My Kid Flushed a Toy Down the Toilet! Now, What?

One potty-training website advises if your child tries to flush a toy down the toilet, her interest indicates she’s ready for toilet training. Even when children have their own, child-size toilet, that doesn’t mean little Henry won’t decide to send Thomas the Train to a watery grave in your toilet.

Steps to Retrieve a Toy Down the Toilet

There are several DIY (do-it-yourself) fixes for homeowners who know little about plumbing, and we share those tips whenever possible. If your namesake flushes a toy down the toilet, it’s a sign your child is growing intellectually and exploring the world. That’s what you should remind yourself as you struggle to retrieve the stuck plaything. Try this:

  1. If you risk an overflow (or if you’ve already had one), lift the tank lid and close the flapper (the thing on the chain). The water in the toilet tank is clean; you don’t need gloves.
  2. Put paper towels/newspapers on the floor surrounding the toilet.
  3. Wear rubber gloves; reach in the toilet’s bowl, down into the drain to see if you can loosen the toy.
  4. If not, try a plunger. The cheaper suction-cup plunger won’t work for this job. Use the kind of plunger that has a flange on the bottom; it seals better.
    1. First, run the plunger under hot water. This softens the rubber and makes an even better seal.
    2. Insert the plunger, making sure there’s a tight seal all around it, then push down slowly and pull up abruptly. It may take 20 good plunges to dislodge the toy and send it on its way. If that doesn’t work…

Calling in the Professionals

The next toilet repair steps involve a level of commitment, plumbing knowledge, bravery, and tools.

  1. Get the water out of the tank; use dipping/scooping and towels to absorb the remainder.
  2. Buy or borrow a “water closet auger” or a “snake.” This is not a regular toilet snake; the design is different. There’s a steel cable inside the tube and a crank-handle. This snake has an open, coiled head that is used to “hook” the toy down the toilet, and pull it out. Others are designed to push and grind through the clog, which might loosen it enough to float free and away.
  3. While you’re cranking, when you feel some resistance, crank it a few more times and pull the cable out while keeping pressure on the crank. Hopefully, you snagged the toy and brought it up. And, hopefully, it can be washed.
  4. Make sure everything works. Do a test flush and then do a couple more test flushes with wads of toilet paper to ensure it goes down and stays down.

Another online DIY site goes beyond the basics into removing the entire toilet. This involves turning the water off at the base (shut-off valve near the toilet), more tools, more time, and more plumbing knowledge than most people have today.

You Have a Problem, Not an Emergency

Unless you have a houseful of people and one bathroom, a toy down the toilet is not an emergency. But your plumbing professional should be available, 24/7 if you ever have an emergency. Because we’re family-owned and operated, we want to give our Phoenix friends and neighbors the best possible service at the best possible prices.

When your child flushes a toy down the toilet, don’t get mad: Get Forrest Anderson Plumbing & Air Conditioning. Call us anytime, day or night. If you have a new build or renovation project for your home or commercial property this year, contact us for more information. We’ll always strive to deliver on-time and within budget.

Is it bad to flush facial tissue down the toilet?

When you have facial tissue you need to get rid of, is flushing it safe? You might not think it’s a big deal. However, you should never flush facial tissue down the toilet. Learn more about why this is a bad idea and what else you shouldn’t flush.

Why You Should Never Flush Facial Tissue and Paper Towels

Facial tissue, paper towels, and toilet paper are all paper products, so why can’t they all be flushed? While they’re all made of paper, they’re not quite the same. Toilet paper is specially designed to break up quickly and easily when flushed down the toilet. This helps prevent it from clogging up your toilet and pipes, which lowers the risk of plumbing disasters. It also won’t cause any problems with your local sewer system when it’s flushed.

Facial tissue and paper towels have a different design than toilet paper. When you flush facial tissue or paper towels, water in your toilet doesn’t cause them to disintegrate right away. These paper products aren’t made to break up the way toilet paper is, so they can end up clogging pipes or the sewer system. If this happens, it can lead to a serious blockage that causes sewage to back up into your home. Keep in mind that facial tissue and paper towels are made to remain intact longer, so they can absorb more moisture.

What to Do If You Flush Facial Tissue or Paper Towels

If you do it once, it shouldn’t cause any problems. However, if you have a habit of flushing these items down the toilet, you should watch for signs of trouble. If your toilet stops flushing properly, you might have a clog from paper towels or facial tissue. These items can become stuck in the toilet trap or the pipe leading from the toilet. This type of blockage stops water from being able to drain when you flush.

If your toilet isn’t flushing right, you can use a plunger to remove the clog. If the blockage is too far down or if it’s too big, you’ll need to have a plumber come over to handle it. At Forrest Anderson, we can remove these clogs using a plumbing snake that reaches far down into the pipe. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t use that toilet until it’s fixed.

Other Items You Shouldn’t Flush

Facial tissue and paper towels aren’t the only items to avoid flushing. Certain items can also cause plumbing problems, while others can harm local water supplies. The following items can cause blockages in your pipes or the sewer system:

  • Grease, oil, and fat
  • Disposable diapers and baby wipes
  • Cleaning wipes
  • Sanitary napkins and tampons
  • Dental floss
  • Cat litter
  • Cotton balls and Q-tips
  • Rags
  • Towels
  • Any bulky items, even if they’re labeled flushable or disposable

The following items can cause problems for local water supplies. Flushing these items can contaminate water supplies and harm local fish and wildlife:

  • Medications
  • Insecticides and pesticides
  • Cleaning products and other household products containing chemicals

In general, the only items you should be flushing are toilet paper and waste. Sticking to this rule helps prevent clogs and keeps your local water supply safe.

