Toy Stuck in the Toilet? Here’s How to Get Them Out. Part 1 of 2

If you have a clogged toilet and have kids, you just might have a toy stuck in your toilet. This can be a tricky problem to solve because just using a plunger usually won’t work.  The solution is to get the toy out of the toilet and one way to do that is with a tool called a “closet auger”.

In over 20 years as a Licensed Plumber I have seen a lot of clogged toilets because a toy was dropped in the toilet.  Sometimes you know what the problem is and sometimes you just know the toilet is plugged up and won’t flush.

If you aren’t sure what is causing the clog, plunge the toilet until it will flush several times with just water.  Then wad up some toilet paper and try to flush it.  Don’t go crazy but use enough paper so if there is something stuck in the bowl it will catch the paper and clog up.

If the toilet stops up now there may be something stuck in the bowl.  At this point the process is pretty much the same whether you have a toy in the toilet or anything else that doesn’t belong there.  You’ve got to remove whatever is causing the clogged toilet.

There are two basic ways to remove a toy or other object from a clogged toilet.  The first, an easiest way is to try to pull it back out the same way it went in.  To do this you need a tool called a closet auger.

A Closet Auger is a special tool consisting of a steel cable inside a tubular handle.  One end of the tube is bent and covered with something to help prevent scratches in the toilet bowl.  The cable has a sort of hook on one end and a crank type handle on the other end.

The way to use a closet auger is to insert the “business” end into the toilet bowl outlet and push the cable down while cranking.  But there is a special trick you need to do if you think something like a toy is stuck in your toilet.

First, take a pair of pliers and separate the very last turn at the end of the cable so that the “hook” is bigger and will have a better chance of grabbing whatever is in the toilet.  Then, when you run the auger through the bowl, stop feeding the cable in as soon as it looks like you have enough cable in to reach through the drain passage in the toilet and you start feeling some resistance.  Now just crank it a few times and them pull the cable out while maintaining the pressure on the crank.  The idea is to snag whatever is stuck and pull it out.

If you have successfully snagged the toy or whatever else is causing the clogged toilet, you should be able to pull it back out through the toilet bowl.  You may need to keep slowly cranking the handle while you pull the cable back to keep the object snagged.  Just keep this up until you get whatever was causing the problem.

OK, if you now have a very dirty toy (or whatever) you can make sure everything works.  Wad up some more toilet paper and do a couple of test flushes.  If it all goes down fine you are finished.  If not, you will want to see part 2 of this report on what to do if you have a toy in the toilet.

Here’s Part 2:

http://basicplumbingrepair.com/33/toy-in-the-toilet-heres-the-old-school-solution-part-2-of-2/

 

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79 comments to Toy Stuck in the Toilet? Here’s How to Get Them Out. Part 1 of 2

  • Jim

    Thanks Bryan this is great info. Question: What are the chances of pushing whatever is blocking the line farther down the line and creating a bigger problem? This is what scares me more than anything. I’m not sure what’s blocking our drain, but with three kids in the house I’m guessing it’s something that shouldn’t be there. Thanks!

  • Edward Bradbury

    The other night my wife accidently flushed her lower denture down the toilet. Do you thing the closet auger would work on getting the denture back out. Most of the time the toilet is working OK. Thanks for any help.

    • BTS

      Hi Edward,

      This may sound like a stupid question, but are you trying to rescue the dentures to use them or do you just want to clear the toilet? I only ask because I know dentures can be pretty expensive. (And I won’t tell anyone if you re-use them.)

      Here’s my opinion: You MIGHT be able to get them out with a closet auger, but if you do they may very well be ruined. You also run the risk of pushing them into the drain line where they could cause a worse problem.

      Your best bet is probably to pull the toilet and work from the bottom. Check out Part 2 of this article fro step by step instructions:

      http://basicplumbingrepair.com/toy-in-the-toilet-heres-the-old-school-solution-part-2-of-2/

      When you get them out be sure to come back here and brag about it a little,

      Thanks,

      Bryan

  • MK

    Very helpful article!!

