Soap down the Drain

Updated on January 24, 2011
T.T. asks from Chicago, IL
8 answers

My 18 month old daughter dropped a bar of decorative soap ,tightly wrapped in plastic, in the toilet. I didn't actual see her do it. After a few seconds of silence( the universal sign that your toddler is up to something)I found her in the bathroom. Later that day I discovered that the toilet wouldn't flush and the soap was missing.( just her and I home at the time). It's been Five days! I thought that the soap would just dissolve,but I think the plastic it's wrapped in is preventing that. What should i do now?

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So What Happened?

I want to thank everyone for all of the wonderful suggestion for my soapy situation a few month ago. turns out there were TWO bars of soap. My husband retreived them by taking the entire toliet up.

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answers from San Diego on

My husband is a plumber he said you should go to Home Depot get a toliet auger. He said they are about $30 but it will clear the soap without a problem. Follow the directions and you should have no problems using it.

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answers from Modesto on

If you have another bar of the same put it in the sink with some hot water and see if it disolves, if it does you will be in luck. Take your bathroom trash can and keep filling it with hot water from the bathtub, hold the bucket high and poor it into the toilet, do this over and over, the pressure and heat of the water should push it through. If its tightly wrapped and wont disolve you will probably have to have someone pull the toilet up and get it out, it's probably lodged in that little turny part. Bummer. The hot water trick works miracles tho most of the time, so try it, even if you have to dump 25 buckets..... sometimes it's that 25th dump that does the trick. Good luck!

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answers from Chicago on

I'm assuming you've tried plunging and flushing as you would do with a normally clogged toilet? This may help in dislodging the blockage. The hot water sounds like a good idea too, if you can get the water away by flushing. On a side note during potty training my son, he flushed his underwear down the toilet - all I could hear was the sound of the toilet constantly flushing and when I went to investigate all I saw was a bare backside and a head looking down into the toilet bowl. I had to plunge quite a few times before the toilet really cleared. He is six now and I still remind him now and then, that some lucky fisherman has probably hooked his camo boxers on his fishing line in Lake Michigan by now!

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answers from Oklahoma City on

First of all, I am going to share what happened to me right after my daughter was born. This is a true story, not just an "It might happen" story.

I was working at Anthony's in OKC by South Community Hospital and a co-worker came up to me and was nearly in tears. She told me she wanted to tell me what happened to her son. He had wandered in to the bathroom and had leaned over the rim and fell in the toilet and drowned. I always keep the bathroom door closed and when the little guys got bigger I got door knob protectors that they cannot open.

Please go buy some tomorrow and get them on the bathroom doorknobs. You could have just as easily found a drowned child as one that just played in the toilet.

Her son was between 18 months and 2 years old if I remember correctly.

Second of all, I think you'll just have to see if the soap dissolves or use a plumbers snake to try to get it out.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Topeka on

OH how funny my 22 month old daughter opened a new box of Dove & flushed it down the toilet just on Thursday it was stuck in the trap we couldn't use the toilet had to plunge it till hubby came home to take off the toilet bowl then there it was stuck..I should of poured boiling water down all day to help it dissolve you can try that or hubby will just have to take the bowl off to get the soap.



answers from Redding on

Well, I guess it depends on how tightly wrapped it was in the plastic. Some soaps are super sealed. You might bet the water hot enough to soften the soap a little so it will flush all the way through.
You might need to get a snake. That would clear it within minutes.

Good luck with that!
A friend's little kid flushed a toy truck down the toilet and it called for desperate measures.

Hope you get it worked out.



answers from Chicago on

Get a router or call a plumber. The plastic could cause major backups in your plumbing. You don't want to pay for the damage it could do.



answers from Chicago on

When you said the toilet won't flush, could you expand on that? Does the mechanism on the outside of the toilet not flush? Or does the handle work, but the water will not drain down and out of bowl?

1) Try a plunge if you haven't already.
2) sometimes it helps to turn the toilet water off (valve under toilet into wall) turn one way for on and opposite for off-but go slow--especially if you live in a cold state, you don't want to shock the pipe, so to speak--the pipe will make a rattling vibrating sound)
3) If you have the funds, means, go to hardware store (home depot, etc) and purchase a thin thing called an auger (spelling). It will allow you to "snake" the drain so to speak. Use it slowly, as you don't want to force anything, and cause any damage further.

whatever you do, do NOT use any chemicals to help flush the drain. It will only cause problems long term.

if you end up needing a plumber, let me know, I can give you tips on "how not to be "screwed over" by plumbers and their pipes. :P)

Best of luck to you!!!
and that soap :) (p.s. if you know the brand of the soap, you could contact them for questions about the type of material that is used in the soap--it might assist you in how you "break up the soap)


Oooh before you call a plumber and go out and buy an auger try these tips first (sorry forgot to add them to last tip)

Flush only once. If it's not flushing the first time, don't flush again. This will cause more water to be pumped into the toilet bowl. If the toilet becomes clogged, the first flush will not cause the bowl to overflow, but the second flush might.

Make sure the water supply to the toilet is off. Like I mentioned in my previous tip, It should be located right behind the toilet, and looks like a regular faucet knob.Do not shut off the supply for the house, since this will prevent others from using water. If the water is off to at least the toilet, this will prevent the bathroom from flooding.

