How To Clean Up After A Toilet Overflows

When something is stuck in the drains that means that your toilet will likely overflow. Toilet overflowing can be quite overwhelming since it can cause significant damage to the bathroom floor, or even flood the ceiling below. In this kind of situation, you have to react quickly and know exactly what to do in order to do a proper cleanup.

The first thing you need to do to clean up after a toilet overflows is to wash everything thoroughly with warm water and soap. Then, you will need to disinfect the whole bathroom for which you will need bleach and a gallon of water. Disinfection is important for getting rid of bacteria as well as unpleasant odors.

This article will teach you how to clean up properly after a toilet overflows, so there is no room for panic. Here, you will learn what kind of supplies and tools you need for the whole process, so you will be well-prepared. Moreover, you will go through the necessary steps for the cleanup, meaning that you will be able to get the job done smoothly and successfully.

toilet overflows
Image from AJD Blockages

What To Do When Your Toilet Overflows?

Seeing your toilet overflowing can be quite stressful since everything happens so fast, and in that moment you may not be sure what to do. That is, you might be confused about the first step you need to take in order to start the cleanup process. To clean up your bathroom appropriately, you will need to understand what kind of things you need for the procedure, and what kind of steps you need to take.

Necessary suppliesNecessary tools
TowelsToilet snake
Mop and bucketWet-dry shop-style vacuum
SpongeStructural drying dehumidifier
SoapHigh-volume fan

Step 1: Turn Off The Water

Even though the notion of your toilet overflowing is quite alarming, you should restrict yourself from panicking and react immediately. This means that you will have to cut the flow of water in the toilet, i.e. you will simply have to turn off the water. You can do this by shutting off the valve that is positioned below the toilet tank.

However, if you cannot find the valve, i.e. there is no valve, then you will need another method to stop the water flow. You can do this by opening up the toilet tank lid and pulling the float up. You should wait for the bowl to drain completely before you release the float.

Nonetheless, if this does not work as you expect and the water flow has not stopped, you will need to turn off the main water supply. In case the water does not stop even with the main supply turned off, that will mean that there is an issue in the main sewer line or the drain pipe.

Step 2: Use A Toilet Snake

Many people primarily go for a plunger with the belief that that will be the most appropriate tool for unclogging the toilet. However, in an overflowing situation, a toilet snake will be way more beneficial. This is because a toilet snake can reach deeper into the toilet pipe, meaning that it can pull out the clog more easily.

Step 3: Remove Waste

Once your toilet starts overflowing, your bathroom will be filled with water and waste. That means that the water will reach the floor and the cabinets, leading to the spread of bacteria and dirt all over the bathroom. If you do not react quickly, and the water stays a long time around the toilet area, it may cause greater damage, such as the appearance of mold.

A wet-dry vacuum can be really beneficial in this kind of situation because it will absorb the water quickly. However, you will also need to use towels in order to remove the water and waste in unreachable areas.

Step 4: Dry Out The Whole Area

You should not forget that drying out the floor is not enough. When a toilet overflows, the water usually reaches the cabinets that are in close proximity, as well as the surrounding walls. You will need to dry these areas as well in order to prevent the appearance of mold and the spread of bacteria.

A very useful tool in this situation is a high-volume fan. This will help you dry out the whole bathroom quickly. Usually, for the bathroom you will only need one fan, but if the water reaches other rooms, you will need two or three of them.

Step 5: Disinfect The Area

Once you stop the water, and make sure that you have solved the overflowing problem successfully, you can move on to the cleaning part. First, you will need to clean the whole bathroom with soap and warm water. Even if the water did not reach particular parts of the bathroom, ensure to clean everything thoroughly.

bleach to disinfect after the toilet overflows

After you are done with this, you will need a mixture of bleach and a gallon of water. This will help you disinfect the whole area in order to prevent the spread of bacteria, and avoid the appearance of mold.

Why Would A Toilet Overflow?

There can be various reasons for toilets overflowing, but the most common one is a clogged toilet. The toilet can get clogged by flushing down things that should not be flushed.

The toilet is intended to flush waste and toilet paper, nothing else. If you flush wipes, sanitary pads, or diapers, you should expect to overflow. Sometimes, even flushable wipes get stuck in the pipes, so it is recommended that you avoid flushing any kinds of wipes.

Other reasons why a toilet overflows are issues with the sewer line, plumbing complications, and problems with the septic system.

5 Ways To Prevent Your Toilet From Overflowing

Since toilet overflowing is quite an overwhelming occurrence, you should do everything in your power to stay away from it. This means that you should take some steps that will help you make sure that you are keeping your toilet safe and well-maintained. Here are some things you can incorporate into your toilet maintenance:

  1. Make sure that you only flush waste and toilet paper in the toilet.
  2. Do not use chemical drain cleaners.
  3. Fix a running toilet on time.
  4. Do not flush thick paper, even if the package claims that it is flushable.
  5. Regularly check the mechanics of the toilet.

Frequently Asked Questions

professional plumber checking the cause of overflowing

Should You Call A Professional Even If You Have Resolved The Overflowing?

It is wise to call a professional plumber to do a quick checkup of the toilet, even after you have done the job successfully. You can never be 100% sure of what has caused the overflowing in the first place, even if you have already found a clog in the toilet. This way you can avoid the occurrence of greater complications.

Is The Water From The Overflowing Harmful?

You should always count on the possibility that the water from the overflowing toilet is harmful and contaminated. Even if the water consists only of waste and sewage, there is still a possibility for the spread of disease and bacteria.

Can A Toilet Overflow Without A Reason?

A toilet cannot overflow without any particular reason. Namely, there must be a problem even if you cannot see it. There can be a problem in the toilet tank, in the drains, or in the whole septic system. So, you should not rely on the possibility that your toilet has been overflowing even if everything seems to be okay with it.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, our article helped you learn how to clean up if your toilet overflows without any issues. Just make sure to follow all of the steps carefully, and you should be able to ensure safety for the whole household. 

Leave a Comment