    My son flushed a 4-pack soap plastic wrapper down the toilet. We flushed the toilet a few times and water drains really slow. What can we do to get that out? Thanks.

  • janet

    My son knocked an air spray can (about 5-6″ in length and a quarter sized circumference)into potty! Help! Will the augur work? Thanks!

  • jazi

    So my daughter flushed a toy phone nd now the toliet is flushing really slow. Do you think the auger thing will help to get it out??? I already tried stickin my hand in there buti cnt feel it.

  • Gina

    Thanks for this blog! We’ve been having trouble with our toilet for a long time (days, maybe weeks) and I suspected it was something that my 3yo daughter had flushed. We tried a bent hanger and then I noticed something strange in the way it was going in… I got my rubber kithen gloves and reached on in there… I was able to pull out a small plastic turtle bath toy! I felt like I conquered the world. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  • Erika

    So. Batman was flushed down today accidently when my 4yo was going to the bathroom. It flushed and the started backing up. I went to lowes and asked where I could find the closet augers, they looked at me like I was crazy, calling a couple guys over, “Hey, do you know what a closet auger is” Hahahaha. A joke at my expense even though THEY are the idiots. ;) Still. The auger didn’t do the trick… and I can’t shut the water off to the toilet at the valve because it won’t shut off. So I guess I will let my husband have a crack at it. We’ll have to go into the closet and shut off the main valve if we can’t figure out why the elbow (or whatever) valve isn’t working. Thanks for this website.

  • Mr. Brunson

    Today I flushed an apple core down the toilet and it got stuck in what i would believe to be the trap. I was wondering if i got a closet auger and tried that if i risked releasing it from the toilet only to get clogged farther down like at a main. I was wondering if i should just pull it to be safe?

  • [...] o/night and it actually got a best answer you could give that a bash too Powered by Yahoo! Answers William asks… my toilet blocked can any one help? my toilet is blocked can anyone suggest a easy …ng> is blocked can anyone suggest a easy solution the water is up to the top and its full. please [...]

  • Liv

    So I wasn’t really thinking at the time but I flushed a mandarine down the toilet. It flushes but it rises then flushes please help me ASAP!

    • Liv

      We don’t have an auger and I don’t really want to buy one…..

      • BTS

        Liv,

        Sorry to tell you this,but if you don’t want to buy a closet auger you really have just two choices. You can pull the toilet and try to remove the orange from the bottom or call a plumber. IF you pull the toilet, there is a good chance you can get the orange out from the bottom, it just depends on where it is stuck in the trapway of the toilet. If it is not at the outlet you will still need a closet auger to try to push it back out the bowl side.

        If you do decide to but an auge there is no guarantee you will be able to snag the orange, but you have a fighting chance if you spread the very end out so it can maybe poke through the skin and grab it.. Even if you wind up having to pull the toilet you still might need an auger. Either way, a closet auger will be WAY less money than a plumber, and you’ll have it for the future.

        i wish I had a magic bullet for you but I don’t.

        Let me know how it winds up if you have time.

        Thanks,

        Bryan

      • Liv

        Hi Brian. It wouldn’t let me comment on your comment so yeah. I need to tell my mum because I told her it was just toilet paper stuck in there. I’m scared she will get really cross at me and yeah.

        • BTS

          Hey Liv,

          Yes, it will be fairly heavy but I know some women plumbers (who aren’t that big), so you could probably do it. I don’t know how old you are but you probably should tell your mum. If that’s the worst mistake you ever make you are doing fine. Just don’t try to flush anymore fruit ;-)

          Good Luck,

          Bryan

  • amanda

    okay so my 4 yr old son put some stuff in the toliet I thought I got all of it out, but did not. Cause I flush and it takes forever for it to go down and you cant do anything but do number one in the toliet well someone came over and did a big number 2 and the water wont go down at all and it smells really really bad I am plunging and what happens is that I pluge and poo water comes out where the clear water should. My husband just wants to buy a new toilet I want to call a plumber, but then I saw your website. Please need help ASAP because it is smelling really really bad. Oh and we tried a wire coat hanger to try and hook whatever it is and we cant get it please help

  • avery

    my daughter flushed her chicken breast down the toliet and it is now clogged. it flushes but then starts to fill up and i’ve tried plunging but it will not unclog. Before i tried drano, a snake, or the dawn and hot water idea i wanted your opinion.

