Toilet Tips With ‘The House Whisperer' – Picking Plungers and Jell-O for Your Toilet

"House Whisperer" Dean Sharp gives some DIY tools on working with your toilet.

What to Know

  • Use a bellows, or accordion, plunger instead of a sink or flange plunger.
  • Oatey Liquilock can help you move your toilet by turning the hidden water into gelatin.

Out of all the household duties, unclogging the toilet is usually near the bottom of the list. More modern toilets with two flush buttons and wider drains, known as "dual flush" toilets, tend to clog less often and use less water. But even these are not immune to clogging.

Fortunately, Dean Sharp, the "House Whisperer" of KFI AM 640, has some tips on how to pick a toilet plunger. And if the issue is complicated enough that you find yourself needing to move the toilet, he recommends a "toilet Jell-O" to help the process.

Use a bellows plunger

Few people enjoy unclogging a toilet, but picking the right plunger can make the activity easier. Make sure to choose a plunger that fits well with your toilet. Sink plungers, which typically have smaller heads, won't provide a firm seal on the bowl of a toilet. Other plungers with a flap, called "flange plungers," are meant to be more versatile and work with either sinks or toilets, but Sharp advises against using these.

"It's a plunger that is wanting to be a toilet plunger, but is really just an oversized sink plunger," Sharp said. "Plus, who wants to use a plunger for the toilet and for your kitchen sink?"

Instead, Sharp recommends a bellows plunger, also known as an accordion plunger, which are made specifically for toilets and push more water than the other types.

Jell-O for the toilet

Technically, Oatey Liquilock isn't Jell-O, and you probably shouldn't try to eat it. But the effect it produces when mixed in water will likely be familiar.

Moving a toilet is a fairly easy process, just involving disconnecting the water supply, removing the hose and screwing off the bolts keeping it to the floor. However, the water still in the toilet tends to spill out. What Liquilock does, according to Sharp, is "gelatinize" the water hidden in the toilet. Pour a packet into the toilet, wait five minutes and move the toilet.

Once the toilet is placed back and reconnected to the water supply, simply flush the toilet and the new water will wash the gelatin down the drain.

"We just call it 'toilet Jell-O,'" Sharp said.

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