Why is my Toilet Gurgling?

Gurgling Toilet Got You Worried? The Causes & Solutions

If your toilet isn’t flushing as smoothly as it used to and has developed a gurgling sound, it’s easy to start picturing the worst-case scenario. But before you panic, take a deep breath. At Drainflow, we’ve been unblocking and repairing drains in Beds, Bucks, Herts, and North London for more than two decades. We’ve heard (and fixed!) every kind of gurgling noise a toilet can make.

Our blog will answer the question ‘why is my toilet gurgling?’ and help you to take the appropriate steps to make it stop!


Why Does Your Toilet Gurgle? 4 Possible Causes

That gurgling sound isn’t just your toilet clearing its throat – it’s a sign that something’s disrupting the normal flow of air and water within your plumbing system. Here are the usual suspects:

  1. Partial Blockage – A minor blockage in your toilet’s drain or the main drain pipe can trap air, causing those gurgling noises as water tries to squeeze past. This is often the easiest issue to fix, and we’ll give you some DIY tips to tackle it.
  2. Blocked Vent Pipe – Your plumbing system has vents that allow air to escape and maintain proper pressure. If a vent pipe gets clogged with leaves or debris, the air pressure in your pipes gets thrown off balance, leading to gurgling sounds.
  3. Main Sewer Line Blockage – This is a more serious issue where the main sewer line connecting your home to the sewage system gets blocked. If your toilet gurgles alongside other drains in your house backing up or draining slowly, this could be the problem.

Is Your Toilet Trying to Tell You Something Else?

Alongside gurgling, you should also watch out for the water in the toilet bowl being slow to drain after flushing, which would indicate a partial blockage, or bubbles forming when you flush. Keep a check on any bad sewage type smells coming from your toilet, too – they a clear indication of problems with blockages in your drainage system.

Don’t worry, we’re here to help! Understanding the potential causes is the first step towards solving your gurgling toilet mystery. Next, we’ll take a look at some simple fixes you can try yourself.


Can You Plunge Away a Gurgling Toilet?

Good news! If a minor blockage is behind your toilet’s gurgling symphony, you might be able to fix it yourself with a simple plunger.

Can You Plunge Away a Gurgling Toilet?

How Local Blockages Happen

Your toilet is designed for flushing water, toilet paper and waste. Sometimes, however, things that shouldn’t go down the drain find their way in. We’re talking about excessive toilet paper, flushable wipes (which aren’t always as flushable as they claim), sanitary products, or even small toys or objects. These items accumulate over time, creating a partial blockage that disrupts the normal flow, leading to gurgling sounds.

Plunger to the Rescue – Your DIY Guide

Step 1: Choose the Right Plunger – A flange plunger, the kind with a rubber flap extending from the cup, works best for toilets. It creates a better seal around the drain opening.

Step 2: Prepare the Scene – Make sure there’s enough water in the toilet bowl to cover the plunger’s cup. This helps create the necessary suction.

Step 3: Get a Good Seal – Place the plunger over the drain opening, ensuring a tight seal.

Step 4: Plunge with Purpose – Push down firmly to create suction, then pull back sharply. Repeat this motion several times, gradually increasing the force.

Step 5: Check for Success – Flush the toilet to see if the water drains normally. If it does, congratulations! You’ve conquered the blockage. If not, try plunging a few more times.

The Gurgling Returns? Time to Call in the Experts

If the gurgling persists even after multiple plunging attempts, or if it keeps coming back, it’s time to call in the professionals. This could indicate a more stubborn or deeply lodged blockage. At Drainflow, we have the expertise and tools to diagnose and fix these issues quickly and effectively

Remember – Don’t pour harsh chemicals down your toilet to try and clear a blockage. They can damage your pipes and are harmful to the environment.


Is a Blocked Vent Pipe the Culprit Behind Your Bubbling Toilet?

If your plunging efforts haven’t silenced the gurgling, or if you notice bubbles rising in your toilet bowl after flushing, the problem might lie in your plumbing’s ventilation system.

Is a Blocked Vent Pipe the Culprit Behind Your Bubbling Toilet?

Vent pipes (also known as soil stacks or vent stacks) are like the lungs of your plumbing. They run vertically from your drains to the roof, allowing air to flow freely and maintain balanced pressure in your pipes. This pressure balance is crucial for smooth drainage. If a vent pipe gets clogged the trapped air creates a vacuum effect. This vacuum disrupts the water flow, causing your toilet to gurgle and bubble as air struggles to escape.

Why Professional Drain Clearance is Essential for Vent Pipe Blockages

Clearing a blocked vent pipe isn’t a DIY job. It often requires specialised tools like high-pressure water jet (drain jetting) to dislodge the blockage. Plus, vent pipes are typically located on your roof, making it too risky for anyone without the proper safety equipment and experience.

Our drain clearance team at Drainflow is experienced at clearing vent pipe blockages. We have the right tools and expertise to access and clear the obstruction safely, restoring proper airflow and eliminating those gurgles.


Is Your Gurgling Toilet a Sign of a Deeper Problem?

If your toilet’s gurgling chorus is accompanied by slow drainage in your sinks and showers, the issue might extend beyond your toilet itself and into your main sewer line.

How Sewer Line Blockages Happen

The sewer line is the main pipeline carrying wastewater from your home to the main sewage system. Blockages build up, over time, to cause problems in this vital artery:

  • Tree Roots – Roots naturally seek out water and nutrients, and your sewer line can become an attractive target. As roots infiltrate the pipe, they create blockages and can even cause the pipe to crack or collapse.
  • Grease and Fat – Pouring cooking grease and fats down your drains may seem harmless, but they solidify as they cool, clinging to the pipe walls and accumulating debris, eventually leading to a blockage.
  • Toilet Paper and Wipes – While toilet paper is designed to break down in water, excessive amounts can overwhelm the system. Flushable wipes, despite their name, often don’t disintegrate as easily and can contribute to blockages.
  • Foreign Objects – Items like sanitary products, disposable nappies, paper towels, and even children’s toys can find their way into the sewer line, causing major obstructions.

Drainflow’s Solutions for Sewer Line Blockages

If you suspect a sewer line blockage, it’s crucial to address it promptly to avoid sewage backups and potential damage to your property. Drainflow offers a range of professional solutions to tackle even the most stubborn blockages:

  • CCTV Drain SurveyOur state-of-the-art remote-control CCTV cameras allow us to visually inspect the inside of your sewer line, pinpointing the exact location and cause of the blockage.
  • High-Pressure Drain Jetting This powerful technique blasts away blockages, tree roots, and debris, restoring the free flow of wastewater through your sewer line.

Don’t Let a Gurgling Toilet Disrupt Your Peace of Mind

If your toilet is making strange noises or showing signs of trouble, don’t hesitate to contact the experts at Drainflow. Whether it’s a simple clog, a blocked vent pipe, or a deeper sewer line issue, we have the experience, tools, and know-how to diagnose and fix the problem quickly and efficiently.


Don’t wait for a minor gurgle to turn into a major plumbing disaster. Contact Drainflow today and let us restore harmony to your home’s plumbing system.