    • BTS

      Hi Avery,

      Sorry for the delay, it’s been a busy week. I would definitely try a closet auger with the end opened up just a little. Please don’t try drano and dawn and hot water are for washing dishes ;-)

      Good Luck,

      Bryan

  • BernieC

    This suggestion worked!!! A couple of weeks ago my adult daughter said “I wonder where my prescription eyeglasses are?” (She also has contacts). Well guess what we found using the ‘bent out tip closet auger’ routine. And she was helping.

  • Interesting post. The best way to solve this problem is to call a reputable plumber. Otherwise, there could be some major water damage.

    • Bryan

      I have to respectfully disagree with your viewpoint. While I agree there are many jobs best left to a pro, I don’t think unclogging a toilet is necessarily one of them. I think the many thank you comments and emails I have received from readers of this blog bear that out. So, you get the link and my readers get the tips they need to save their money for a real emergency. Sounds like a win-win to me.

  • Lynne

    Hi.
    I was cleaning with a 3M toilet disposable scrubber and it got stuck deeper when i try to use the stick to grab it. Try using rubber gloves to grab it but can’t. Will buying n using a closet auger work? Thanks!

    • Bryan

      Hi Lynne,

      Sorry for the delay, I was camping with my sons’ Boy Scout Troop.

      I think you have a very good chance of getting something soft and flexible (like a scrubber pad) out with a closet auger. I would definitely give it a shot before pulling the toilet, which is the next step if the closet auger doesn’t work.

      Let us know how it turns out.

      Bryan

  • Jodie

    My kids flushed a plastic “squishy” snake down the toilet. It is flushing fine, at least for now. Do I need to try to get it out? Or will it be okay?

  • Heather

    My 8 yr old son flushes a rubber nose plunger down the toilet we have tried the augar and a coat hanger to remove it any other suggestions that we can try to remove the clog would be helpful.

  • Doreen

    Hi
    I have a 2000 cleaner tab stuck in the toliot
    I have tried hot water but that has not worked. I’m desperate for any advice you might give me.
    Thank you

    • Bryan

      Hey Doreen,

      If hot water or a closet auger doesn’t do it you may need to bring out the big guns and try Part 2 of this lesson.

      You Can Do It.

      Bryan

  • lyn

    hi bryan,
    my daughter put some type of little chunks of plaster in toilet from a models farm she was making, i didn’t know and flushed it didnt all go down so i scooped the rest out shut the water off and poured hot water down thought it worked and guess after time toilet paper and stuff backed up now it comes out in tub. no money for a plumber thought of lifting the toilet but im pregnant and not aloud, use a cheap snake and couldn’t get pass all the twists and turns. and it was not easy with this thing to twist, any sugesstions? :( thanks also cant find prt 2

    • Bryan

      Hey Lyn,,

      Sorry for the delay. I’ve been at Boy Scout camp with my sons. I hate to say it, but your situation does not sound good. If the plumbing is backing up into the tub that means the blockage is in your drain system, not the toilet. That is probably beyond the scope of what qualifies for a Do-It_Yourself repair. You may need to find a plumber to pull the toilet and snake the line. You might save some money if you could get a friend to pull and reset the toilet.

      Here’s the link to Part 2:

      http://basicplumbingrepair.com/33/toy-in-the-toilet-heres-the-old-school-solution-part-2-of-2/

      You Can Do It.

