Asked on Aug 26, 2016

Need to flush several times to clear toilet.

Millie Auer
by Millie Auer
DYI or call plumber ?
  26 answers
  • sounds like you have a clog in your toilet. Did it just happen? if it did then I would think a wash rag, tampon, condom or other foreign object is lodged in the plumbing. If this is the case you could buy a snake at your local home store and attempt it yourself. Do you have someone who could help you? Because it is probably time to change the wax ring on the toilet too and you could turn off the water, flush to get most of the water out, and remove the toilet to reach up inside to remove any lodged 'stuff'. put on a new wax ring and reset the toilet. It is a doable project for a homeowner.
  • William William on Aug 26, 2016
    When it takes several flushes, the first thing to check for: ******************************************************************************************* Low Water in Tank - Check the water level first and adjust your float higher to increase water level. Water level should be at least 1" below the overflow tube. ******************************************************************************************* Flapper closes too soon - Check the length of the chain. Chain slack for most toilets shouldhave ¼ to ½ inch of slack, adjust if needed. ******************************************************************************************* Next is the fill tube between the fill valve, and the overflow tube. It should be pointing down the overflow tube. This is what fills the bowl after the flush. If the bowl is not filled prior to flushing, the first flush from the tank, merely fills the bowl, getting it ready for the next try. ******************************************************************************************* The second cause, is normally an object in the trapway of the bowl that is slowing the siphon action of the flush. ******************************************************************************************* To determine if you have a clog in the trap way, sewer pipe or vent pipe ******************************************************************************************* Fill a bucket with one or more gallons of water and quickly pour into the bowl. If the bowl flushes normally then there is no blockage down the trap, sewer pipe or vent pipe that is effecting normal flushing. If it swirls but does not flush or has a weakflush then the clog is in the trap, drain pipe or vent pipe. Try a plunger to clear the toilet first. If this is unsuccessful then use a toilet auger. An Incomplete Flush can also mean a clogged Vent Pipe. The Vent Pipe is located on the roof. It is generally a 2” to 3” ID pipe that rises one foot above the roofline usually above toilet. You caneither run a snake down the pipe, or purchase a Blow bag, also known as anexpansion nozzle or water pressure bulb. It attaches to the garden hose and will expand 2-3” to seal the pipe before water gushes out the end. Water then blowsdown vent pipe to clear any obstruction into the sewer line. ******************************************************************************************* This can be a toothbrush, pen, small toys, soap, or bottles. Removing objects from the trapway will restore the suction needed for the siphon. I sometimes use a “closet auger” with a fairly large end, about 1-3/8” in diameter. The smaller augers or snakes will sometimes bypass the object and not move them out. In some cases, I need to remove the bowl, looking into the exit of the bowl, and see what is there, sometimes running the auger in from the bottom, and pushing the object out the top of the bowl. A trapway with tight bends, may have a lodged object at the top of the bend. It’s pretty easy to get a pencil stuck there. A small mirror may help to locate it. If you can’t remove objects, and sometimes you can’t, then replacing the bowl may be the only cure. ******************************************************************************************* The third cause, would be plugged rim holes under the bowl lip. If these have become plugged, then a wire coat hanger can unplug them.
  • Kate Kate on Aug 26, 2016
    Try 1/4Cup baking soda then pour in 1/4Cup vinegar mixed in HOT water and flush
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Aug 26, 2016
    How long have you had this issue. Do you have trees near by where the roots may be interferring?
  • Lorraine Lorraine on Aug 26, 2016
    Check out and go to her FlyShop. She has a tool called a Clog Cannon. It is terrific! Clears out clogs with no chemicals and is easy to use. Very reasonably priced. I would try it first, before calling an expensive plumber.
