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Toilet Overflow Cleanup: Don’t Panic, and Clean It Up!


Anyone who has ever experienced an overflowing toilet, which probably includes every single person reading this right now, certainly understands the importance of proper cleanup. After you’ve said your fair share of “Oh God!” and “Gross!”, you need to take action right away so as to avoid water damage and bacteria contamination.

There’s no need to panic, however! Follow these simple steps and you’ll have the mess cleaned up in no time:

Step 1 – Stop the Overflow

First and foremost, you need to stop the overflow so as to lessen the potential for damage. If there’s another person nearby, then the best way is to remove the toilet tank lid, push down on the circular, rubber valve located at the bottom, and lift up the float (all of which will stop additional water from entering the toilet) while the second person shuts off the water valve. If you’re alone, then it’s up to you to turn off the valve as quickly as possible, even if you have to release the float for a few moments or do that part of the process first. Just be sure to act quickly!

Step 2 – Mop Up the Water

Although we’ve said not to panic, you don’t want to let dirty toilet water sit on your bathroom floor any longer than it must. No, it’s doesn’t matter if it’s number one or number two – you need to clean it up quickly! So, grab a mop as soon as the toilet has stopped overflowing and get as much of the water as you possibly can into an empty bucket.

Step 3 – Take the Plunge

You should always have a plunger in your bathroom. If you don’t, then run out to the store and purchase one as soon as possible (same goes with a closet auger, which we’ll discuss below). After you mop up the water, you want to use the plunger to unclog the toilet. Most of the time, the plunger is all you’ll need to take care of the problem.

Step 4 – Grab an Auger

If a plunger doesn’t unclog the toilet after several attempts, then it’s time to use your trusty closet auger. You want to crank it as far as it will go in both directions in order to clear the clog. Once that’s done, gently pull out the auger and use the plunger again. If that still doesn’t work, skip to step seven and call a professional.

Step 5 – Get Rid of the Waste Water

Take the bucket of wastewater that you collected when you mopped up the floor and flush its contents down the toilet. Then, rinse out the bucket and mop with hot water.

Step 6 – Clean with Bleach

It’s important that you don’t leave any lingering bacteria in your bathroom or on the equipment that you’ve been using. For this step, you’ll want to mix one cup of bleach and one gallon of warm water in your bucket. From there, sanitize any area in the bathroom that you believe came into contact with the wastewater. You can use either a mop or cloth to do this, but if you’re using a cloth, be sure to wear rubber gloves to protect yourself.

Step 7 – Call a Professional

Although it is possible for you to clean up an overflowed toilet on your own, there are times when calling a professional is the best step to take. Even if you’re able to clear the clog on your own, it’s easy to leave water and bacteria behind, and it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry.

The experts at Abbotts Fire & Flood have the expertise and equipment necessary to get your home back to its original state for a variety of problems, including water, fire, mold, asbestos, meth contamination, and much more. Reach out to us and we’ll get started today.

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