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Why Do I Have a Clogged Toilet?

Identifying the Causes of a Clogged Toilet

If you have a clogged toilet, it can be frustrating. Especially when you find out that most clogs are because of something someone in your home flushed down the commode. In this article, we’ll cover the most common causes of bathroom clogs.

Why do my toilets keep clogging?

There are a few reasons why your toilet may be clogged. The first is that you have been flushing the wrong things down it. Another reason is that you have not been cleaning your toilet properly.

Most homeowners know about a sink’s P-trap, but do you know that your toilet has a trap, too? Instead of a P shape, the toilet’s trap is an S shape and sits between the toilet bowl and the drain line. Just like a sink’s P-trap, the purpose of the toilet’s trap is to catch objects and prevent them from moving to the drain line to cause a clog.

Due to its purpose, this is a common area of the fixture where items get stuck. Excess waste and toilet paper or non-flushable items can become lodged in the toilet trap after they are flushed.

A Plunger is the First Option for Unclogging a Toilet

The proper tool for plunging a toilet is a toilet plunger, also called a flange plunger. This has a cup that’s taller than the cup on a sink plunger, and it has a sleeve-like extension, the flange, on the bottom of the cup. 

The steps to unclog a toilet with a plunger are easy to follow.

Seven Household Items that Cause a Clogged Toilet


Grease is a big problem in kitchens but an even bigger issue in plumbing in your home. During the holidays, instead of pouring grease down the kitchen drain, many take grease or thick oily liquids, fat, etc, and flush it down their toilet. Grease is hard to clean up, and it can clog your toilet but the real concern is when grease reaches your pipes, accumulates, and becomes a major issue.

Grease inside clogged pipe

Dental Floss

In addition to clogging your pipes, flushing dental floss can actually cause environmental damage. When the floss is flushed it turns into a net, catching and holding onto other debris. Those with septic systems beware of dental floss wrapping around parts of your septic system and burning out the motor.

Flushable Wipes

While flushable wipes are marketed as an eco-friendly, easy way to clean yourself after going to the bathroom, they’re actually a major culprit in clogged toilets. These wipes are typically made of wet paper that doesn’t break down easily—so when you flush one down your toilet, it can end up getting stuck somewhere along the way.

The toilet itself is the most likely culprit for this problem: if your water level isn’t high enough when you flush, there won’t be any suction and your feces will just sit on top of the water until it starts smelling really bad (at which point you’ll probably need another product). The other possible cause is the flushing mechanism itself; if it’s not working properly or has been damaged by use, then all bets are off in terms of how well things will go.

flushable wipes cause clogged toilet


Just like dental floss, hair is similar because it can cause a harmful net. When flushed down a drain, hair gets caught in your pipes. Additionally, hair never dissolves so it creates more risk of clogging your system.

Cotton Balls and Q-Tips

Cotton balls, cotton pads, and Q-Tips are definitely not safe to flush — they don’t break down the way toilet paper does, and all they really do is clump together in your pipes and cause problems down the line.

On top of that, they’re not biodegradable. Just like plastic bags and styrofoam, they’re made from materials that aren’t designed to decompose.

Cat Litter

Another item that’s notorious for causing a clogged toilet is cat litter. Cat litter is made of clay and is not a good thing to be flushed down the toilet. The only way to dispose of cat feces is to put it in your trash.

Paper Towel Clogged Toilet

Paper towels are pretty much the same as toilet paper, right? NOPE! Paper towels are not designed to break down the way toilet paper does. If you need to use paper towels or tissues in place of toilet paper, dispose of them in a waste basket.

Need Help with a Clogged Toilet, call a Local Plumber or Drain Cleaner

If you have a clogged toilet, there are a few things you should know. For jobs done correctly, contact a local plumber or drain cleaning service to ensure that your toilet clog is repaired. An experienced service professional is able to recognize and provide repair solutions that fix the issue at the source. Dean’s Home Services offers a number of toilet repair and drain cleaning services in Minneapolis – St. Paul, MN, and the surrounding Twin Cities area.

And don’t put any chemicals in the toilet either. Over-the-counter chemicals sold as “toilet uncloggers” contain dangerous ingredients that are bad for your plumbing system. Don’t risk it—call us instead!

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