What to Do When Your Toilet Overflows

You’ve flushed your toilet. Instead of the water going down, the levels are rising instead. Soon after, the toilet overflows onto your floor. Here are the steps you can take to prevent this issue from becoming a costly home repair.

1. Turn Off Your Water Supply.

Turn off the valve underneath the toilet to shut off water to it.

2. Rig Your Float.

You can also open the tank on your toilet and rig the float so that it stays in a position where additional water will not fill the tank.

3. Remove the Excess Water From the Bowl.

This will prevent a future overflow event. Use a wet vacuum or take a cup, bucket, or similar item to transfer the excess water to the sink or bathtub so it can be drained safely away.

4. Dry the Floors Immediately.

Use towels to clean up water spills that occur on your floor. If your toilet overflows onto the carpet, you can place a dry, folded towel over the spill. Then place something heavy on the towel and allow it to sit for 30-60 minutes so it can soak up the water.

5. Remove Any Debris Safely.

Not every toilet overflow involves only water. Use caution when cleaning up a mess that is left behind. Be sure to dispose of anything you pick up properly. Once the debris and excess water is removed, you will want to disinfect all surfaces that came into contact with the toilet water.

6. Plunge the Toilet.

Once you’ve created a safe space to work, you’re ready to address the issue with your toilet. Most toilets overflow because of a blockage that occurs. Take a plunger and attempt to dislodge the blockage. You may need to remove a foreign object that has become a blockage, so have a pair of gloves handy so you can reach in and grab the item. Difficult blockages may require a toilet snake instead of a plunger to remove them.

7. Test the Toilet.

After you’ve cleared the blockage, test the toilet to ensure it is back to proper working order. Turn the water supply back on and rig the float back into its normal position if necessary. Then flush. Repeat the steps if you encounter another potential overflow incident.

If your toilet continues to overflow after 2-3 attempts to clear it, then it is time to contact a professional plumber. Sometimes, an overflowing toilet is an indication that there is a bigger plumbing issue that may need to be addressed.

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