      Bryan

  • Smartypants

    It doesn’t really matter what the object down the toilet in question is, the solution is always the same; auger first–if no luck then pass go to second option–pull up the toilet. One time I got a hairspray cap stuck in there, and I managed, after much trouble to get it out with an auger. They work really well. The same situation happened with an errant can of febreeze that my nephew took it upon himself to do away with via toilet. Once again, the auger proved invaluable. Another time, and I don’t know HOW I managed to do this, but I inadvertently flushed an entire barbecue grill down the toilet. Man, that auger proved invaluable. Heard a story from a neighbor not too long ago that he flushed an ’82 Harley Davidson down accidentally. He had to take the toilet up for that. What’s really funny is that once he got the toilet up, he found a Buick that had been stolen from another neighborhood about two weeks prior. Unfortunately though, the insurance didn’t cover it.
    So, just remember–auger first, then pull the toilet up next. And be mindful of the “no-flush” clause in your car insurance.

  • sam

    Hi, my baby flushed a new soap bar with the cover on it. I tried plunging with liquid soap and without it. I got the toilet which is long coil that has to be passed through a handle. I have tried many times and I cannot get the auger in. How is the toilet bowl shaped inside. It is over a week now since this problem occured. The water drains slowly, takes 20 sec. The soap must have gotten stuck way inside. Please suggest what I should do. Will the toilet auger that has the flexible tubing work?
    Awaiting your reply urgently and thank you in advance for your help.

    • Bryan

      Hey Sam,

      i guess I blew it on the urgent part. Sorry, the last few weeks have been pretty full and I have sort of neglected my blog.

      Anyway, the good news is your problem should be pretty easy to correct. The soap will get softer and softer the longer it stays in the water, so a closet auger should do the trick.

      I added a picture of how to use one in the lesson above so I hope that helps.

      Thanks,

      Bryan

  • stephanie

    My 3 year old flushed a block down the toilet. Will this work for that? I cant see it but the toilet overflowed and i know its in there.

  • Brad

    Will the auger work on the toilet paper roll holder that got flussed down my toilet?

  • Kelly

    I believe that we have flushed a q-tip down the toilet and now the toilet paper has been building against it and now when you flush it takes forever to go down, after it almost over flows. We’ve tried plunging and nothing worked… will this auger thing work and about how much are they???
    thanks

    • Bryan

      Hi Kelly,
      I think a q-tip is a perfect candidate for a closet auger. You can get one at Home Depot, Lowe’s or pretty much any hardware store. Expect to pay between $15-$50 depending on which one you get.

      If you can afford it get one that extends. It will come in handy for other drain clogs like tubs and showers.

      Good luck,

      Bryan

  • CraNan

    Thanks, this was helpful!

  • Bryan

    Hi Megan,

    You are probably going to have to pull the toilet for this one.
    See the 2nd installment of this article for help.

    You can do it!

    Bryan

  • megan

    I’m pretty sure my deodorant got flushed down our toilet because it keeps backing up and won’t flush even after plunging. I don’t know how far it would have went down do u think j should take the toilet off or will I have a chance with a toilet auger.

    Please help,
    Megan

  • Mel

    didn’t work, tried to remove the whole toilet to poke that thing out on the other end and it stil wouldn’t come out. had to get a new toilet.

    • Bryan

      Bummer! Well, at least you were able to do it yourself without calling a plumber. You saved a bundle right there, especially on the weekend.

      Bryan

  • Mel

    I accident flushed one of those flat metal drainers that keeps the hair from going down the drain in my bathtub to the toilet and now it’s flushing really slow. would I be able to get it out with a snake since it’s almost flat round metal? Or would I have to remove the whole toilet?

    • Bryan

      That sounds pretty tough to get with a closet auger unless you just get lucky. You should be able to get it by remocing the toilet though> Let us know how it goes.

      Remember, you can do it!

      Bryan

  • James

    I accidentally dropped a rubber deflated toy in the toilet and flushed as I reached for it. I am not sure how far it is and I am considering removing the back of the toilet. Will that work at all

    • Bryan

      Hi James,

      Sorry for the late reply. I’m a one horse rodeo here.

      I would try a closet auger first. You have a good chance of grabbing a deflated rubber toy.

