial for generating the suction needed to dislodge the clog.
  3. Now, it’s time to plunge. Start with gentle pushes to expel air, then follow with forceful, rhythmic plunges. Think of it as a plumbing workout!
  4. After about 10-15 plunges, lift the plunger swiftly. If the water drains, congratulations, you’ve beaten the clog! If not, repeat the process.

Plunging is a game of patience and power. But beware, excessive force could damage the toilet. And one more thing, if the water level is too high, bail some out into a bucket first.

Trying a Toilet Auger or Snake

If the plunger fails, A toilet auger, or plumbing snake, can be a real game-changer for a stubborn toilet clog that refuses to budge. It’s a flexible rod that can reach deep into the drain to break up blockages.

  1. First, choose the right auger length. A standard toilet auger is about 3 metres long, which should be sufficient for most clogs. However, you might need a longer auger if the clog is further down the drain.
  2. Insert the end of the auger into the drain. Wear rubber gloves, as this can be a messy job.
  3. Turn the handle clockwise while pushing the rod further into the drain. This rotation helps to dislodge the clog.
  4. Once you’ve reached the blockage, you might need to wiggle the auger a bit to break up the clog.
  5. Retract the auger by turning the handle anti-clockwise. You might be able to retrieve some of the debris causing the blockage.

Always handle the auger with care to avoid scratching your toilet bowl.

Baking Soda and Vinegar Mixture

Ever heard of the fizzy duo, baking soda and vinegar? They’re not just for science experiments; they can be your secret weapon against minor toilet clogs.

Here’s how you can use them:

  • First, scoop about one cup of baking soda into the bowl of the toilet.
  • Next, slowly pour two cups of vinegar into the bowl.
  • Leave the mixture to do its job for about 30 minutes.
  • Finally, try flushing the toilet. You can also add some hot water. If the water drains away, you’ve successfully unclogged the toilet!

When to Call an Emergency Plumber


If simple methods like plunging and baking soda mixtures have failed, and the water keeps rising, it’s time to seek professional help.

It’s definitely time to call an emergency plumber. But when should you make that call?

Signs of most common plumbing issues, such as multiple clogged drains, strange noises, bad smells, or visible water damage, mean you should call a plumber immediately. These could indicate major problems like a blocked sewer line requiring urgent attention.

While tackling minor issues yourself is commendable, some situations are best left to the experts. Remember, quick action can prevent further damage and costly repairs.

Signs of a Serious Plumbing Issue

While a blocked toilet can be frustrating, it often signals a deeper issue. Persistent foul odours from drains may indicate issues with your plumbing system. Addressing them promptly can prevent further problems and potential health hazards.

If your blocked toilet constantly overflows or refuses to flush, it could mean a blocked sewer line – a serious problem. And if you notice damp patches or a sudden spike in your water bill, it could be a leaky pipe causing havoc.

Preventing Future Toilet Overflows

Preventing future toilet overflows starts with smart habits and regular maintenance. Here’s how to keep your toilet in top shape:

  • Be cautious about what you flush. Only human waste and toilet paper should go down. This is a simple rule, but it’s often ignored.
  • Flushing items down the toilet, such as wet wipes, cotton buds, or toys, can lead to clogs and overflows.
  • Regular cleaning is essential. A well-maintained toilet is less likely to encounter problems.
  • Address minor issues quickly, such as slow draining or occasional clogs, to prevent bigger problems.

By following these tips, you can avoid the inconvenience and potential damage of toilet overflows. Remember, prevention is better than cure!

Toilet Maintenance Tips

Here’s how you can maintain a trouble-free toilet:

  • Regularly clean your toilet with a high-quality cleaner and a robust brush to prevent build-up that can cause issues. During cleaning, always check for leaks or cracks to catch problems early.
  • Remember, toilets are designed only for human waste and toilet paper. Flushing items like wet wipes or cotton buds can lead to blockages.
  • Know how to use a plunger effectively. It’s a simple tool, but when used properly, it can be very effective at clearing minor clogs.

Understanding the Causes and Solutions for a Stress-Free Bathroom

An overflowing toilet can be stressful and messy, but understanding the common causes and how to handle them can make all the difference. From blocked drains caused by flushing non-dissolvable items to faulty cisterns and malfunctioning float balls, there are several reasons why your toilet might overflow. By being mindful of what you flush, having the right tools on hand, and knowing when to call a professional, you can confidently tackle toilet troubles.

If you encounter a persistent or serious plumbing issue, don’t hesitate to contact the experts at The Brisbane Plumbers. Our team of experienced and professional plumbers is ready to assist you with any toilet emergency, ensuring that your home remains clean, safe, and free from water damage.

Trust The Brisbane Plumbers to provide prompt, efficient, and affordable solutions for all your plumbing needs. Contact us today to schedule your service and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing your plumbing is in good hands.

Overflowing Toilet FAQs

What should I do if my toilet is overflowing and I can’t stop it?

If your toilet is overflowing, the first step is to locate the toilet’s water supply valve, which is usually near the base of the toilet or on the wall behind it. Turn the valve clockwise to shut off the water supply and stop the toilet from overflowing. If you can’t find the valve or if it’s not working, locate the main water valve for your home and turn it off.

How can I tell if the problem is with the toilet tank or the bowl?

If the issue is with the toilet tank, you may notice that the water level is too high or that the tank float mechanism isn’t working correctly. This can cause the toilet to overflow or not flush properly. If the problem is with the bowl, you may see that the water level is rising or that the toilet is clogged, preventing it from flushing.

Can tree roots cause my toilet to overflow?

Yes, tree roots can grow into your plumbing system, causing blockages that lead to toilet overflows. If you suspect that tree roots are the cause of your plumbing issues, it’s best to call a professional plumber to assess the situation and recommend a solution, such as root removal or pipe repair.

How often should I check my toilet valve and flush mechanism?

Inspect your toilet valve and flush mechanism at least once every six months. Check for any signs of wear, corrosion, or leaks. Ensure that the flush handle and tank float mechanism are working smoothly. Regular maintenance can help prevent issues like toilet overflows and ensure your toilet continues to flush correctly.

What should I do if my toilet overflows and I can’t fix it myself?

If you’ve tried basic troubleshooting steps and your toilet continues to overflow, or if you’re unsure about how to resolve the issue, it’s time to call a professional plumber. A plumber can diagnose the problem, whether it’s a faulty toilet valve, a clogged drain, or tree roots in your plumbing system, and provide the necessary repairs to restore your toilet properly.