Toilet Flushes Poorly: Tips to Improve Flow

There are many reasons your toilet might flush poorly. Luckily, there are some fairly simple methods that will allow you to diagnose your toilet’s problem and hopefully repair it yourself.

Your first method for restoring proper toilet flow is plunging.  Place your plunger firmly in the toilet and make sure you feel a seal.  Then plunge vigorously 20-30 times.  Try flushing the toilet; if the toilet is still flushing poorly (or not at all) then try mixing together half a cup of vinegar and half a cup of baking soda, pour it down the drain, and wait for 3-4 hours.  Then flush the toilet a couple of times.  If this method doesn’t work and you still believe the problem is a blockage, then you can purchase more powerful chemical cleaners at the hardware store, although they are often very harmful to the environment.   Also, make sure to use gloves and protective clothing when handling these chemical cleaners.

Once these methods fail to improve your toilet’s flow, you can probably rule out a blocked pipe as the source of the problem.  The problem could be the amount of water filling up in the toilet’s tank.  Flush the toilet and check the water level is when the tank is filled up.  It should be within a quarter of an inch of the toilet tank fill line, which is marked inside the tank.  Sometimes the fill tube directs too much water into the toilet bowl itself in which case you should buy a new fill tube.  For a short term solution (until you get a plumber or a new fill tube) you can manually pour water into the tank in order to get a more powerful flush.

A poorly flushing toilet is a horrible inconvenience, so take percationary measures to avoid major problems.  Don’t flush anything except toilet paper down the toilet.  Thicker paper like paper towels can easily cause blockages.  Also, make sure to hold the lever down all the way for at least three seconds to ensure a full flush—this will help prevent blockages in the pipes.