The Bladder and Bowel Community says the average person uses the toilet 7 times a day. Because of this, you may take your toilet for granted – except when it isn’t flushing correctly! If you need to get your toilet to flush better, there are a few easy home remedies you can do.

What supplies will I need? While industrial decloggers and plumbing specific tools are ideal – like channel locks pliers, a screwdriver, and plumbing snake – there are a couple household items that can get the job done. Things like vinegar, bleach, a bucket, a nylon brush, and a rag can fix most flushing problems.

Is my toilet clogged?

This is the first question you should be asking as it is the most common problem. Plumbers 911 of Jacksonville, a top Jacksonville plumber in the area, recommends that to test, try pouring a gallon of water in the toilet and flushing – if this doesn’t work you have a clog. The best thing to use is a toilet plunger or a snake.

What if you don’t have a plunger or snake? Try using a wire coat hanger – unwind the metal and attach a rag to the end. Be careful, as you don’t want to scratch the porcelain. Gently wiggle the metal wire down into the toilet, slowly moving whatever is blocking.

I don’t really want to touch the toilet, is there anything else I can do?

I completely understand! Try using dish soap and hot water – this works well in softening the clog in your toilet. Do this by pouring dish soap into the toilet bowl and following it up with water heated to just under boiling. You might need to do this a few times.

I’ve heard vinegar is great at unclogging. Vinegar is great for many things, unclogging a toilet included. First, mix in baking soda into the toilet bowl, and then add vinegar slowly. You might need to flush multiple times while slowly adding vinegar to push all the vinegar throughout the pipe.

This may sound silly, but could any other part of my toilet be clogged?
This isn’t a silly at all because the answer is absolutely yes!  There are a series of small holes underneath the rim that adds water into the bowl when you flush. Clean this by squirting vinegar around the lip and then using a bendable nylon brush to gently scrub all the gunk out.

Nothing seems to be clogged and yet my toilet is still not flushing well.

If clogging isn’t your problem, try taking a look at the water valve located underneath the toilet. This valve is typically located on a metal mesh tube near the wall. To increase water flow turn the valve counterclockwise to open completely.

What’s underneath the tank cover? If none of the above work, you might have to bite the bullet and take off that tank cover. Don’t feel intimidated by the process of looking under the hood, if any parts need to be replaced it is pretty easy to do so even if you aren’t handy.

The flush lever doesn’t seem to be doing anything.

Chances are the flush valve has become disconnected from the flap that controls the flushing. The valve should be connected to a chain or wire – chains can be adjusted by removing some links while wire models usually have a screw that adjusts the length

The water doesn’t seem to be matching the designated line. If this is the case, you merely have to adjust the tank float assembly. There should be a screw located on the top of the valve. If you need to raise the water turn the screw clockwise, and counterclockwise for the opposite.

I tried adjusting, but it looks like the valve is broken. This is probably one of the worst case scenarios for your toilet, but still not a big deal. Replacing flaps and toilet fill valves are relatively simple and can be done with a cheap kit from your hardware store.

Should I clean out the tank?

Yes, as a dirty tank and parts can impede water flow – specifically the small hole located on the bottom of the tank can get clogged. First, shut off the water valve and drain all the water out. Fill the tank with bleach for about fifteen minutes – but no more – and flush.

Vinegar worked great before, will it work now? Vinegar is great and much less corrosive than bleach. First, drain the water and pat the tank dry. From here wipe the inside with vinegar and also fill the tube connected to the valve with vinegar. Have it sit for a couple hours and then open the water valve back up to flush.

What about my septic tank?

If you have recurring problems such as sewage backing up into your toilet and have a septic tank, you might need to drain it. In order to avoid blockage try not using wet wipes and using a monthly septic tank bacteria packet.

Anything else I should know? Improving your toilet’s flushing isn’t an arduous affair. With just a few minutes of work and a couple dollars, you can fix most problems associated with your toilet. However, if you do everything above and still have problems you might need to contact a plumber.