Toilet Clogged with Toilet Paper: How to Remove Blockage

The bathroom is an oddly unpleasant place, all things considered. The potential for mishaps and all sorts of accidents, most of which are largely not even your own fault, is huge.

From mirrors being broken due to unlucky timing and movements, all the way to cracked porcelain, there's no shortage of potential issues. The most unpleasant, however, always revolve around the toilet bowl itself.

Unpleasantness regarding the one place where you do your most urgent and necessary bodily functions can be very daunting. Especially when they relate to getting rid of bodily waste.

You'd be surprised and quite possibly shocked at how often a toilet can get clogged, by all manner of things. Even a hairclip can sometimes do damage and that's not even the most absurd example out there.

However, we're discussing one of the most common causes of a blockage today - toilet paper causing a clog and a gigantic mess.

Toilet Clogged with Toilet Paper

Often times, it's hard to predict why it happens or even how it might be prevented. Even the most strong toilets, with the flimsiest paper being used, will sometimes get backed up and spew water back out.

Before we begin discussing how to combat such issues when they arise, let's go with some good old folk wisdom. It's better to prevent it than to treat it.

Here's what you can do to make sure you have as few instances of your toilet clogging up due to toilet paper:

  • Try to not be wasteful of toilet paper. It's hard to train yourself in this, especially if you want to teach it to young children but the truth is that less paper often means fewer chances of a block.
  • Contrary to popular belief, thicker paper is not always better. Toilet paper should be an ideal mix of thin and thick enough to serve your purposes.

That's why you always try to choose the best middle ground for yourself, between those. This is how you reduce the risk and maybe even some money along the way.

  • Make sure your toilet and piping are working as intended. Repeated problems can often have underlying causes that may lead to problems down the line.
  • Do not hesitate to call in a professional if you have a concern about your flushing causing constant issues. There's always a chance that the larger problem at hand can only be fixed with a plumber's intervention.

What you'll need and how to use it

With that out of the way, we can focus on dealing with the issue of your toilet paper having caused a clog. Keep in mind that all of these are good methods, but not 100% effective every time.

The paper itself should usually not be a problem, but if it is, I repeat, do not hesitate to call someone experienced to help out. There's also folk wisdom about paying a bit on time to avoid paying a lot when it's far too late.

Materials to prepare in advance
  • Clothes you don't mind making a mess of. You do not want to get your good clothes dirty, dealing with a clogged toilet (and it's a real possibility for them to be ruined).
  • A good, sturdy pair of latex gloves. You may need to end up playing in the muck, as it were, and having these on hand will be a godsend for you, to avoid touching anything directly if the need arises.
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    Something to poke and prod at the paper with. Usually, you can even make do with a stick, but something sturdier is always better.
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    A plumber's snake would be ideal for any sort of persistent mess. If you have one around, be sure to have it close by.
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    A good, solid plunger. Ideally, this kind of plunger, since those work best with this type of issue.
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    The largest bucket you have that you can use to pour water into the toilet bowl comfortably. There's no need to worry about the temperature of the water, as long as it's not freezing or boiling hot since both of those can damage the porcelain of the toilet bowl.

How to Unclog a Toilet Clogged with Toilet Paper

1. Use your hands or a plunger

First of all, you have to consider how large the amount of paper is. If there's a huge amount of paper involved, then you might need to resort to the gloves, first.

Put them on and make sure they fit both snugly and up to your elbows. This way you at least avoid any unpleasantness beyond having to stick your hand down there.

Reach in and manually confirm that it feels like you can't affect it with anything else, first. If it seems that big, proceed to scoop out chunks of toilet paper until it becomes impossible for you to really get any of it out.

I recommend using a plastic bag to collect it all since you're going to want to throw it in the garbage right after.

This might have even solved your problem and the water seems to be running fine. If it hasn't, refer to the possible solutions below.

plunger for overflowing toilet

If the issue seems to be with the outlet drain, that's where the plunger comes in. You can use it to hopefully clear up the problem without ever getting to a truly troublesome situation.

Keep in mind, the plunger needs:

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    Some water, because the plunger needs it to function, not just air.
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    A good seal, which sometimes means you have to patiently align things and make sure that there's water.
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    For you to be patient and methodical because a plunger can often be useless if you don't use it carefully. It won't make the problem worse but you will be wasting your time.

Using short and vigorous strokes is often the best way to apply a plunger. That way, it breaks up the clog, by both pulling on it and pushing on it.

It prevents the clog from solidifying and makes your life much easier, even if the problem isn't purely in the outlet. Using a plunger is recommended in general if you're dealing with these issues.

2. Use a plumber's snake or a substitute and a bucket of water

Ideally, if this sort of problem rears its ugly head, you have a plumber's snake on hand. It fits the needs of the job ideally since it's designed to deal with clogs in a precise way.

If you cannot find one, replacements like an old broom handle, all the way to a wire coat hanger that's been shaped will all do the job as well. Just keep in mind you need something to poke and prod with as well as, ideally, puncture the blockage.

However, be warned:

  • You should only use the bucket of water after you're sure you've done damage to the clog and the water will break it up. If you pour it too early it might make things worse.
  • Always make sure to use the snake or your substitute for it first, never the water right away. Pour the water from directly above the bowl and try to be precise but forceful with the pour.
  • Never use water that's too hot or too cold. It's murder on the porcelain itself.
  • Be slow and careful with breaking up the blockage. You might damage something if you're too forceful.

Now, let's see to fixing your problem.

First of all, keep in mind that the goal is to get rid of the paper that's causing the clog itself. Focus on poking holes through that and not letting it solidify.

A generally good idea is to stir and prod the clogged drain with whatever you have on hand until you feel something give. When you sense that you've made progress, you can do a test.

Pour some water through and see if it runs down. Often times you need to give it a couple of minutes since the water does not necessarily work instantly.

If you see that the blockage is not going away and the paper remains an issue, keep prodding and trying to punch a hole through. There's almost always an angle you can use, since toilet paper, regardless of its type, can be punctured eventually.

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Ideally, when you create a puncture, you pour in some water and then wait. If you see it's working, you get to work again.

There's no more effective way than to cycle between poking holes and then pouring water. This way, you allow both methods to work together.

The water being poured should always be plenty, but never a lot. Start with at most a quarter full bucket and never go beyond filling it up to roughly 2 thirds of it.

Since this isn't an exact science, you need to trust your own feel of it and your instincts. Generally speaking, you'll notice when the problem starts to disappear or is fixed.

Avoid flushing as you do this and especially if you see water coming back up again. It's always safer to be slow than to try and fix it all in 5 minutes.

Conclusion: Is Your Toilet Still Clogged with Toilet Paper?

I sincerely hope this has helped you out with your clogged toilet. It's an unfortunate problem and we've all been there.

Don't let yourself be put off by the possible mess and instead embrace the challenge of fixing your own problem. However, some problems are just too big and if you have to, call in professional plumbers to resolve it.