Did your toilet bowl air freshener fall or break off of the toilet bowl rim, get flushed down, and now is clogging the toilet?
This is a common problem and it’s the reason why I recommend that you never use the type of air freshener that hangs on the inside of the toilet bowl. There are several other solutions for freshening your toilet that don’t have such a high risk of clogging it (covered below).
But first, let’s unclog your toilet.
How To Unclog A Toilet Freshener Out Of The Toilet
I’ve put together a list of steps that you should take in order to get your plastic air freshener unstuck from the toilet.
Ideally, we want to remove it instead of flushing it down the pipe. However, we may have to dislodge it and flush it down the sewer if we can’t get it out.
Step 1: Put a large towel around the bottom of the toilet.
When unclogging a toilet, you might end up spilling toilet water – clean or dirty – around the toilet. Or worse, the toilet could overflow and spill waste-filled water everywhere.
Putting a large towel or two down around the base of the toilet is a safety step just in case the water ends up on the floor.
Step 2: Turn off your water valve.
Every toilet should have a water hose that sticks out the bottom of it and attaches to the water valve in your bathroom. These valves always have a little knob that you can turn in order to turn off the water pressure that is going to the toilet.
Find the knob and turn it fully. You can usually feel or even hear when the water is fully cut off.
Step 3: Open your toilet tank.
The toilet tank is where the water is stored before flushing down into the toilet. You need to take the tank lid off and set it somewhere out of the way.
The reason we want the lid off is so that we have direct access to the toilet flapper. The flapper is the rubber pad that opens up when you flush the toilet, letting water flow down into the bowl.
If at any time during our unclogging process the toilet is about to overflow due to water filling the bowl, you can reach your hand down into the toilet tank and force the flapper closed with your fingers. This will stop more water from filling the bowl, thus preventing a nasty overflow.
And don’t worry – the water in the toilet tank is clean, unless you’ve been pooping in the wrong spot all these years.
Step 4: Grab the right gear for the job.
Many toilet unclogging instructions will tell you to flush hot water or soap down the drain. But that’s intended for unclogging toilet paper and human excrement – not hard pieces of plastic like a toilet bowl freshener.
In order to remove the solid blocked object, we’re going to need at least one of the following:
- Extra long rubber gloves – Optional, but highly recommended, especially if the toilet water is dirty.
- A metal coat hanger – This will be the first item we try to unclog the toilet with.
- A toilet auger – A tool specifically designed for unclogging pipes.
- An extra long toilet snake – Just like an auger, but extra long, for removing very deep clogs. You can use this to start with instead of the regular auger.
- A wet/dry vacuum – Can be used to suck the object out of the toilet or pipe.
Step 5: Try each solution one at a time.
A. Use Your Hands First
This may sound gross, but the first thing you should try is using your hands to grab the object. Why? Because your fingers will be more capable of grabbing the stuck object and pulling it out, if it is clogged close enough to the entrance of the water. Equip your extra long rubber gloves, and go for a grab.
Pulling the object out is a safer idea than pushing the object down the toilet to be flushed away, because there’s a chance that flushing the object down the pipe could cause a clog even further down your sewer line, which would be a much bigger problem.
B. Use The Wet/Dry Vacuum
If the toilet water is dirty, you’ll want to empty it as much as possible before using the vacuum, in order to prevent the vacuum from becoming completely filthy. If the toilet water is clean, then you can suck up a decent amount of it with the vacuum itself.
Stick the vacuum hose into the toilet pipe and try to suck the stuck object back up the toilet. This is our best bet for removing the object from the toilet instead of flushing it down.
C. Use The Coat Hanger (Only If You Don’t Have An Auger)
Uncoil the coat hanger into a long metal wire. Try to poke it around inside the toilet pipe to see if you can dislodge the stuck object.
Ideally, you would want to remove the stuck object from the toilet by forming a hook with the coat hanger and pulling it out. But if the object is too deep to remove, your only other option is to try to dislodge it so that it will flush down the pipe.
If at any time during any of these steps you think you’ve dislodged the stuck object, you can turn the water valve back on and try to flush it down the pipe.
D. Use The Auger
I recommend watching a video explanation of how to use this item. I recommend this quick and easy video on Youtube. Using the auger will help dislodge the plastic object, allowing you to flush it down the toilet.
E. Use The Extra Long Toilet Snake
Just like an auger, but even longer. This is what you use if the object is stuck far down the pipe.
F. Remove The Toilet, Then Unclog It
If nothing is working, you may need to remove the toilet from the floor and attempt to unclog the toilet or the pipe once it is removed. This can be a dirty job, especially if the toilet bowl is full of waste water. I recommend watching an instructional video like this on Youtube and following along.
Once the toilet is removed, you can check whether the clogged item is stuck in the bottom of the toilet, or in the pipe itself. From there, you can use your gloved hands, the toilet auger, or the toilet snake to continue with your attempt to unclog the toilet or the pipe.
Step 6: Call A Plumber
If nothing else works, you’ll have to get a professional to do the job for you. It sucks, but this is what you get for putting objects like a toilet bowl air freshener into your toilet that have a high chance of clogging it.
Step 7: Get A Different Air Freshener (That Doesn’t Clog Toilets)
To avoid future problems, you need to freshen your toilet or bathroom with a solution that can’t clog your toilet so easily.
I recommend these toilet and bathroom air fresheners to use in the future:
Toilet Air Fresheners
- Clorox Toilet Cleaners – A dissolvable object that sits in the toilet tank, not the bowl. Lasts several weeks or even months before fully dissolving, and cleans the water with every flush.
- Poo-Pourri Toilet Spray – A spray that you use in the toilet before using it. The de-deodorizing spray spreads out and neutralizes odor-causing molecules as they appear in the toilet, preventing the bad smell from ever happening.
Bathroom Air Fresheners
- Odor-Capturing Gel Canister – Set it on your bathroom counter, or even on top of your toilet tank. The gel absorbs bad odor particles that come into contact with it, and gives off a light fresh scent. Lasts for months.
- Glade Plugin Air Fresheners – Tried and true. Will introduce a new scent to your bathroom.
- Ozone Spray – Used after you go, or any time the bathroom is smelling bad. Sprays ozone particles into the air, which destroys odor-causing particles that come into contact with it. Useful not only in the bathroom, but anywhere with odors.