      I’m not sure what you mean bay “removing the back of the toilet” but if you are talking about the tank, that won’t help. If you can’t get it with a closet auger you will need to remove the toilet . This sis covered in Part 2 of this topic in the blog.

      You can do it!

      Bryan

    • Bryan

      James,

      Sorry for the delayed response. I’m a one-horse rodeo here.

      I would try a closet auger first. You have a very good chance of retrieving a deflated rubber toy.

      As for removing the “back of the toilet”, I’m not sure what you mean. If you are thinking of removing the tank that holds the water, that won’t help. If the closet auger doesn’t work you will have to pull the toilet up and attack the problem that way. For help, you can see the Part 2 of this subject in this blog.

      You can do it!

      Bryan

  • Daniel Smith

    Thank you for the oppoutunity to read these “helpful” articles.
    Recently my Niece accidently flushed a “plastic” perfume bottle
    down the toilet which backed up the flow of drainage over 50%.
    She used a plunger to no avail.
    I went over to her house with my trusty “flat” type snake auger. After about
    30 minutes of pushing, twisting and screaming, it did not work.
    Next, I went to Sears and bought a 15 foot small dia “round” cable snake.
    I pushed and shoved for another 30 minutes. Nothing happened except
    bunching up 12 feet of cable in the toilet “S” chamber.
    Back to Sears I went and purchased a 3 ft “Toilet” Auger like the one
    you mentioned above with the metal tube sleeve and crank ($6.89).
    I started “cranking” on that baby for 2 minutes and thought I got the job
    done. With Fear not, and with a smiling face I started to pull the Toilet auger out. Oooops, it would not come out. I cranked, twisted and pulled for about 50 minutes all tolled. Nothing. I could not get the “auger” out even
    though it moved back and forth a good inch or so. Finally, I had to ask
    my Niece, Allison to “help” turn the Auger Crank while I held the cable
    moving it side to side. She cranked the auger clockwise and counter clockwise for 10 minutes. Finally the Toilet Auger came out. Then We decided on pouring in some Liquid Draino Gel as the “crystal” type was not available. I was thinking that it might melt or eat the plastic perfume bottle. Even though I said to myself, “The Liquid Drano is packaged in a “Plastic” container. DUH!. I tried it anyway. I don’t know the results yet,
    but eagerly awaiting a “reply” from my Niece in a few hours.
    The bathroom is on the “second” floor and I could not trace the “main”
    toilet drain in the basement. I was “thinking” I could run the 15 foot cable
    snake “backwards” so as to push the object back where it came from.
    Oh well, “Me thinks, I think too much”…..and will have to start “thinking”
    of the dreaded job of taking the toilet out and try removing the object and
    putting the toilet back in again……..So how is YOUR Day going?…..
    Better than mine I hope……..Dan (Uncle Joey), NY

  • Lynn

    What about a travel size bottle (small) of johnsons baby shampoo. It disappeared and I cant see it in the toilet. Did not know how far back it floated into the toilet

  • Trinity

    it’s okay I GOT IT OUT all on my own.

  • Trinity

    NEED HELP ASAP my 3 yr old daughter put a zhu zhu pet toy in the toilet how can I get it out took the toilet off can see the toy but doesn’t want to come back out……maybe buying a new toilet is my only option.

  • Anna

    I accidently fushed a brand new Degree deoderant (in plastic casing) down the toilet at a local Tai Kwon Do studio. The toilet has been out of comission for 3 wks. and they claim their plumber could not get it out. Are their any chemicals/acid that could be poured down the toilet to disentegrate the deoderant & container? I feel terribly guilty!!! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
    Anna

  • Kerry

    My 3 yr old stuck a pajama gown down the toliet. I had already used the plunger without knowing what she stuck down it (I thought she had used too much toilet paper). It is flushing like normal now but I do I need to be worried that it will eventually stop up from the pajamas? Will an auger work to get it out?

