Recently I was battling a clogged toilet. In our house, somehow the role of toilet plunger belongs to me, not because I am the handiest at fixing stuff around the house but because I have a stronger stomach than my husband does when it comes to such things as cleaning up bodily excretions. This was a good trait to have during the dark years of diapers and vomiting babies. So now clearing clogged toilets is my unpleasant task when it needs to be done.
Some clogs, like this last one, are particularly stubborn and plunging it wasn’t effective. So I brought in the big guns: automatic dishwasher detergent.
That’s right: the powder stuff you use in your automatic dishwasher to clean your dishes. Only, the big names like Cascade won’t work because the secret lies in the enzymes.
Enzymes break down organic matter like the leftover food on the plates or the stuff clogging up the toilet. The “green” brands of dishwasher detergent know this and use enzymes to clean your plates instead of harsh chemicals that go on to contaminate our water supply. In fact, a few years ago Consumer Reports rated the green enzyme-formulated automatic dishwasher detergents as more effective than the national chemical brands.
In my kitchen I happened to be using 7th Generation Automatic Dishwasher Powder, so I brought it to the bathroom, sprinkled some liberally into the standing water in the clogged toilet, and walked away to let the enzymes do their stuff. Usually, a few hours later I’ll be able to easily dislodge the clog with the plunger; this time, it took a little longer.
For 3 days I would attempt to plunge, fail, and sprinkle more enzymes into the bowl. We closed off that bathroom and used another during this time. I was beginning to give up hope. I began psyching myself up for using the toilet augur, a $12 tool that can save you a $90 plumber bill. Using the augur can be messy and not super fun though almost 100% effective. It ranks below plunging on my list of unpleasant jobs and I try to avoid it as long as possible.
Then, on the afternoon of the 3rd day, I tried using the plunger one last time before facing the augur, and voila! The drain cleared with a single plunge and the toilet flushed beautifully again! As a bonus, the bowl was clean, too, thanks to the enzymatic action of the dishwasher detergent.
More effective on your dishes AND will clear clogged drains… all without harming the environment or introducing noxious fumes into your home. A win-win all the way around.
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