Cleaning and Maintenance

7 Solutions if Your Toilet is Gurgling/Bubbling

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With the world increasingly moving at a faster rate, you should go about your day with no distractions. Seeing that toilets are part of our morning routine; they can disrupt anyone’s daily routine if they start acting strange when flushed. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence in many homes.

The main cause for gurgling/bubbling toilet is blockage. Blocked toilet pipes cause suction or negative air pressure in the pipes. The air is then forced back through the plumbing and causes a bubbly sound as it escapes the toilet. In this home improvement segment, we examine the likely causes of bubbling and how to fix them:

The 4 Main Causes of Gurgling/Bubbling Toilets

Let’s look at the four main areas that blockage is likely to happen below:

1. Blocked Toilet Bowl

A blocked toilet bowl is the easiest symptom to detect and fix. You will likely see shredded toilet paper among other things floating around in the water.

2. Blocked Toilet Drain

A blocked toilet drain is the second most likely cause of bubbling when flushing your toilet. The main causes of blocked toilet drains include flushing things such as latex condoms, cotton swabs and female sanitary products. Buildup of feces over time in the toilet drain can also cause blockage. This is because some residue always remains in the drain pipes after you flush.


3. Blockage on the Main Sewer Drain

The main sewer drain carries waste water from your kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room, and other areas of your property to the city sewer system. Unfortunately, blockage on the main sewer line is affected by many external factors.


Tree roots are an important cause of main sewer line blockage. They are attracted to the rich nutrients in waste water. Over time, the roots burst through these pipes causing restricted flow and blockage. Underground temperature change and pressure change is another major cause of sewer line blockage. The sewer drain then sags or ‘grows a belly’ overtime when subjected to this fluctuation. Sediment settles in the drain’s ‘belly’ restricting adequate waste flow.

4. Clogged Vent Stacks

The vent stack serves two main purposes. It directs stinky odor from your sewer lines to the outside away from your home. Secondly, the vent stack is responsible for regulating air pressure in your sewer lines to ensure waste is flowing freely. When insects, birds, and leaves find their way in the vent, they clog the pipe causing negative air pressure.


3 Quick Practical Steps to Solve the Gurgling/Bubbling Problem

The first step is diagnosing the root cause of the gurgle and address it accordingly. However, if you haven’t identified the problem, try these easy steps before calling a professional:

Step 1: Plunge your Toilet

Most gurgling problems are caused by blocked toilets and toilet drains. In most cases, a plunger will solve the problem. Plunging your toilet helps clear mild blockage.

Pro Tips:

  • Seal nearby sink, bathroom drains to keep air within the pipes as it helps in the de-clogging process
  • Ensure the toilet bowl has enough water
  • Angle the plunger towards the toilet hole
  • Pump the plunger as you flush the toilet

Step 2: Snake the Drain (Toilet Auger)

If you’ve followed our tips for plunging and the problem persists, it is likely that the toilet drains are badly clogged. The next step is using a toilet auger. This useful plumbing tool is also known as a drain snake for its ability to weave through toilet lines.

Standard toilet snakes are super tough and can stretch up to 15-feet inside the drain. This allows them to reach further into the drain and breakdown lumps of waste stuck in the sewer lines. Plumbers use motorized augers in tall buildings and commercial spaces for their power and ability to stretch over 100-feet. But as fun as they seem, it’s best to leave them to professionals because you need to first uninstall your toilet before you use them.


Pro Tip: Anyone can use a toilet snake; just ensure you keep flushing to carry away all the blockage.

Step 3: Consult With Your Neighbors

If the snake method failed, consult with your neighbors. If they have the same gurgling problem, it is likely that the main sewer line is clogged or deformed. If this is the case, there’s not much to do but to call the city sewer authority for inspection and repair. Call a plumber if everything fails.

Final Word

To avoid further gurgling and bubbling, maintain your toilet by only flushing down fecal waste and toilet paper. Use proper channels to discard solid waste. According to British Sewage Specialist Bill from the Dagenham Council Sewer Clearance Team, 90% of the time baby wipes are the cause of clogged toilets/sewers even if the packaging tells you they are flushable. So keep an eye on your household members throwing wet wipes in the toilet. Install a mesh filter on your vent stacks to prevent leaves and other unwanted debris from entering your sewer lines.

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