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The Quickest Fix For A Toilet That Won’t Flush

A person flushing a toilet.

A functioning toilet is essential to any household and can be a major inconvenience when it doesn’t work properly. Whether it’s a weak flush, a clog, or no flush at all, it’s important to fix the issue as soon as possible. Follow our quick fix guide on how to fix a toilet that won’t flush.

We will examine the most common reasons a toilet won’t flush and the quickest fix for each issue. Following our simple and easy DIY solutions can save you time and money and help restore harmony to your home by restoring your toilet’s functionality fast!

Quick Fixes For a Toilet That Won’t Flush

Not only is a non-functioning toilet frustrating, but it can also lead to more significant problems down the line.

For example, a toilet that won’t flush properly can cause sewage backup, leading to unpleasant odors and potentially harmful bacteria in your home.

Three main types of problems can arise with your toilet that can cause flushing problems:

  • Flush mechanism issues
  • Water issues
  • Clogging problems

The first step to a quick fix for a toilet that won’t flush is establishing the main cause of the problem. Once you have identified the main issue, implement the quick fix below to get your toilet functional again and keep your family happy and healthy!

1. Toilet Flush Mechanism Quick Fixes

Water Saving Toilet

So if you have just used the toilet and you want to initiate a flush, and the flush mechanism fails to operate, there are some quick fixes you can try before uncontrollable panic sets in.

The quick fix that will work best when your toilet isn’t flushing properly depends on the flush mechanism on your toilet. Tank toilets generally have either a toilet handle flush or a button flush, and our quick fixes are intended for these toilets.

For tankless toilets, your best option is to call out a licensed plumber rather than dismantle the parts and have a more expensive mess for your plumber to sort out.

Wiggle the Flush Lever or Buttons

The toilet handle or button mechanism can beco me stuck due to mineral deposits from the water or corrosion on the mechanism. A quick jiggle may loosen the mechanism, and you will be able to flush the toilet.

Lift the Flush Valve Manually


Internal plumbing of the inside of a tank of a modern toilet - Flapper valve labeled

If you need a quick flush to clean the bowl before you investigate the problem further, manually lift the flush valve or flapper valve inside the tank. This will release the water from the tank into the bowl and flush away the contents.

While you lift the flapper valve, you can see what is wrong with the lever or button mechanism to allow you to fix the issue.

2. Quick Fixes For Toilet Water Issues

We all know that a toilet needs water to flush, but what do you do when you need to flush the toilet and there is no water in the tank?

You’re probably familiar with that dry thunk that can happen when the toilet flapper valve, or flush valve, opens as you try to flush the toilet, but there is no water in the tank

We have some easy fixes for you to get the toilet flushed! And then you can find out what happened to the water.

There could be several reasons for no water in the toilet tank causing a flush failure, but following a few quick checks and procedures can help you to get the water going again, or at least clear the toilet bowl with a manual flush.

Check the Water Shutoff Valve

Open white toilet with water shutoff valve labeled.

If work has been done on the toilet recently, the water shutoff valve may still be in the closed position. Check the water inlet pipe behind the toilet to locate the valve and turn it on. You should hear the water flow into the toilet tank if this is the problem.

Check the Ball or Inlet Valve

The ball valve or inlet valve can sometimes get stuck in the closed position preventing water from filling the tank after the previous flush. Open the tank lid to reveal the fill valve and the flush toilet mechanism. 

If the ball valve is stuck in the up or closed position, push it down with your hand. This should release the valve and allow water to enter the tank once more.

Your Water Supply is Out

If your water supply is out, you can manually flush the toilet by collecting water from your swimming pool or a fish pond using a bucket. 

Pour the water into the tank and flush the toilet normally, or pour the water directly into the toilet bowl, performing the same function.

If you do not have an alternative water supply to use, you will have no choice but to wait for the problem in the water supply to get fixed and the supply restored.

3. Clogged Toilet Quick Fixes

One toilet flushing problem that scares me the most is when the toilet won’t flush due to clogging in the pipes.

Flushing the toilet with a blockage in the pipes will cause the water and all the contents of the toilet bowl to overflow over the sides of the toilet and onto the bathroom floor. The thought of this outcome is enough to make me invest in a hazmat suit to tackle the problem!

Fortunately, before you max out your credit card on a bio-hazard outfit, there are a few cheaper quick-fix solutions to repair a toilet that won’t flush because of clogged pipes.  

Use a Plunger to Fix a Toilet that Won’t Flush

cropped view of plumber using plunger in toilet bowl during flushing in modern restroom with grey tile

Using a plunger on a fully loaded toilet can be an unpleasant task, but doing it yourself will save you money compared to calling a plumber.

Selecting the right toilet plunger is key to minimizing the effort and potential splashing around in the toilet bowl. 

3 Types of Toilet Plungers

The beehive plunger pictured above right is Korky 96-4AM BeehiveMAX Toilet Plunger. See it here on Amazon.

There are three main types of toilet plungers:

  • a standard circular plunger
  • a flanged plunger
  • a beehive plunger

My preferred weapon of choice for this plunging job is the flanged plunger, which minimizes the effort and the potential splashing in the toilet bowl.

If the opening for the waste drain from the bowl is not round but rectangular, a beehive plunger is the better type of plunger to use to get a proper seal on the sides of the outlet.

How to Plunge Without Spraying Yourself!

The last thing you want to do at this point is cover yourself in toilet water spray, so follow this technique to avoid adding insult to injury:

  • Place the head of the plunger in the bowl, ensuring a tight seal over the exit aperture.
  • Plunge gently at first. This will expel any air trapped between the plunger and the bowl and prevent any water from being ejected in your direction.
  • Plunge more vigorously once you feel all the air has been removed. Vary your angle of plunging and adjust the rhythm or frequency of your plunging to dislodge the blockage.

Once the blockage has passed, you will notice a water level drop in the toilet bowl. Try an experimental half flush of the toilet to test whether the water drains properly from the bowl.

If the water flows well out of the bowl, you can get your “I survived a clogged toilet” t-shirt, and you will have saved some cash.

Unfortunately, if the plunging does not work, your options are to have a more in-depth look at the waste pipes outside your house, which can be messy and requires special tools, or call a plumber to handle the job.

How to Fix Your Toilet

By checking these common toilet flushing issues, you can identify the problem and how to fix your toilet that won’t flush. Try out our quick fixes and see if they work for you. If you still have issues, it may be time to call a licensed plumber.

Tags: Clogged Toilet fixes, fix toilet, Fixes For Toilet Water Issues, how to fix a toilet, Toilet Flush Mechanism Quick Fixes, Types of Toilet Plungers

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