Can Plunging a Toilet Damage The Wax Ring?

Wax ring provides a watertight seal between the sewer pipe and toilet. It lasts for decades if you can keep it in good shape and well maintained. But it can be damaged easily by inaccurate plunging. 

Can Plunging a Toilet Damage the Wax Ring?

Yes, wrong plunging in the toilet can damage wax rings. Because when you apply too much sudden pressure while plunging, the force can break the Wax Seal. So if you see toilet wax ring leak symptoms; such as water leaking from the toilet or get a bad odor smell after plunging, it signifies there is something wrong with the wax ring. 

Luckily, following some precautions and steps can save your toilet. Wondering how to do a correct plunging without harming your toilet? Come on. We can help you to make it in 5 easy steps! 

Let’s get started! 

can plunging a toilet damage the wax ring

How to Plunge a Toilet Without Damaging the Wax Ring?

Before diving into the steps of plunging without damaging the wax rings, you should know the reasons behind the damage. Once you understand how your wrong plunging damages the ring, you’ll know how to preserve the wax integrity and understand the steps better.

Reason to Damage Wax Ring for Plunging

Your toilet can be blocked in various locations. And you never know where the clog is placed. 

If the block is before the wax ring, the exerted force will directly run down the clog in the drain without damaging the wax ring.  But when the clog is after the wax ring, the plunging force will also create pressure on the ring. Thus it damaged the ring quickly and badly.

Moreover, while plunging, you’ll compress the plunger downwards, which doesn’t create much pressure and won’t harm the ring. But pulling it outwards can stretch the wax and damage it easily. 

After that, when you continuously push and pull the plunger, the ring will be damaged by time. Besides, it doesn’t have any recovery or resistance power to withstand the upwards forces. 

Rubber or foam materials are more force resistant and can recover their shape quickly. But these wax materials don’t have the recovery power and won’t get back their original shape after plunging. Thus it causes damage to the ring with each plunging and serious leak. So it would help if you tried a non-wax seal to avoid frequent damage to your wax ring.

How to Install a Toilet Wax Ring - ...
How to Install a Toilet Wax Ring - Master Plumber Advice - 05-02-2022 - Ask the Builder

5 Steps to Plunge Toilet Without Damaging Wax Ring

Wax rings are key components of toilets, ensuring an odor-proof seal. But due to improper plunging, it breaks and loses its utility. 

Otherwise, you can’t use the toilet anymore when water starts leaking. But calling a plumber will cost a lot of money. That’s why you need to know how to plunge the toilet without knocking off the wax ring. 

Here are our 5 simple step-by-step instructions. By following them you can easily plunge clogged toilets. Keep reading till the end so you won’t miss a single piece of points.

Step 1: Find a Correct Plunger

First, you need a correct plunger for your toilet that won’t damage the wax ring. For this, you can buy a plunger that is similar to a basketball cut in half. It’s known as a standard plunger. Also, some plunger has an extended flange that’s good for unclogging a toilet.

Step 2: Take Precautions Before Plunging

Take a bucket and a pair of hand gloves if you’re going to plunge into a toilet that is full of water. Wear hand gloves to prevent germs or bacteria. After that, use the bucket to scoop half of the water from the bowl.

Step 3: Place the Plunger in the Toilet Bowl

Now you’ve to place the plunger’s head on the side of the inner toilet bowl. Don’t submerge it rather than keep the surface in touch above the water. Later on, push down the plunger slowly. As you’re not creating any force on the drain opening, it won’t affect the wax ring. Push against the side of the toilet. 

Step 4: Continue Plunging

Move the plunger’s bulb smoothly in a downward direction into the toilet bowl. Then pull it upwards in a jerking motion.  Continue making this motion until clogs come out from the bowl.

Step 5: Slide Plunge Over the Drain Opening

Notice that yet you’re not pushing the plunger on the drain opening but against the side of the toilet bowl. Once it achieves suction power,  slide it over the opening and pull it upwards. 

This action will force the wax ring that goes inside towards the center. So it won’t damage the ring.

Quick Plunging Tips

While plunging, remember the following tips and tricks to get a better result. 

  • Ensure you have a sufficient water level in the toilet bowl to submerge the plunger to create more water pressure on the clog.
  • Start plunging with a swift movement that allows air to escape easily within the plunger without blowing a lot of water out of the toilet bowl.
  • Once the air escapes, continue to plunge vigorously inwards and outwards. 
  • Focus on dislodging the clogs rather than pushing the force downwards.

Our plunging process ends there. Following every step and tip will successfully help you to unclog the toilet without causing damage to your wax ring. But if you’re looking for alternative plunging methods, keep reading on the several methods we discussed below.

