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August 27, 2010 10:31 PM   Subscribe

I clogged the toilet with a 6" piece of carrot. (Yes, that was dumb.) Anything I should try before calling the plumber?

The carrot got far enough in I can't see it any more, but I know it's still there because the toilet drains very slowly. I've tried a plunger to no effect.

Would Drano (either crystalline or liquid) help here or will it have to be broken up mechanically? How much will a visit from the plumber cost?
posted by d. z. wang to Home & Garden (20 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Drano will dissolve organic matter, which a carrot is.

But i seem to recall that you're not supposed to use it on toilets...
posted by dfriedman at 10:32 PM on August 27, 2010

A plumber? Reach up there. You know, like with your hand. Try to hook it with a wire coathanger. Stuff like that.
posted by rhizome at 10:45 PM on August 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

You could try a drain snake.

"You can buy these at most hardware stores. You feed the business end of the coil a little bit at a time into the tub drain, turning the crank to auger it through the mess. About 3 feet should do it. When you pull it out, you'll pull out a lot of hair, bits of paper, and some other disgusting stuff, but the drain will run clear after that." (source)
posted by clorox at 10:47 PM on August 27, 2010

I second a drain snake: you will probably pay less than a quarter of the cost than you would hiring a plumber (who will use the exact same tool to do the exact same job).
posted by astrochimp at 11:05 PM on August 27, 2010

I'm guessing it's a raw carrot? That's really solid and unyielding, so it's probably wedged in. Can you reach down into the drain hole and feel it? If so, get a makeshift tool (coat hanger, etc.) and pull it out, or poke at it enough to break it up. Otherwise, try a drain snake as mentioned above.

If that doesn't work, can you access the pipes from underneath, like from a basement or lower floor? If the line is otherwise clear (i.e. no clogged poopies waiting to drain) you might be able to open a section of pipe and dislodge it yourself. If you're not comfortable with that, or if you're not sure what you're doing, then yes you'll have to call a plumber.
posted by amyms at 11:08 PM on August 27, 2010

Put your hand into a big bag, like a garbage bag, and reach into the drain (ie, use the bag as a giant glove, since a regular glove will be too short-wristed to keep toilet water out).
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:09 PM on August 27, 2010

P.S. If you do end up calling a plumber, wait until Monday if at all possible (plumbers' rates on weekends are much higher than regular business hours).
posted by amyms at 11:11 PM on August 27, 2010

Look, just stick your hand in and feel about. If you can reach it, pull it out, or yes, a coathanger might help. I'm guessing you might be able to grab it.

I've pulled out blocks and other such items from toilets this way back in the day when I had toddlers but no money for plumbers. You can do it!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:16 PM on August 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

If you can't reach it: Shopvac the water out, unbolt the toilet, turn it over, and get to it from the underside.
posted by KathrynT at 11:25 PM on August 27, 2010 [5 favorites]

posted by KathrynT at 11:25 PM on August 27, 2010 [17 favorites]

Best answer: You generally don't use drain cleaner in a toilet because if you just dump it in the bowl it won't be able to get to where the clog is. Keep this cross-section in mind -- there's all that space past the siphon that is normally filled with air, and if the clog is there then the drain-o won't touch it until you flush, and at that point it will just rush past it on its way out the drain. In order to do its thing the drain cleaner has to have time to dissolve the clog which is why it's really meant for situations where it can rest up against it for a good 5 - 10 minutes or more as with a blocked drain.

If you do try using drain cleaner then be sure to tell the plumber because he's probably going to stick his hand down there before trying anything else and it would be nice if he didn't get skin burns.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:33 PM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

A closet auger is going to be about a 1/10 of the price of a plumber visit. They are pretty easy to use.

If that doesn't work you can try removing the toilet and working from underneath. You'll need to replace the wax seal( ~$2) but other wise it is a pretty straight forward job only involving two bolts and the water connection.
posted by Mitheral at 11:35 PM on August 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'm sure you can rent a small snake at Home Depot, too. (It might also be worth it to see if your city has a tool lending library. There are a few of these in the Bay Area, and it's really awesome to be able to rent, like, three screwdrivers, a finish nail gun, and a pavement saw for the weekend...)
posted by soviet sleepover at 5:25 AM on August 28, 2010

Oops: by "rent" I mean "check out of the library for free."
posted by soviet sleepover at 5:26 AM on August 28, 2010

Flush a rabbit and it will eat the carrot.

But seriously, I was thinking - if it's close enough that you can touch it but not grasp it, maybe you could try using a safety pin as a sort of fish hook. Tie a string to the safety pin and then reach in and spear the carrot.
posted by XMLicious at 5:27 AM on August 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

You have flushed the toilet, right? OK, there is clean water in there, just reach in and grab it ....

You only have a problem if you can't reach it. Is it a 'P' trap or an 'S' trap? Is there an inspection cover you can remove? Try the bent coat hanger, it will be quicker and cheaper than a 'snake', which will be a lot quicker and cheaper than a plumber!!

Good luck.
posted by GeeEmm at 6:25 AM on August 28, 2010

raw carrots are hard. cooked carrots are soft. scoop out all the cool water, add lots of boiling water. wait. add butter and parsley, then flush, plunge, etc.
posted by theora55 at 9:18 AM on August 28, 2010 [12 favorites]

add lots of boiling water

Don't pour boiling water into your toilet. You run the risk of then having to deal with a blocked, cracked toilet.
posted by YamwotIam at 1:02 PM on August 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Or you could just wait - the carrot will wilt in a day or two and can then be flushed away.
That's assuming you have another toilet you can use in the meantime....
posted by Arthur Dent at 10:19 AM on August 29, 2010

Response by poster: Final resolution: waited a couple of days and it flushed on its own. Thanks, everyone.
posted by d. z. wang at 8:30 PM on September 5, 2010

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