Loo Woe


In The Party, Peter Sellers gives a brilliant demonstration of what not to do when a toilet doesn’t flush properly.

If you find yourself in the same situation, resist the urge to push that lever a second time. Your loo might be showing forewarning signs of a blockage in the making. Over generous use of toilet paper, like Peter Sellers’, might be the cause of this sluggishness. Now is the time to do something before the situation deteriorates.

Don’t panic. Take a deep breath and turn off the water supply tap to the tank. Pour 2 cups baking soda and 2 cups vinegar into the toilet bowl. If, by the greatest of misfortunes, you don't have baking soda and vinegar on hand, replace them with a cup of dish soap or shampoo. The soap helps to loosen the clog. The baking soda-vinegar mixture does fizz a great deal. When it stops bubbling, without trembling, pour a bucket of extremely hot water into the bowl. If you are lucky, the force of the water falling might do the trick. If not, cross your fingers and your toes and let the tremendous trio work its magic overnight.

The following morning, at the crack of dawn or later, if no solid foreign bodies caused the clog, the water should have drained and your toilets are saved. To celebrate, you can have a little song and dance.

If the water level is lower than before, add more baking soda and vinegar (or soap) and more hot water and wait for an hour or so. If the water has partially drained, repeat until the toilet makes a suction sound and then drains naturally. Flush to clean out the bowl and to make sure the toilet is operating as it should.

This homemade drain cleaner successfully clears clogs caused by organic material. If the water won’t flush, a hard obstruction may be causing the clog and a more muscular approach is necessary. Scoop the water out into the bucket and try using a drain snake or a hand rubber-gloved up to the elbow.

Safety warning: Do not pour any vinegar or baking soda into your drain either before or after using drain-cleaning chemicals. Vinegar mixed with these, produces dangerous fumes.

To face plumbing problems without panicking:Vinaigres à tout faire