Alternative Ways of Plunging

You should not take the risk of plunging if you’re not sure whether you can do it perfectly. But you also don’t want to leave the toilet clogged. So, here we have shared some excellent alternative options you can employ. Let’s take a look.

1. White Vinegar and Baking Soda

These ingredients should always be available in your kitchen. Their properties can effectively break down the substance and help to unclog the toilet and prevent any skid marks.

Make a solution of 1 cup of vinegar and 1 tablespoon baking soda mixture and apply them to your toilet bowl. If needed, repeat the process several times.

2. Hot water

Hot water can soften the clogs and help to unclog them. But use just hot water instead of boiling water. Because if your toilet has porcelain material, boiling water can highly crack it.

However, pour the hot water into the toilet bowl and leave it for 20-30 minutes. After that, flush the toilet several times to move the clog away through the pipe. 

3. Shampoo or dishwashing liquid

 Shampoo and Dish Soap are the other popular names for unclogging toilets. Because these ingredients lubricate the clog and help to loosen it, thus you can easily flush the toilet and move the clog down. You can also use little bar soap.

4. Epsom salts

Epsom salt works great for softening hard poop stains and softening the clogs so that you can flush them down the pipe. Add a few cups of Epsom salt into the toilet water and allow it to sit for one hour before flushing the toilet.

Don’t have Epsom salts right now? Worry not. Use bath bombs for unclogging the toilet.

5. Toilet Brush

You must have a toilet brush in your toilet. And now you can turn it into a great tool for unclogging toilets instead of plunging. Although it doesn’t allow you to create a force as a plunger, you can do your job. Push the brush in and out onto the toilet bowl drain opening, and the pressure will displace the clog through the P-trap or toilet drain pipe. 

6. Bleach and Powdered Dish Detergent

Bleach and powdered dish detergent work great together to soften any clog. Make a paste of bleach and powdered dish detergent and apply to the toilet bowl. Add some hot water into the mixture to increase effectiveness and flush the toilet after half an hour. We hope you can effectively remove the clog away. 

7. Toilet Auger

Toilet snake and toilet auger are similar Clog Removal Tools used for unclogging toilets. You’ll find two types of augers, including manual and electric. No matter which one you have now, insert it into the toilet bowl opening until it reaches the clogs. Then turn it on to break the clog and flush several times to move the clog away. 

8. Cloth wire hanger

If you have no basic hand tools from above, you can make your cloth wire hanger usable to remove the clog. 

Following these methods will definitely help you unclog the toilet without plunging and save your wax ring as well. But if these methods don’t work, your toilet should be clogged with some solid blockage like cat litter. In that case, check out how to unclog the toilet from cat litter or call any professional plumbers near you.

FAQs

Question: Why do toilet wax rings fail?

Answer: A failed wax ring’s leading cause is a loose toilet. When the toilet isn’t firmly installed, it will rock back and forth and cause the wax ring to break the seal and leak. If you observe standing and puddle water around your toilet base, it indicates a wax ring failure.

Question: When should I replace my toilet wax ring?

Answer: In general, a toilet wax ring lifespan is almost 20-30 years without any maintenance. But sometimes, it can lose its seal, crumble, or dry out for some reason. So when water leaks around the base of the toilet or you get foul sewer gas odors, you should replace your toilet wax ring. 

Question: Toilet wax ring replacement cost?

Answer: Replacing a wax ring is very expensive and costs you approximately 50 to 200 dollars. The materials, wax ring, expertise, and time costs are included there. But a new wax ring cost starts from 2 dollars and reaches up to 10 dollars. So, replacing a wax ring is not a good idea.

Question: What dissolves toilet ring wax?

Answer: Mineral spirits are a great solvent to dissolve toilet wax rings. It’s used for cutting through several types of grime, including the sticky wax residue. First, take a plastic putty knife and scrape up the wax layer as much as possible. Next, apply mineral water into the funky layer of wax residue with a rag or cloth and scrub the wax gently to remove its residue.

Question: Can a plunger cause damage?

Answer: Yes. You can remove any minor clog with a plunger without causing damage. But if the clog is larger and placed after the wax ring, it may be unable to be removed with the pressure of a plunger. Otherwise,  aggressive plunging will damage your wax ring and drain line. In that case, you better go for professional help. 

Final Words

Hope you got the answer regarding Can Plunging a Toilet Damage the Wax Ring? We know changing a damaged ring is quite troublesome and you want to avoid this hassle. So we recommend you to follow each step of plunging for an intact wax ring and keep your toilet in good working condition.

So that’s all for today. If you have any further inquiries, we’re here for you.

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