Toilet Overflowing


Here are some quick steps to return things to normal.

First, don’t flush it again!

Sometimes we think if we flush it again, the water will help push whatever is clogging it on through the pipes but it doesn’t work that way. DON’T FLUSH IT AGAIN!

Turn off the water.

Right below the tank for the toilet is where you usually find the water valve for the toilet. It is near where the water pipe comes through the wall and has a small, silver, football-shaped handle on it. If your toilet looks like it may overflow, close the shutoff valve and it will stop the water flow.

Why is my toilet clogged?

Once the water is off, and panic has been replaced with the need to figure out what to do next, talk with your family. Was a little one playing in the bathroom and dropped a stuffed animal into the toilet bowl and didn’t tell you? Was your teenager using hair spray and dropped the cap but didn’t want to fess up and ask for help? Have you accounted for all of the toothbrushes and the toilet paper roller?
You might be able to wrap your hand (or the smallest hand willing and available) inside a plastic trash bag and try to retrieve the item. However, you need to be careful because we would hate for this to happen to you!

“Loleta, CA…. A 41 year-old man was taken to the fire department after his right hand became stuck inside a toilet bowl. Fire personnel unbolted the toilet and took both man and toilet to a nearby fire station where he was eventually freed with the liberal application of WD-40 spray lubricant. Neither the man nor the water closet suffered injury. It was not revealed why the man had reached into the commode to begin with.”

Second, grab your plunger!

How hard can it be right? If a plumber can do it and my mom can do it, surely anyone can do it!

The best plunger type for the job and a small plunging secret about that will help you get things back to normal quickly.


You must use a plunger with the extended cup that sticks out below the bell. It will be folded up into the bell if you look for it in a store. Here are pictures of professional plungers and standard plungers. You will see images of ones with the extended cup and some of the old fashioned plungers that don’t work nearly as well or efficiently. A good plunger costs below $20 and IS worth the price!


You don’t just push the obstruction down through the toilet. It’s even more important to fill the plunger with water or whatever else is in the toilet, center it on the hole, and then use short up and down pumps to get the plunger to lock onto the toilet. Once it’s locked, you’ll feel the pressure as you pull up. Then without breaking contact with the hole, push down and pull up rapidly a few times. Then you can pull the plunger away from the opening. This will break up the clog, not just push it through.


That beautiful sucking sound that signals all is working well again! You might need to repeat the previous steps a few times. Then flush it to confirm that it has returned to normal operating mode.

What not to do.

Don’t call 911! According to Hot Topics at, a caller in Broward Co., Florida did just that and said to the 911 operator, “My toilet’s overflowing, what do I do?”

Contact us, a licensed, bonded, and insured Tampa plumber if you would like us to professionally unclog your toilet or to install the repair parts for your toilet. Our plumbers are available for all of your bathroom plumbing problems.