How to Fix a Slow Draining Toilet without Calling a Plumber!

Does your toilet take forever to drain? Are you dreading having to call a plumber and spend a fortune on fixing the issue?

Believe it or not, there are a few things that you can do yourself to fix a slow draining toilet without spending any money!

fixing a slow draining toilet

In this article, I will discuss some simple tips that will help clear up your drainage issues in no time!

Reasons that Cause Slow Draining Toilet

There are many problems that can cause your toilet to drain slowly. If you can’t figure out what’s causing this, read on-

1. Toilet Tank Not Filling Properly

If your toilet tank isn’t filling properly, it could be because the float is set too low.

The float is the large ball or a cup-like that you see inside the toilet tank. This controls how much water is in the tank. If it’s set too low, not enough water will enter the bowl and cause your drains to clog.

toilet tank not properly filling

Generally, the toilet tank should fill up to an inch below the top of the overflow tube.

To check whether it’s the reason, simply flush the toilet and open the tank lid. Now observe until the water supply turns off automatically.

If you see that the water level is too low from the top of the overflow tube, you’ll need to adjust the float ball or cup.

I have written a detailed guide to fix a toilet tank that’s not filling properly. Check that to solve the issue.

2. Flapper Valve isn’t Opening Fully

If you have checked and verified that the tank is filling up to the optimal level yet the toilet isn’t flushing slowly, it may be because you have a damaged or incorrectly installed flapper valve.

The flapper valve is the object that lifts up to allow water to pass into the toilet bowl from the tank when you press the flush button.

a worn out toilet flapper

If the valve is damaged or installed incorrectly, you may experience that the water isn’t getting enough space to flush fast into the toilet bowl.

To inspect whether it’s the cause, flush the tank fully and remove any remaining water from the tank using a sponge.

After that, lift the flapper valve and inspect if it’s warped, corroded, or looks damaged.

In most cases, the flapper valve is made of rubber so that it makes a watertight seal between the flush opening and the tank. And due to the nature of rubber, it’s prone to warping or getting damaged pretty easily.

If you find that toilet flapper is the culprit behind the problem, read my step-by-step guide on fixing toilet flapper issues at home.

3. Slack Lift Chain

If the flapper looks okay to you, then it might be the lift chain that’s not opening the flapper valve fully to allow water to pass through quickly.

In normal circumstances, the lift chain should be about 1/4-inch to half an inch slack. If you notice that it’s unusually slack inside the tank, then it won’t be able to lift the flapper valve up to the optimal level and cause a slow flushing toilet.

We have covered the fix for a slack lift chain as well in a separate article in detail.

4. Toilet Tank Leaking

In case none of the above is the case, there’s a possibility that your toilet tank is leaking. This could be due to a faulty flush valve or an incorrectly installed supply line.

To check whether this is the reason, put some food color inside the tank and wait for about 15 minutes without flushing.

If you notice any color in the bowl after this time frame, it means your tank is indeed leaking through the flapper and needs to be fixed immediately.

The fix is the same as the first one. So, follow the article on the toilet flapper issue.

If you notice that the colored water is on the bathroom floor, it’s a sign that the toilet tank is cracked or the tank is leaking between tank and bowl through the bolt openings.

The Toilet tank won’t crack on its own. So, in most cases, it’s just the tank bolts. Follow our detailed guide on the fix for a toilet that’s leaking between tank and bowl.

5. Clogged Drain Pipe

If you have a clogged drain pipe, it will cause a slow flushing toilet. This is because the water can’t flow through the pipe as quickly as it should.

To check whether your drain pipe is clogged, simply remove the lid of the toilet tank and flush the toilet. Now put your ear close to the toilet bowl and see if you can hear any gurgling sound.

As a reminder, don’t go too close as water can spill into your body if you get too close to the bowl when flushing.

If you do hear a gurgling or bubbling sound, then it means that there’s a blockage somewhere in your drain pipe and you’ll need to get it fixed immediately.

To fix this issue, you’ll need a plunger.

First, flush the toilet so that you can work on a fresh toilet bowl.

Next, position the plunger properly into the toilet bowl and use sudden and high forces to push the air into the drain pipe. Continue pushing and pulling force for around ten seconds.

This should clear out any minor clogs and deposits inside the drain pipe.

Now, flush the toilet and check if the problem is solved. Watch this to learn the ways to use a plunger properly-

If the problem still persists, use a toilet snake auger

To use it, insert the auger into the toilet bowl and push it down the drain pipe.

Keep pushing until you feel some resistance. This means that you’ve hit the clog.

Now turn the handle of the auger in a clockwise direction to break up the clog and then pull out the auger.

Once you’re done, flush the toilet to check if everything is working fine now.

If not, repeat this process until the problem is solved.

6. Clogged Vent Pipe

If the drain pipe is clear but you’re still having a slow flushing toilet, then it might be because of a clogged vent pipe.

The vent pipe is located on the roof of your house and its purpose is to allow air to enter the drainpipe so that water can flow through it more easily.

If this pipe is blocked, then it will cause a vacuum to form in the drainpipe and make it harder for water to pass through.

In most cases, vent pipes are blocked externally by bird nests and leaves. So, you can just check that from the ground if it’s clearly visible. If it’s not, you’ll need to climb to the roof and see if the vent pipe is clogged externally.

If it’s not clogged externally, you should remove the top covering from the vent pipe for a moment and use a torchlight to see inside the pipe for finding the location of the clog.

If the clog is reachable, you can try an extendable hook to remove them from up top.

However, in most cases, internal clogs are too deep to be fixed by homeowners themselves. So, it may be the time to call a professional plumber to fix it for you.

7. Damaged Wax Ring Seal

If you have a slow flushing toilet and have eliminated all the other possible causes, then it might be due to a damaged wax ring seal.

replaced toilet wax ring

The wax ring is located between the bottom of the toilet bowl and the drain pipe. And its primary function is to create a watertight seal so that sewage water doesn’t leak out from under the toilet.

Over time, this wax ring can become brittle and cracked, which will cause water and air to leak.

As you know that most flushes nowadays work vacuum as a force to push the bowl contents into the drain pipe, leaking air will cause the whole system to not work properly.

To solve the issue, follow our guide on how to replace the wax ring seal with a new one.


There you have it! These were some of the most common causes of slow flushing toilets and how you can fix them without calling a professional plumber.

I hope that this article was helpful and informative for you. If you still have any doubts or queries, feel free to reach out I would be happy to help you out!

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