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Plumbing in the Home/3 ounce plastic cup flushed down toilet

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Question
QUESTION: I accidently flushed a 3 oz plastic cup down the toilet-any way to dissolve it or get it out? We have plastic pipes and septic.
Thank you,
Susan

ANSWER: Dear Susan,

    Someone with a good toilet snake may be able to extract the cup.  If it is the soft kind, then it should be fairly easy to do.... if it is a hard plastic then it may be necessary to pull the toilet and turn it upside down to get the cup to fall out.  Note that it may have to travel through the trap of the toilet which is an S type curve.

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cup
cup  
QUESTION: What type of snake would you recommend? Would a snake push it further down? It is a soft plastic, could I use something to help it dissolve or breakdown? How would I work the snake? Someone on the internet said to drain the water and it might come up, is that true?
God bless, too!!
Susan

Closet Auger
Closet Auger  
ANSWER: Dear Susan,
   
    I am going to try to attach a picture of a "Closet Auger" which is a snake for toilets.  Getting the cup to go further down the line is not a good idea since it could become lodged somewhere else and make a bigger problem.  Also, I don't know of anything that would dissolve it without harming the pipes or the toilet.

    The idea is to remove the cup in one piece if possible or else to break it up small enough to safely pass through the line.

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QUESTION: What would be the best way to try to break it up? Would using the auger make it go down further? The toilet has the gurgle today!! So not completely  clogged? I put dish soap and vinegar inside the bowl Anyway to get a camera down there? Can the cup safely pass through to the septic system?
God bless, Tom!! And thank you.

Answer
Dear Susan,

   The auger is designed with a hook to try and grasp objects and pull them back out of the toilet... it is also strong enough so that if it can't be pulled back up it could break it up into small pieces.  Anything that is small enough to pass through the bottom of the toilet should be small enough to fit through the pipes to the septic.

   A camera could be used, but would be very expensive.  If someone could pull the toilet and turn it upside down, you would probably see the cup lodged in the opening at the bottom.

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Thomas Ambler

Expertise

I am experienced at troubleshooting and solving all types of plumbing problems. Issues related to specific manufacturers fixtures and specifications though are beyond my field of expertise. I have dealt with problems in both rural and urban areas, and with water supply and drainage systems. Plumbing issues can be very obscure... such as odors, stains or occasional seepage. I have even had to chase rats from a customer's sewer line.

Experience

I have 25 years experience dealing with plumbing systems (which also includes hot water and steam heating systems). My main expertise is in diagnosing and solving problems. I have worked in construction and installation of new systems but do not regard myself as an expert in that area.

Publications
Asbury Park Press, Seattle Times, Denver Post.

Education/Credentials
I completed high school and one year of college. I served 4 years in the Marine Corps and have education in electronic and electrical troubleshooting and repair. I have attended classes on installing and repair of oil burners, and I have EPA universal certification for air conditioning and refrigeration. I am now enrolled as a full-time student at Everest college to re-train for a new career. Any donations of financial support would be greatly appreciated.

Past/Present Clients
All of Denny's Restaurants in NJ, Several Burger King stores, I have done work at two different homes for Bruce Springsteen. I have also worked for Jim Johnson (of J&J) and his family, Whitney Houston, Steve Forbes and many others.

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