  • Sarah A. Victory Sarah A. Victory on Aug 27, 2016
    DIY--Go to and check out--Slow to flush toilet. Has video w/some good pictures.
  • Gaylene Dowhanuik Gaylene Dowhanuik on Aug 27, 2016
    Put 1/2 cup Blue Dawn Dish Detergent in toilet bowl & leave about 15 min. Fill an ice cream pail full of really hot tap water, then pour into toilet while flushing. Works every time.
  • Penny Penny on Aug 27, 2016
    Adjust the flapper in the tank to make sure it is staying open long enough to let adequate water into the bowl to let it flush
  • Recycler Recycler on Aug 27, 2016
    there are small holes under the rim through which the water flows. In our vacation cottage, our 60 year old toilet had mineral deposits clogging them. we replaced but you could try clearing them with sharp instruments but you might have to remove toilet first to get a good view
  • Denise Hanses Denise Hanses on Aug 27, 2016
    We had that problem and found out our septic tank needed to be pumped out.
  • HappyGrandmaGA HappyGrandmaGA on Aug 27, 2016
    Get VERY HOT water in large pail or pan and pour it all at once into toilet from high up....Usually that works to clear the clog OR try baking soda and vinegar, then pour hot water.....QVC also sells a wonderful natural drain cleaner that works well, Green Gobbler.
  • Joyce A Ward Joyce A Ward on Aug 27, 2016
    This is not your answer but a funny experience. We had this problem many years ago. Finally used a snake on it and pulled out a pencil! Problem solved. (Do you think a small kid would tell you he lost a pencil?)
  • Larry Larry on Aug 27, 2016
    Had a brand new house built. Three toilets. They needed extra flushes. Grabbed plumber by the ear, he replaced all three toilets. Problem solved.
  • Johnchip Johnchip on Aug 27, 2016
    Could be the wax ring itself. Take toilet up and replace ring. Half hour long chore, $2 fix.
  • Skrizzo Skrizzo on Aug 27, 2016
    Check the water level in the tank. It might need to be raised to add more water to the flush. If you're in CA the low flush toilets are like that.
  • Alexis Alexis on Aug 27, 2016
    I had this same problem a few years ago. After plunging for what seemed like forever, a clothspin floated up.
  • Linda 4 Real Linda 4 Real on Aug 27, 2016
    Have you opened the tank top and flushed to see if it empties and fills properly?
  • Tes8219149 Tes8219149 on Aug 27, 2016
    If you have alot of trees around your property, you could have roots in the plumbing. I just had a plumber pull out six feet of tree roots from the toilet plumbing. It's a wonder it flushed at all!
  • Jbrandt000 Jbrandt000 on Aug 27, 2016
    SOMETHING is blocking the vent through the roof pipe, probably a squirrel
  • Bernadette Staal Bernadette Staal on Aug 27, 2016
    Call a plumber - quickest solution.
  • Jbrandt000 Jbrandt000 on Aug 28, 2016
    Sounds like a city slicker answer
  • Ann7680670 Ann7680670 on Aug 28, 2016
    Plumbers are very expensive, so I'd try to find the solution first. Top, off. How full is the tank? The water should be level with the "pipe thing". It is? Take a look at the flapper. Is it sealing tightly? (use the old food coloring trick to find out if you're not sure). Everything still working? Hold down the flush level and watch what happens in the tank - is it emptying - all the way to the lip of the flapper? Last thing I'd try to the plunger - even though it does eventually empty - there may be something caught in there that is making the process a problem. Be sure to use a toilet plunger - much easier. Toilet plunger has a flange thingy that makes it look like a funnel. (Don't you love the way I have the identifying words for all the thingy? If none of these work, it's time for the expert - call a plumber. He/she will fix it in a minute and make you feel dumb (at least that's been my experience).
  • Bill Bill on Aug 28, 2016
    If you have a water saving flush, that could be the problem. I put in a water saver and now I have the same problem. I will not put another one. Everything was fine before I changed to the water saver. Just a thought.
  • Marcia Lazenby Marcia Lazenby on Aug 28, 2016
    water saving flush.....saw these comments....--you look on the flapper there is an adjustment ..looks like a kitchen timer.....turn this see if this helps...also shorten the chain helps.....there you go...
  • Bernadette Staal Bernadette Staal on Aug 29, 2016
    Calling an URGENT plumber is even more expensive suggest you call one at standard rates than wait until a possible sewer emergency.
  • Agnes Chrzanowska Agnes Chrzanowska on Sep 29, 2021

    clen your pipes