Let’s face it. If you have little ones in your home, you have little toys in your home, and inevitably one of those toys will find its way into your toilet.
Children find bathrooms fascinating, especially that marvelous chair with the handle and the swooshing water. The holidays presented an additional threat to your throne: all those colorfully wrapped presents under the tree probably contained new toys, puzzle pieces and small electronic devices that your kids will not want to put down when it’s time to use the restroom.
Children love playing with their new toys and gadgets anywhere and everywhere they go, but when My Little Pony or a LEGO hero decides to go for a splash in the toilet, you’ll have more to worry about than just germs.
Toys: Your Sewer Line’s Biggest Nightmare
When your sewer lines become coated with oily deposits, they will trap any solid object that tries to make its way down the drain, creating clogs. The larger the toy that gets stuck, the faster your sewer line ends up clogging. Toys generally have plenty of surface area to stick to the oily deposits, and once stuck, they will snag anything else that is supposed to go down the drain. Before you know it, your toilet pipe is clogged and your floor or basement is covered in sewage. By the time that happens, the inexpensive Christmas gift has become an expensive plumbing problem to fix.
DIY Toy Removal Tips
There are a few things a parent can try when dealing with a clogged toilet before calling in the plumbing professionals. With a little effort, even a home repair newbie can get a simple clogged toilet back up and running without flooding the floor or making the problem worse. Here's what you do:
- Determine what has been flushed. Knowing what type of toy and how big it is will help you determine whether to attempt to unclog it yourself or call for help.
- Only flush once. If your toilet doesn’t flush the first time, don’t flush it again. This will typically cause the toilet bowl to overflow, making the situation worse.
- Protect the floor. Minimize any water damage by placing old towels or newspapers around the toilet base to soak up splashes and spills.
- Put on rubber gloves and try to locate the toy. If the object is at the base of the bowl, simply pull it out. If you can feel the object, try pulling it out using a bent wire coat hanger. If you can’t locate it, it is likely jammed further up the pipe.
- Don’t use a plunger. While a plunger can help dislodge most simple clogs, using a plunger in this situation could push a toy further into your plumbing system.
When to Call a Professional Plumber
For the most part, unless you can locate and remove the toy yourself, you will need professional help dealing with your clog. Since it is one of the most common toilet mishaps, plumbers have a lot of experience getting toys out of pipes. Don’t worry, they won’t judge. If one of your tyke’s toys is stuck in your sewer line, snaking the line or using hydro-jetting are the most common solutions.
A drain snake consists of a long coiled wire fitted with a corkscrew-like tip. When fed into your pipe and turned, the tip can dislodge whatever is obstructing the pipe. While a snake may push the toy down the line, allowing the toilet to be used now, it will probably cause blockages in the future.
Hydro-jetting utilizes high-pressure water to scour the pipe’s interior, pushing everything down the pipe. Not only will it typically clear the toy on the first try, it is an environmentally friendly way to remove the oily deposits from inside the pipe, preventing future clogs. Depending on the size of the toy and the clog, it may take longer for the jetter to break through.
The best way to keep toys from causing problems in your sewer line is prevention. However, if one of your child’s holiday prizes ends up in your toilet, call the plumbers at John Baethke & Son Plumbing today. Our talented team includes professional plumbers and technicians you can rely on 24/7.