Add a little dish soap (a few squirts) to the toilet. Pour a pot or half a bucket of tap-hot water from about waist level into the bowl. (The water should not be hotter than a hot tea or coffee) -- but do not use boiling water, since hotter water can crack porcelain. Use half a bucket of water because too little water won't work. (the goal is to raise the temperature of the water passing around or pressing on the clog. Let that sit for a few minutes.)

Sometimes doing this will soften a clog enough for the clog to loosen and clear on its own. If the water has not gone down, move on to the plunging method.

P.S. The reason you pour from waist level is because the weight of the water can help to clear the clog, or erode it away if some amount of water is getting through.

(*I should mention that if it involves a toy, for example then plunging will not work)
Use a large heavy-duty rubber plunger, either the ball-shaped type or one with a fold-out rubber flange on the bottom which forms a seal. Do not use the small cheap suction-cup type of plunger - these will often not work. Remember, the larger the plunger, the more force you can apply down into the clogged drain. The plunger should have a shape which ensures that the water you force out of it when you push down does not shoot back up into the toilet bowl instead of pushing into the drain.

Insert plunger(*SEE BELOW FOR HOW TO IMPROVE SEAL) into the bowl and press down firmly but slowly. Make sure you're covering the hole completely. The plunger should be submerged in water to be effective. It is important to be pushing and pulling with water not air. Add water to the bowl if necessary. Sharply pull up on the plunger to create suction in the drain, then push in to create pressure. Remember, the clog got jammed going in, so don't be too aggressive with your pushing because you might just jam it further. It is more the suction than the pressure, constantly disturbing the clog in both directions that will gradually cause it to be loosened. If the plunging eventually drains the bowl but the clog is still blocking a free flow down the drain, leave the plunger in the bowl and fill the bowl with water again. Fill it to the point it is normally after a regular flush. Then plunge again.You may have to do this a number of times.

WHEN PLUNGING DOESN'T WORK: a wire coat hanger may clear the obstruction. This will generally work if there is an obstruction in the first few inches of the drain.

Unravel the coat hanger. Twist the top ends of the coat hanger apart until they are no longer connected

Stick one end of the wire into the drain. Once the wire is in the drain, twist it, push it, and maneuver it in a circular motion to clear the drain.

A snake (also sometimes called a "flexible cleaning tool" or "auger") is a flexible coil of wire that can "snake" through the curves of a drain and get deeper than a wire can. The best snake is a "closet auger" which is designed specifically to clear toilet clogs without damaging or staining the bowl. A plumber would likely use a closet auger.

Insert one end of the snake into the drain and push down, feeding the snake further into the drain until you feel an obstruction. Twist and push the snake through the obstruction until the water begins to drain. (some people have tried this, although I do not recommend: Snake in reverse. It may become necessary to remove the toilet and run the snake through in the opposite direction. This is especially true with hard obstructions)

TRY USING A WET/DRY VACUUM BEFORE wire hanger and auger)

Empty the water out of the bowl using the vacuum.
Place the end of the hose a few inches into the drain.
Use just the flexible hose; no attachments.
Use old towels to create a seal around the drain.
turn on the vacuum and push pressure on the towels to create a good seal. There's a good chance the vacuum can suck out the clog.

This is not a fast method and will only work on organic waste (not objects or hair). But overnight, it can clear a toilet.

Get a product that contains a mixture of enzymes that "eat" waste materials. Products of this sort can be usually be purchased at home improvement stores, etc... These enzymes are used in septic systems to break down waste. Just be sure to follow instructions on bottles.

Pour one box of Baking Soda (fridge size) into the bowl of the toilet. Then slowly begin to pour a medium sized bottle of vinegar into the bowl of the toilet. You must pour slowly, and pause, adding the vinegar when it begins to foam up. The baking soda and vinegar create a chemical process that help to dissolve clogs, it is a slow process, but it works pretty well. Once the entire bottle of vinegar is poured into the bowl, let it set for a few minutes. Then add a gallon of hot tap water into the toilet bowl, it helps the baking soda and vinegar to do it's job. If you can, let this sit overnight.


Before a clog: If you see (or hear) water backing up in the sinks or showers whenever you flush, that means there's a deep clog that will eventually stop your toilet from working properly. Don't bother with the above methods, call a plumber because they will need to rod the line and possibly TV it to DX the back up within the pipes.

NORMAL MAINTENANCE: clean the jets around the toilet bowl's edge (keeps toilet flushing fullpower), making it less likely to clog. If you haven’t cleaned them in a while, you might need to carefully use a screwdriver to clear buildup

BTW: I am a plumbers daughter :) so I hope these tips help out. :)

USE RUBBER GLOVES (Long ones) and after emptying bowl, try and place your gloved hand into the hole, if it's lodged close enough, you could grab it out, saving you lots of these other suggestions I've listed. (although it sounds gross.) :)

3) before plunging, run hot water over the rubber portion of the plunger-it will soften it and help improve suction by creating a better sucking seal

Do not push or pull the plunger violently when it is in the toilet bowl as it is unnecessary and will cause splashing.

I mentioned not using drain-cleaning chemicals not just because they are generally extremely toxic and hazardous but if you still want to follow the chemical route, please take these tips into account: (including the plunger force just above here):

do not mix chemicals.
Most drain cleaners available in retail stores for home use are not appropriate for toilets.

Check the product label to ensure the product is compatible for use with toilet drains.

(Coat hangers and drain snakes can scratch the porcelain of the toilet. Try to be careful to minimize the damage, at least in the visible part of the bowl.)

Never use a plunger right after adding the drain-cleaning chemicals. The chemicals could possibly shoot back up onto your skin.

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