The toilet is a constant source of wonder for a child, stuff goes in it and then it’s flushed away. This magical portal to another realm is a real draw and in their minds, it’s the perfect adventure for a beloved toy. Professional plumbers are called out to clogged toilets regularly and they find all manner of weird items stuck there including toys. In this article, we will take a closer look at the topic and offer a couple of helpful solutions that may fix the problem.
How Does a Child’s Toy Become Stuck?
Many people use their toilet as a kind of flushable trash can and they place all kinds of items in there including dental floss, nail clippings, sanitary products, and more. This is a bad move because a toilet is only designed for human waste and toilet paper removal. Toilet paper is specifically designed to break down easily a short while after it’s been placed in the toilet bowl. So called “flushable wipes” and kitchen paper do not break down in this way and they shouldn’t be flushed at all.
When it comes to a child’s toy, the larger ones will tend to lodge at the entrance to the drain and they can be flushed out pretty easily. Obviously, they will need to be sterilized before the lecture and the return of the toy to the child. But, the smaller toys are the real problem because they are harder to notice and easier to flush. Once they enter the drain, they can become stuck and they may cause extensive damage to your plumbing system.
5 Signs That There is a Stuck Toy
Let’s take a look at five signs that there is a stuck toy or other small object in the toilet drain, they are:
- An overflowing toilet.
- The plumbing system is gurgling.
- Water and/or sewage is backing up into the bathroom.
- There is a strong smell of raw sewage.
- The child is caught red handed at the scene.
If you notice one or more of these signs, don’t make a knee jerk reaction because it’s easy to make the problem worse.
Don’t Reach for the Plunger
The automatic response for most people when they are confronted with a slow or clogged drain is to reach for a plunger. Stop! This is the incorrect response, the plunger changes the pressure in the pipe to shake a clog loose. But, in this situation, it can force the small toy further into the drain where it will be harder to reach and remove.
2 Effective Toy Removal Strategies Explained
As time passes, a flushed toy or other items will sit for longer periods, and the chance of a serious drain clog increases. So, it’s important to be proactive and take steps to remove the toy before it causes more damage to the plumbing system. Here are two effective toy removal strategies that you can attempt, they are:
1. Removal by Hand
This is probably the last thing that anyone would want to do, but a manual removal by hand is an effective method. To begin, you will need a long pair of rubber gloves that reach up to your elbows and a shop vac or bucket. Scooping or vacuuming out the excess water will make the process more sanitary and less messy. Now you can remove the bolts that hold the toilet bowl in place with an adjustable wrench. Carefully lift the toilet bowl upwards and place it to one side. The optimal location is upright on top of a thick towel in your tub to keep it safe. Place your gloved hand in the toilet drain and you may be able to scoop the toy out of the drain. Once the toy is removed, you can reattach the bowl and flush the toilet to ensure that everything is working correctly.
2. Removal with a Drain Auger
A drain auger is often referred to as a plumbing snake and this tool is available in a number of different sizes. Along with a cup plunger, toilet plunger and adjustable wrench a couple of augers are an essential part of any home plumbing kit. The process of removal with a drain auger is the same as we’ve detailed above up until the point when you reach into the exposed toilet drain. If you can’t scoop the toy out by hand, it’s time to try the plumbing auger. Gently insert the snake into the toilet drain opening and feed it in until you encounter some resistance. At this point, it’s likely that the auger has butted up against the lodged toy. At the business end of the auger is a screw bit or hook that is used to break apart tough clogs. But, it may be possible to snag a corner of the toy to pull it free and this can take a few attempts. Twist the auger handle slowly to ensure that the toy isn’t broken apart because extra pieces make the process harder. If you can feel the auger snag on a corner of the toy, it may be possible to gently pull it out of the drain.
When you approach a clogged toilet drain it may be possible to remove the toy or other small items using the auger without a need to remove the toilet bowl. It’s always worth an attempt to spare yourself the extra hassle and if you’re lucky it can make the process much simpler.
Neither Drain Clog Removal Method Worked, What’s Next?
At this point, it’s likely that the toy is too far into the drain or severely lodged and it may not be possible to remove it easily. This is when you need to contact your local certified and licensed plumber for expert help. They have the experience, knowledge, and specialized tools to remove the toy safely. So, if a treasured toy or other small item is dropped or placed in the toilet, don’t despair because in most cases it can be recovered.