Toilet Gurgling – Main Causes and Tips to Fix Them

A well-functioning sewerage system should work quietly and without interruption. When you hear toilet gurgling and other extraneous noise that hasn’t been there before, it is a reason to conduct a thorough examination of your plumbing and pipes.

How do you fix a gurgling toilet?
To fix a gurgling toilet, you need to clear the blockage. First, remove any floating objects from the water. Then, use a plunger to try to dislodge the blockage. If the blockage is further down, you may need to use a plunger to try to clear it.

It happens to several causes, and the main one is blockages. Failure to get rid of them on time will lead water to flow back (through a sink or toilet) and spill onto the floor. In this article, you will learn about the causes of gurgling and the correct ways to fix the problem.

Fixing Toilet Bubbling: Actionable Tips

Gurgling sounds, which may not seem alarming at first, are a kind of “symptom” that the whole system does not function properly. Therefore, I believe that any problem with plumbing and sewer pipes should be addressed as soon as possible. Otherwise, getting rid of the consequences will be unpleasant, difficult, and expensive.

Why does my toilet gurgle

The main reason for the appearance of unusual sounds and bubbles on the bowl’s water surface is blockages in some parts of the system. Your task is to determine exactly where they are.

Toilet and drain

The easiest option is to inspect the toilet itself, or rather the bowl. Perhaps, toilet paper has accumulated inside a siphon, which is interfering with the passage of water, or you have accidentally dropped something in it. Sometimes kids throw their small toys in the toilets while playing, and they block the flow.

If you haven’t changed the pipes in your house for a very long time, there is a possibility that a thick sediment layer of iron, calcium, or magnesium has formed on their walls. Gradually, it accumulates more and more, interfering with the passage of water.

Main sewer

The sewerage system is a complex of various pipes and nozzles that carry waste from sinks, bathtubs, laundries, and toilets. All of them go into the main sewer drain, which, in turn, is connected to the city sewer. If you live in an apartment building, blockages can form in pipes below or above.

When neighbors flush their toilets, it can cause air bubbles in the toilet on your floor. Besides, the main sewer drain can be damaged due to the soil’s subsidence or sprouted tree roots.

Related Post: Best No-Clog Toilets


Few people know, but sewer ventilation pipes play an essential role in the whole system’s proper functioning. They not only eliminate unpleasant odors by releasing air but also suck in air to equalize the pressure in the pipes. The vent can be clogged with fallen leaves, dead birds, or rodents.

Incorrect plumbing installation

Sometimes, when laying a sewer system, constructors don’t follow all the rules according to which they should carry out the installation. The main reasons why your toilet bubbles when flushed are that nozzles were laid at a low angle, an odor trap was installed incorrectly, or you picked small-sized pipes.

How to fix a gurgling toilet

Identifying the reason for strange sounds correctly is the key to fixing the problem. After you have inspected your plumbing and pipes and found out what causes a toilet to gurgle, I will tell you what remedies exist.

Use a plunger and snake

A plunger can easily deal with simple blockages directly in the toilet bowl. To create the necessary pressure inside the pipe, you should close all adjacent holes (bathroom, sink) with duct tape, for example. Then place the rubber part of the plunger over the hole in the bowl and force it down several times.

This method may not work if you have more severe clogging where the toilet is bubbling and won’t flush. In this case, I recommend using a sewer snake.

It is a special device in the form of a thick cable, the efficiency of which is several times higher than that of any chemical agent. Before using it, you should disassemble a siphon. After that, lower a cable into the open system and clean the pipe.

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Check vents

If you live in an apartment building, it is better to entrust the cleaning of ventilation to specialists. However, if you have your own house, you can try doing it yourself. You will need a flashlight, cable, and garden hose connected to a water supply.

The blockage may be shallow, so you can reach it with your hands or with a small hook. If the debris gets further into the pipe, tie the flashlight to the cable and lower it down until you see the clogging. You can remove it using water from a hose.

Talk to your neighbors

If you are sure that your floor is free of blockages and other pipes issues, you should discuss this matter with your neighbors. You can even identify who exactly is having problems. Suppose you hear sounds when neighbors flush their toilets or when you yourself drain your bathtub.

Then the level of blockage is lower than the previous access to the sewer. And if the noise appears much later after someone used a bathroom, the clogging is on top, above the pipe’s outlet.

Call a specialist

Almost everyone can use a plunger and sewer snake. But if such simple tools do not work, you should call a plumber. Such a specialist not only possesses the appropriate skills and carries more sophisticated tools (for example, a compact camera) but also has access to the main sewer drain and vents. They will be able to pinpoint the location of the blockage and fix the problem.

Replace pipes

If you managed to fix the problem with a plunger, but after a while, unpleasant sounds appeared again, it means the pipeline walls are clogged from the inside.

Air cannot pass freely back and forth, and even if you regularly clean it, nothing will change. In this case, you will have to do a complete replacement of the pipeline section. It will fix the problem for a long time.

Related Post: Best Macerating Toilets

How to clear a plugged toilet?

You can do it with tools like a plumber’s snake or plunger. If you don’t have a plumbing cable, you can replace it with a regular metal hanger. If the blockage is not severe, you can use boiling water, a mix of baking soda and vinegar, or acid-based chemicals.

Why is my toilet bubbling air?

As with gurgling, air bubbles appear due to the poor permeability of the pipes. There is probably a blockage in some part of the sewer system that interferes with water’s normal passage. Or debris has entered the ventilation pipe, which partially blocks air movement and creates incorrect pressure inside the tubes.

Why does my sink gurgle when I flush the toilet?

Since all sewer pipes are connected, a blockage in one of them can cause gurgling in others. A bubbling noise in a kitchen or bathroom sink indicates that there is clogging in the drain. It can be either on your floor or below/above a riser.

Fix Gurgling Toilet to Prevent Major Breakdowns

A bubbling toilet is a common problem in houses with rusted pipes and poorly functioning sewers. It is not worth neglecting minor breakdowns because light noise when draining water may indicate serious problems.

A blockage that is not cleared immediately leads to flooding of an apartment and significant damage to the main culprit. I hope my article will help you identify the problem on time and quickly get rid of it.

Please, tell me, how do you deal with gurgling pipes? Do you use DIY or professional tools?

Also read:

Gerald Carpenter

My name is Gerald Carpenter and I am a professional plumber in the third generation. My father was a plumber, my grandfather was a plumber. I wish I had records on my other ancestors.

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