    • Bryan

      Hi Kerry,

      You definitely need to get the PJs out. Certainly, try a closet auger first. (See part 2 of this article).

      If you don’t get anything I would recommend calling a plumber who specializes in drain cleaning and ask them to use a retrieval head on their sewer machine cable to snag the pajamas and pull them back.

      Good Luck,

      Bryan

  • my daughter flushed half an apple down the toilet…it barely works and makes noises

    • Bryan

      The first thing I would try is using a closet auger fairly aggressively to try to either retrieve the apple or break it up so it will flush on down. If this doesn’t work, see part 2 of this article.

      You Can Do It.

      Bryan

  • Thomas

    Thanks a million, saved me about 100 Bucks and a lot of butt chewing. Great Blog…. Thanks again.

    Thomas

  • Katie

    My duaghter put hair in the toilet and now our toilet runs really slow. Do you think its clogged and what could I do to clear it?

  • Bryan

    Hi Audra,

    You might try a bent coat hanger and try to drag it back out. If not, you will probably need to pull the toilet. See Part 2 of the Toys in the Toilet articles on the right.

    You can do it!

    Bryan

  • audra

    my daughter droped the mouse to my computer down the toilet i can feel it but cant get it out any sugestions????

    • Bryan

      Hi Audra,

      You might try a bent coat hanger and try to drag it back out. If not, you will probably need to pull the toilet. See Part 2 of the Toys in the Toilet articles on the right.

      You can do it!

      Bryan

  • Tina

    Out toilet is plugged and as I was trying to plung it my 4 year old son told me he threw is 2 broken G.I. Joe’s in it, and now It won’t really let much down, whats the best way to get these out?? Please

  • Mars

    I dropped a makeup compact in the toliet; i tried the auger plunger no luck. please help.

  • Will

    What if you already have the toilet off and a drill bit and electrical tape went down the hole where the toilet drains (remodeling your bathroom with young kids around is fun)? Will an auger work there, too?

    • admin

      Will,
      I would be very careful with the auger. I would suggest using a wire coat hanger and trying to hook the electrical tape. You can get a magnet on a telescoping rod and t ry to catch the drill bit. You can find one of these magnets at most hardware stores and some auto parts stores. Or you can fasten a magnet to the coat hanger, but make sure it is fastened securely or you could cause another problem. (The magnet won’t work very well if you have Cast Iron pipe).

      As gross as it may sound, if you can fit your arm into the pipe you can always just try to reach the stuff and grab it. If you think your arm will fit, just stick your hand in a lightweight garbage bag before you stick it in the pipe.

      Another trick that might work is to get a small shop vac and try to get the electrical tape to suck up to the end of the hose. If that works for the tape, it probably won’t work for the drill bit, but getting the tape out is half the battle right now.

      However you do it, you really need to clear the line of anything that shouldn’t be there if at all possible. I hope one of these ideas works for you.

      Blessings,

      Bryan

  • Andrew

    Will this work for a hairspray cap? The toys can get hooked but how about something like a cap? I live in an apt building and the maintenance guy tried to get it out with a snake and I think an auger (I was not there so I can’t say for sure). Have you had any experiences with something like a cap?

    • admin

      I have actually had similar experiences. It is really pretty hard to retrieve something like a spray can cap from a toilet. One of the most challenging (and gross!) toilet blockages I ever had to clear was from someone flushing one of those little metal air freshener cans down a toilet in an Auto Repair shop.

      That little aluminum can was wedged so tightly in the toilet that I had to replace the toilet. The only reason I even know what caused the problem is because I broke the toilet open so I could find out.

      If the cap was plastic you should be able to get it out, but the toilet will most likely need to be removed first. Once this is done you may be able to remove the cap from the bottom or you may need to try to run the auger through backwards and push the cap back out the bowl side. It depends on how far the cap made it through the drain passage in the toilet.

      If you can, let us know how it turns out.

      Thanks,

      Bryan

  • Eilhard Becker

    This is very useful information. Kids drop small toys into our toilets at the store all the time.
    Thanks

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