Updated: Feb 21, 2019

It's one of everyone's worst nightmares, it recently happened to us, but you can avoid clogging a toilet by never flushing the following items:

- Tissues

- Paper towels

- Feminine products (it says it's ok to flush some products; it is advisable not to)

-And I'm adding those flushable wipes to the list from personal experience. After hours of trying to find a plumber to come that day and a few hundred dollars spent having someone fix our toilet, I don't care how many times you hear that these are flushable, don't do it. They will eventually cause you a problem.

If you do encounter a problem and the water looks like it's heading for the rim, shut off the water valve behind the toilet by turning the knob to the right. ("Righty, tighty. Lefty, loosey" is the plumber's mantra.) If for some reason you cannot shut off the water valve, don't keep flushing the toilet because chances are that it will overflow and you'll be worse off than you were before.

Get the plunger, take your time, and use it correctly.

- Make sure you get a good connection between the plunger and the toilet.

- Once the connection's established, begin plunging up and down with a good amount of force. Take care not to lift the plunger away from the bottom of the toilet bowl or you'll break the connection.

- Be quick and repetitive with the plunging motion. This will establish a suction force that will push through whatever is blocking the drain pipe.

- Keep an eye out for movement in the toilet which means the blockage is being pushed through.

- Once you're sure the water is draining, turn the water valve on, allow the tank to fill, then flush the toilet.

- Swish the plunger in the fresh water for a quick cleaning before leaving.

- Flush again.

If this hasn't happened to you then you are lucky, however, chances are it will happen sometime (and worse yet, it might be when you are at someone else's home) - so be prepared.

Source: Excerpts from: Today Show by Karen B. Gibbs and Chrissy Callahan

Laura Flynn, Real Estate Broker

Coldwell Banker

Downers Grove, IL

5114 Main Street

Real estate agents affiliated with Coldwell Banker are independent contractor sales associates and are not employees of the company.

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