Toilet Overflowed | What Causes & How to Clean Up

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Toilet overflow is such a problem which is probably most of us already have faced. According to my views, cleaning an overflowed toilet is the nastiest and ugliest work among the household chores. Indeed, you will understand the importance of proper cleaning whenever you have to deal with your overflowed toilet.

When you see the ugliest look of your overflowed toilet, you will undoubtedly say, Alas! What should I do now? You need to take some proper action regarding toilet cleaning to avoid such an incident. Let not happen water damages or do not allow anything falls into the toilet to create a blockage and so on.

However, do not panic if you find your toilet overflowed water and shits and make dirty the floor. Take a long breath and assure yourself that you can clean it and give it a neat look like before. This content will guide you to clean and fix an overflowed toilet following some simple methods.


What causes a toilet to overflow

An overflowing toilet is the messiest cleanup work. If you can ensure proper toilet maintenance and familiar with common problems related to the plumbing system, to a large extent, you can avoid this unpleasant incident. If you have experienced this situation, take action immediately before overflows become a cause to damage floor, tile, wall, and paint around the toilet. We have listed some of the familiar causes of a toilet overflow, which will help you to prevent it from happening.

  1. Clog

Clogging is a very common cause of toilet overflowing. A clog or blockage can create many ways. If you find your toilet going to overflow or can cot flash out water and shit completely then check if there is any clog or not. If you see the clog at the bottom of the toilet, do not try to flush it; otherwise, the water will surpass the brim of the toilet cover the floor. At first, remove the clog then flush out the rest of things.

  1. Leaks

Leaks can occur anywhere, including the toilet, bathtubs, and sinks. A leak into your toilet can raise the water level and overflow it withing a few times. If you notice any leak, shut off the water supply immediately and repair the damages. If the damages are huge, call a plumber before the problem increase.

  1. Plumbing defects

Plumbing defect is another common reason for toilet overflowing. The most happened plumbing defects are the handle gets stuck in the flush position, and the water flow regulating mechanism does not work correctly. If you find any of these problems, fix them as soon as possible otherwise messes will take to happen a few minutes only.

  1. Damaged sewer line

If there is any damage in your main sewer lines like any break or crack, then the sewage cannot be able to drain correctly. The result is, the water will run back up the line and enter your house using all possible entrances.

  1. Septic system problems

If the septic system is situated under the house, a problem can occur with the septic tank. It works on releasing the water slowly from the pipes placed into the soil around it. This system called the drain field. If the surrounding area of the underground tank cannot be capable of dissipating the water, then the pectic tank may fill up, and your toilet can overflow.

  1. Low flow toilet

If your toilet is old enough and also a low-flow toilet, it might cannot able to follow all of your commands. Even sometimes it refuses to flush too much toilet paper and any non-flushable items. These simple things run back up and overflow. So, you should avoid flushing paper towels, diapers, napkins, and feminine products. Even you should not try to flush hair and dental floss. These small size things can also be a cause of significant problems like toilet blockage.

Toilet overflow sometimes becomes hugely harmful to the surrounding walls, floor, and paints. So, read carefully the above-discussed causes of a toilet overflowing and be aware of your toilet.

Read next: Why does my bathroom smell like urine

How to clean up overflowed toilet water

Among all of the sanitary disasters, toilet overflow is the worst one. Even clean up an overflowed toilet is more annoying than clean a spilled spaghetti. In most cases, it takes a little more effort to clean an overflowed toilet. However, the dirty water reached your walls, furniture, and carpets; then, you might need to take help from a professional. But if the messes do not cross the limit of the toilet area, then the following steps will help you to clean up easily.


Step one: Stop overflowing

Stop a toilet from overflowing is the first doing work while you try to clean the overflowing toilet. If you cannot do it alone, then take help from others and remove the toilet tank lid. Now press the circular rubber valve placed on the tank’s bottom to close it. Now lift up the float. After completing these two jobs, water will stop to enter the toilet.

You have to keep holding the float and ask someone to shut off the water valve by turning it clockwise.

Step two: Mop up the water

If the dirty water store on the floor for a long time, it can help grow mold and other damages. So, the toilet overflow water damage cleanup is essential. Once you could stop the overflowing, mop the water and remove other waste immediately. Ring out the mop into the other bucket and mop again the floor.

