Clogging toilet help!
February 10, 2012 11:12 PM   Subscribe

Help me find a toilet plunger that works!

I recently replaced the toilet, I bought a Kohler Cimarron, it's a delightful convenience. Nice design, 1.6 gallon water saver, one piece so it's easy to clean, love the extra height.
Now, if could flush away the poo it'd be perfect.
It clogs all the time. Part if this is my fault, my droppings can be... sizable. But they're not inhuman, and my old toilet never had a problem.
So out comes the plunger. But since the bowl has an oval throat, the round end of the plunger doesn't seal, and there is considerable "spray back."
I have one like this, tried one like this, even tried this. No luck.
Has anyone seen a plunger with an oval shaped cup? It looks like getting a better seal is the key.
Or, is there maybe another reason it won't "move things along."
posted by Marky to Home & Garden (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Oh, shiza!

We had this problem at a apartment we lived at. The plumber replaced the toilet with a newer model that had bigger "innards" and some sort of special coating, too. Sorry I don't know the name.

Toilets are usually $50 to $100. If you can do the install yourself (pretty easy) just pull the trigger and get a different model. This one is not working for you.

It's not you, it's a faulty design. I've been through this. Get a better designed toilet. You should almost never have to plunge.

posted by jbenben at 11:42 PM on February 10, 2012

According to wikipedia, there are two common household plungers: toilet plungers and sink plungers. I've never been able to get "toilet" plungers to work (those with the inset cup). While the "sink" plungers have never let me down.

Rather than looking for an ovoid plunger, try a larger cup. Sizes seem to range from 4-6 inches. 6 inches should be enough for good seal. Something like this, only not that one as it's over priced.
posted by zinon at 12:22 AM on February 11, 2012

Quit screwing around and get a toilet auger.
posted by NortonDC at 12:24 AM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

I have the exact same problem you do, complete with the lovely low-flow raised height toilet--and my daughter does, in fact, make inhuman poops.

First, make sure you're plunging right--I've found that this style of toilet responds best when you put a cup-shaped plunger over the opening, and then move it up and down in very small movements--you're really not even lifting it up, just pushing the stick down and then pulling it back up to the starting point. You want to keep the plunger below the level of the water--if the toilet isn't actually backed up, you might have to actually add more water to plunge effectively.

Second, when I've been unable to plunge things, I've found that a three-to-five-gallon bucket full of warm water, poured into the toilet (and aimed, as best you can, over the hole) from about waist level almost always works. This is so effective that when the kid clogs the toilet (which happens about once a week, regardless of what style of toilet we've had) this is my first line of defense. I figure that one five-gallon flush once a week doesn't really erode the fact that the other six days a week, we're using a fraction of the water we otherwise would. For extreme pooping, you can try this plus plunging, or two buckets like this.

Third, buy a toilet auger. This is my dead-last resort, but it works.
posted by MeghanC at 12:32 AM on February 11, 2012

Clarification: the use of lovely in my comment wasn't sarcasm. This toilet is great, and I love it. My kid is just a poop machine.
posted by MeghanC at 12:32 AM on February 11, 2012

I've plugged my fair share of toilets. OK, probably more than my fair share. I've used many different types of plungers, but in the end, the most reliable and sure to get the job done is the most basic. This fella right here. I just read (in my image search) that that type of plunger is for sinks, but in my experience, it's the best kind for toilets. Also, no affiliation with the store the above link is from. It just had the right picture.
posted by Ducks or monkeys at 3:59 AM on February 11, 2012

It has mixed reviews, and its marketing is a bit informercial-y, but under the circumstances, the PlungeMax may be worth trying.
posted by maxim0512 at 4:32 AM on February 11, 2012

What NortonDC and MeghanC said. The toilet auger (also known as a closet snake) is a wonderful tool of last resort.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:03 AM on February 11, 2012

Be careful with the auger, because unskilled use can mark up the porcelain of the bowl.

Someone in our house started to have this problem after we replaced our old toilet with a cute Toto. We've discovered that a flush-while-proceeding approach prevents clogging in the first place. In other words, don't wait until you're all done to flush, but flush a few times as you go along.
posted by Squeak Attack at 5:57 AM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


seriously, this plunger is great!
posted by vespabelle at 5:58 AM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Umpteenthing the toiler auger recommendation. If you're having that much trouble, something is wrong.

If the auger doesn't solve the problem, I would suggest you pull the toilet and make sure you have the correct size of wax ring sealing the join (or that the wax ring hasn't, somehow, deformed into the cavity, blocking water/poo flow.)
posted by Thorzdad at 6:16 AM on February 11, 2012

Came here to post the plunger that vespabelle posted.

I hate water saver toilets.
posted by Sternmeyer at 6:50 AM on February 11, 2012

Toilet augur is probably the surest bet. One of our toilets has been replaced twice with new low flows (started with an older low flow), and performance with all has been poor. To make things worse, the most recent loilet has a design that doesn't really work well with plungers (no seal around the plunger/hole), so one just ends up with a shitty mess in the bowl. Toilet augur has to be pulled out for the job.

The easiest way to prevent the mess on our toilet is to let the tank empty when flushing a no.2. This is done by holding the handle down when flushing until the tank empties completely. What this does is solve the conveyance problem that causes the plug, though it does negate the low flow feature. However, when the toilet plugs, low flow feature is negated anyway, in addition to the nasty hassle of using the augur.
posted by 2N2222 at 8:27 AM on February 11, 2012

nthing vespabelle's recommendation. Until I got a Caroma Dual Flush, which seems like it never clogs, this plunger did the trick every time.
posted by Danf at 8:47 AM on February 11, 2012

The OP explicitly said they'd tried the plunger vespabelle posted and "no luck."
posted by Squeak Attack at 8:59 AM on February 11, 2012

The OP explicitly said they'd tried the plunger vespabelle posted and "no luck."

Not exactly. The OP tried the MP 1600 and vespabelle mentioned the MP 100-3.
posted by Danf at 9:06 AM on February 11, 2012

You mention sprayback. That makes me wonder if you're using the plunger wrong. If it's not sealing, then that's still a problem, but plungers aren't for pushing. That just compacts the clog. They're for sucking, so the clog breaks apart. Push down so the plunger is, er, plunged and sealed, then pull back forcefully. Don't push forcefully.
posted by cmoj at 9:10 AM on February 11, 2012

My parents used to keep a plastic spatula in a large ziploc baggie under the sink labeled "POOP KNIFE". Not a plunger -- more of a pre-emptive strike -- but it worked like a charm.
posted by aecorwin at 12:02 AM on February 12, 2012

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