How to retrieve objects from a clogged toilet

Accidentally dropping an object into the toilet is a more common mishap than one might think. A moment of inattention, and suddenly, items like a toilet paper roll or a deodorant can find their way into the bowl. If you’re struggling to retrieve it, don’t worry – this guide is here to help.

blocked toilet

Immediate action is key

First and foremost, it’s crucial to address the issue without delay. Ignoring it can lead to an overflowing toilet, creating a more urgent problem. If your toilet has a grinder, it’s imperative to call a plumber immediately without attempting any retrieval yourself.

Using a plumbing snake

If you can’t reach the object by hand, the most common solution is to use a plumbing snake, a long metal rod with a hook at the end. Insert the snake as deep as possible and rotate it in the same direction to latch onto and retrieve the object.

When disassembly is necessary

If your efforts with the plumbing snake are unsuccessful, you may need to dismantle the toilet. This task is not as daunting as it seems. First, shut off the water supply (lowering it to the lowest level if possible), then unscrew the bolts holding the toilet, cut through the sealant, and gently pull the toilet towards you horizontally. Some water will spill out, but you might be able to reach the object.

When all else fails

If the object is still out of reach, it’s time to call a plumber. With some luck, the object might pass through the pipes. In this case, although the object will be lost, your pipes won’t be clogged. However, if the object is too large and blocks the pipes, urgent plumber intervention is necessary.

Preventive measures

To avoid such incidents, consider implementing some preventive measures:
– Keep small objects away from the toilet area.
– Educate children about the dangers of flushing objects down the toilet.
– Install a toilet lid lock if you have young children or pets.

Understanding your toilet’s mechanics

Understanding the basic mechanics of your toilet can also be helpful. Knowing how to shut off the water supply and familiarizing yourself with the components can make you more prepared to handle such situations.


Retrieving objects from a toilet and dealing with clogs can be a hassle, but with the right approach, it’s manageable. Remember, if you’re ever in doubt or the situation seems beyond your skills, it’s always safer to call a professional plumber.