Step three: Use of plunger

It is very important to unclog the toilet. Use a plunger to unclog a toilet. Try plunging at least a few times more to unclog the toilet, but if still, it is, do not drain water or flush, then use a closet auger.

Step four: Use of closet auger

If the clog is still in the drain after applying the plunger several times, then try out the closet auger. Carve the tip of the closet auger pointed in the same direction as the toilet drain. Enter the auger into the drain as far as it can go in the direction to break the clog. Gently pull out the auger from the drain and enter again. Do it several times to remove the clog completely.

Step five: Through away the wasted water

Is your toilet clog completely gone? Okay, get ready to clean your bathroom now. At first, pour the mopped up dirty water into the toilet, as your toilet is flush out now properly. Rinse the bucket with hot water and clean the mop properly also.

Step six: Use of bleach

Bleach is a very useful cleaning household element and quite effective in disinfecting also. Take a bucket with one gallon of warm water. Add one cup of bleach to it. Sanitize each area of your bathroom that has come into contact with the toilet overflowed water. You should also clean toilet bowl stains along with your mop using this bleach solution.

Wear rubber gloves and dump a cleaning cloth into the solution. Remove excess water from the cloth and wipe down walls, faucet, etc.

Read next: How to remove mold from bathroom tiles

How to fix a toilet that keeps overflowing

To stop a toilet from overflowing, you need to identify the causes and the source to fix them. There are some straightforward issues to toilet spills, so you will avoid big water damage if you can fix them.


  1. Turn off the water supply

As we already said, turn off the water supply is the most important work to stop the immediate overflow. Follow the above-discussed procedure to turn off the water supply.

  1. Remove clog from the drain

A clogged drain is the most frequent cause of toilet overflow. Wipe the floor to avoid slip and fall. Do not forget to wear rubber gloves to prevent germ transfer. Now use the plunger into the toilet bowl to remove the clog. Create pressure in the drain to dislodge clogs. Do several times to break down the clog and flush away from the pipe.

Sometimes clog creates in the far down that plunger cannot reach to it. You may try using a plunger, but it fails to reach the deeper of the drain. In this condition, a toilet auger can help you to break apart the blockage. After using the auger, you should again use a plunger to remove the clog completely.

  1. Septic tank issues

Often the septic tank also is the culprit of overflowing the toilet. A septic tank works slowly to release the wastewater into the pipe as it has the time to settle in the underground tank.

If the septic tank is filled or does not maintain properly, it can run to the back and overflow into all the possible ways like a toilet bowl. If it happens, you will find the septic tank’s surrounding area will be saturated with water, and you will also notice an unpleasant smell. To fix this issue, you need to call a professional to repair the septic tank.

  1. A low flow toilet

If any of the above-listed issues is not the source of the toilet overflow, check properly to see if it is a low flow toilet. Because the low-flow toilet many times fail to break waste down as perfectly as the other toilets can.

Do not flush any feminine products, paper products, or diapers that take more time to flush out. Even avoid flushing hair and floss as they can get stuck and create a bigger problem.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Question: Can a running toilet overflow?
Answer: A running toilet also can overflow and can be a cause of water leaks. A running toilet can flood the septic tank and overflow the toilet.

Question: Can a bad flapper cause a toilet to overflow?
Answer: No, a bad flapper will not cause a toilet overflow, but it can be a cause of constantly running toilet. Even it will never allow to fill up the tank.

Question: Can a toilet overflow without being clogged?
Answer: No, without being clogged, a toilet will not overflow.

Question: Can a clogged vent cause a toilet to overflow?
Answer: A clogged vent can be a cause of toilet overflowing.

Question: What protection should I take during clean up an overflowing toilet?
Answer: A toilet overflowed water contains a vast amount of micro-organic contaminants which are very much hazardous for our health. So, do not forget to wear rubber gloves before clean up toilet overflow.

Wrapping up

Deal with a toilet overflow is a very much challenging and unhealthy job. Always we can’t hire a professional as it sometimes needs a big budget. But if you can properly follow the above-listed methods, then it will be easy to clean up the toilet. You should also be aware of the causes and the sources of the toilet overflowing so that you can prevent it before occur.

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  1. […] believe me, you do not want a toilet overflow in the bathroom because that is the worst mess you probably have to deal with ever. What’s more, it’s costly […]