How My 90-Year-Old Mother Fixed theToilet, or, What to Do When Your Toilet Stops Up
It was Thanksgiving weekend, and my elderly mom, who lives in her own apartment in the same apartment building with me, had a DISASTER on her hands! She had guests from out of town, and the TOILET stopped up! Water (disgustingly DIRTY water) was pouring out on the bathroom floor from the flooded toilet. "What to do? What to do?" she cried. We all hate it when the toilet plugs up.
We all tried to fix the plugged-up toilet. My brothers and I all had a go at attempted to plunge the toilet with a plunger. No go, no good. I got on the phone, attempting to raise a plumber. No dice. I must have left twenty or twenty-five messages; no live person answered my calls for help. It looked like we were on our own!
Meanwhile, back at the camp, my mother, my aunt, and myself , all helped to clean up the nasty mess on the bathroom floor. We couldn't leave like that. We warned everyone approaching not to use the toilet, and sent everyone who needed the facilities upstairs to my apartment, to use my toilet, instead. What a pesky crisis, when the place was full of guests!
We ignored the stopped-up toilet the best we could. We continued on, attempting to enjoy our festivities and family games. In the middle of one of our favorite games, Trivial Pursuit, my mother all the sudden sat up in her easy chair and said, "I know!" We all looked at her a little funny--it wasn't her turn to answer the question...
She darted into the kitchen, grabbed the bottle of bleach from under the sink, and poured a cup of bleach into the toilet. Voila! We couldn't believe it--about a couple of minutes went by, and Mom had a fully functioning toilet once again. The water that had filled the toilet to the brim and over went down. The toilet filled once again to a normal level.
I will ever remember holding my breath as we flushed, just to see what would happen. The water went down with a swirl; the tank filled once again, and there we had--a clean, fully usable toilet, once again. The polugged-up toilet was FIXED! Just like that. Awesome.
I've used that trick for a stopped up toilet more than once since then. A cup of bleach is so much less expensive and quicker than a plumber!
That's one thing I heartily admire about my mother's generation. These women know how to make do with whatever is available. I learn something new about that, quite frequently, from my mom. I don't mind passing along these tips to you, in hopes they may help you in your "hour of need"! A plugged-up toilet is no joke for anyone.
I found out later that the reason a toilet stops up to begin with is toilet paper. Everything else goes through the pipes, no problem, but toilet paper leads to a clogged pipe, quite frequently. The bleach actually dissolves the toilet paper enough to let it pass through the pipes. The reason to use one cup of bleach, only, is that bleach can be harmful to the pipes; it can corrode them, depending on what kind of pipes you have. So it is wise to use this method of clearing a stopped-up toilet judiciously. It is also wise NEVER to flush sanitary napkins or tampons down the toilet after use. This will also lead to a stopped-up toilet, and the bleach may not be powerful enough to fix it.
The "bleach trick" my mother taught me works on toilets, only. That's because it works to dissolve paper. With slow-draining or stopped-up sinks or tubs, the problem is usually HAIR!
What works the best for that is DRANO. I'm not just saying that because DRANO is sponsoring a contest or something. It's really true. I've tried them all--Drano, Liquid Plumber, the Walmart store brand...Drano has worked the best for me.
If you use one kind of drain cleaner, stick with it. Don't chop and change. The different kinds of over-the-counter drain cleaners have different active elements that WORK AGAINST EACH OTHER! Don't try one brand, and, if that doesn't work, try a different brand. Or, don't try a home remedy, and if that doesn't work, try a commercial product. Stick with whatever you started with and try it again.
What I've done, if Drano doesn't work the first time, I try it again, using a bit more of the product than the directions tell me to. That usually works. If not, once again...a third treatment will either remove the problem or it's time to give in and call the plumber!
Always, always...READ THE DIRECTIONS, FIRST!
Always, always...STORE DRAIN CLEANING PRODUCTS SAFELY AND AWAY FROM CHILDREN!
I know, duh, you don't need me to tell you that. I had to say it, anyway...kids are very adept at reaching into places you thought were out of reach. I once found two-year old twins I was babysitting standing ON TOP of the washing machine, pulling everything out of the cupboard above the washing machine and dumping it on the floor! How'd they do that? By dragging over a Hot Wheels, standing on top of the Hot Wheels to use it for a ladder to get on top of the washing machine! Kids!
Keep bleach handy, just in case your toilet stops up. It works!
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