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How to unblock a soil pipe

Updated February 21, 2017

Soil pipes are a drain line that directs waste from a plumbed fixture to the sewer. Most commonly, soil pipes are associated with toilets. When too much paper or organic waste material is put into a soil pipe, it will not carry the paper or waste away when water is run. Many people have experienced the frustration of flushing a toilet only to see water fill up and sometimes over the bowl. Unclogging a soil pipe can be done a couple of different ways.

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  1. Lay towels around the base of the toilet as a precaution to soak up any water. While you're unblocking the soil pipe, water may splash out or flow over the bowl.

  2. Put on a pair of gloves. Insert a plunger into the bowl pushing it to the bottom. Attempt to plunge the toilet to unblock the soil pipe. If the obstruction is near the top of the soil pipe, simple plunging may free it. Watch for the water to recede out of the bowl and down the soil pipe.

  3. Pour 118 ml (1/2 cup) washing up liquid into the bowl. Add boiling or near boiling water to the bowl until full but not overflowing. If plunging did not yield results, this method may do the trick. The soap will settle to the bottom and slide into the soil pipe, acting as a lubricant. The extra water acts as a weight to push the obstruction out of the narrow part of the soil pipe into the larger sewer pipe. If water begins to recede using this method repeat until the bowl empties completely.

  4. Insert a plumbing snake or straighten wire coat hanger directly into the soil pipe. Snake the soil pipe until the water drains out of the bowl. If using a wire hanger, place in a bin bag and dispose of it.

  5. Tip

    If all these methods are not successful in unclogging the soil pipe, the obstruction may be far deeper. Contract a licensed plumber to remove the obstruction.

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Things You'll Need

  • Towels
  • Gloves
  • Plunger
  • Washing up liquid
  • Plumbing snake or wire hanger

About the Author

Owen Richason grew up working in his family's small contracting business. He later became an outplacement consultant, then a retail business consultant. Richason is a former personal finance and business writer for "Tampa Bay Business and Financier." He now writes for various publications, websites and blogs.

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