If you have a clogged toilet or if it’s not flushing right, contact Forrest Anderson for help. We provide dependable plumbing services for homeowners in the Phoenix area.

Flooded bathroom, what you need to know!

We’ve all been there: a flooded bathroom. When a toilet clogs and overflows, it’s one sure-fire way to ruin your day. Most of us tend to panic not only about the flooding, but also about how to properly clean the floor. A major reason for concern is, of course, bacteria from human waste. You don’t want your family using an unsanitary bathroom. Bacteria can get onto clothes, shoes, and hands, eventually finding its way into our bodies and causing serious illness.

Yes, a flooded bathroom can be serious. But by having a strategy well in place before disaster strikes, you can manage the damage better. And have your bathroom sparkling clean much sooner.

Shutting Off the Water

Whenever your toilet floods, shut off the water valve to the tank so that the toilet cannot fill up. If the valve is stuck, rig the float in the tank to remain in position so the water doesn’t fill the tank. If the valve is frozen, shut the water off at the main valve in front of your house. Also turn off the breaker to the electricity in the bathroom, particularly if there is a considerable amount of water on the floor. Then call us so we can get your toilet working properly again.

Assessing the Damage of a Flooded Bathroom

After the flooding is under control, assess the damage and decide if it’s within your ability to clean it up. If not, you might need to call for professional help. If you decide to tackle it yourself, follow these steps.

  1. Is there fecal matter in the flooded water? If not, use old towels to soak up the water on the floor. Wearing latex gloves, wring the water into the sink or bathtub. Use a shop vac for larger spills. A shop vac can also help absorb water from carpets. Once you’ve cleaned up the water, mop the floor with soapy water and bleach.
  2. Wash the towels with laundry detergent in hot water. Again, add some bleach if you have any concerns about contamination with human waste. Also thoroughly clean the bathtub or sink where you wrung out the toilet water.
  3. Once you’ve cleaned your floors, open windows and doors, and turn on a fan. This will ventilate and circulate some of our dry Phoenix air until the bathroom floor is thoroughly dry. Water can soak into flooring, drywall, and baseboards, and cause mold. If you smell the slightest whiff of sewer odor or even a musty odor that might be mold, seek help from a water cleanup specialist.
  4. It may be safe for you to clean your floor after the toilet floods but bear in mind that the toilet bowl rim could have been contaminated with feces, even if you didn’t detect fecal matter in the flood water. The best and safest solution is to always call for professional help with so-called “black water ” — that is, any water contaminated with human waste or chemicals.
  5. If your flooded bathroom has definitely been contaminated with human waste, call a professional. Cleanup of black water damage is beyond most homeowners’ ability. A professional who specializes in these kinds of cleanups will have the training and equipment necessary to deal with this type of emergency.

If you would like to discuss your flooded bathroom with us, we’d be more than happy to let you know how we can help.

How to add a bathroom sink

Adding a bathroom sink is not as simple as you might think. There are several things to think about and questions to answer before you can decide what you should do about this important part of a bathroom. If you are replacing an existing sink, the considerations are different from adding one in where there was not one originally. Pipe layout and drains are important parts of adding or modifying a sink layout in your bathroom. You should think the size and scope of your remodel project carefully. When you are ready to add a bathroom sink, consider calling Forrest Anderson for help turning your bathroom remodeling dream into reality.

Turning a Single Sink Vanity Into a Double Sink

For many couples, living with only one sink in the bathroom is a hardship. Especially if both people need to get ready in the morning at the same time. It will be best for you to find two matching sinks, especially if you live in an older home. It may be hard to match the sink you already have. You could “do-it-yourself” with this project. However, the following issues could end causing you headaches and a lot of money.

  • Changing the vanity
  • Managing the plumbing so that it stays within code
  • Other potential pitfalls along the way

It really is best to have the help of a professional with this kind of plumbing change in your bathroom.

Adding in a New Sink

There are many decisions you have to make when it is time to add a new bathroom sink. One of those decisions involves the type of sink you will put in. Pedestal sinks are an attractive feature, but you lose out on the storage that a sink in a cabinet provides.

Unusual sinks are very intersting and increasingly popular. Some have angles in the bowl, some are made of materials like rock, glass, or metal. A popular design feature is to take a piece of furniture (new or antique,) place it in the bathroom, and install a sink in the top. The drawers or under part of the piece of furniture will have to be modified to accommodate the plumbing.

Budgeting When You Want to Add a Bathroom Sink

If you are not familiar with the cost of doing a plumbing bathroom remodel or you do not know how much it would cost to add a bathroom sink, go shopping at your local home improvement store. There, you can get ideas about which styles you like and make some decisions about cabinets, faucets, and sinks. Unless you know someone who can provide you an estimate on plumbing materials, you do not need to visit the plumbing section of the home improvement store.

Once you have made some decisions, or you have a better idea of what kind of style you want, take the next step – contacting a licensed plumbing company.

At Forrest Anderson, we have the 50+ years of experience and satisfied customers to make sure we get your job done right. We will visit your home, look at the area where you want to add a bathroom sink and give you an estimate of the cost of your project.

If you are preparing to add a bathroom sink or make changes to an existing bathroom, then please contact us today. We have the knowledge and skills to help you stay within your budget for such an important addition to your home.