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Flush It Once, Flush It Twice: Why Your Toilet Won’t Flush all the Way

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You spend about 27 minutes on the toilet every day.

After spending that much time in the bathroom doing “the business,” you want to flush it and be done. You don’t want to stand in front of the toilet waiting for the tank to fill back up so you can flush it again.

Unfortunately, that’s sometimes what happens.

But there is a reason—and a fix—for a stubborn flushing toilet. We’ve put together this list of common reasons your toilet won’t flush all the way the first time to help you figure out what’s wrong.

So let’s dive in!

The Toilet Won’t Flush All the Way

Your toilet stores water in the bowl and the tank. Every time you flush the toilet, water flows out of the tank into the bowl, which creates a siphon effect. This should suck everything out of the toilet bowl and carry it down the drain.

If you have to flush the toilet twice, there most likely isn’t enough water flowing into the bowl. This means the siphoning effect is too weak to clear everything out of the toilet in one go.

There are a few different reasons this can happen.

1. Your Low-Flush Toilet Isn’t Working

Low-flush toilets are designed to save water, meaning they use less water than other toilets. If you have a cheap or low-quality low-flush toilet, it might not create enough suction power with its limited water.

This can lead to double flushing, which wastes more water than a normal toilet would use in one go. In other words, a bad low-flush toilet isn’t doing you any favors.

There isn’t much you can do to save a poor-quality low-flush toilet. The best thing to do is to replace your current toilet with a new one.

2. The Flapper Is Old

The flapper is what keeps the water in your tank from flowing freely into the bowl. But a flapper that is old and worn down might not be doing its job.

For example, an old flapper can crack. This will allow water to slowly leak into the toilet bowl. When it comes time to flush, the tank won’t have enough water to create a strong enough suction.

If your toilet requires one flush sometimes and two flushes other times, an old flapper is most likely the cause of your troubles.

3. The Flapper Closes Too Soon

Even if you have a new flapper, it can still be the source of your double flushing problem.


It might be closing too soon. If this happens, it doesn’t allow enough water to rush into the bowl, meaning there isn’t enough power to push everything down the drain in one go.

You might be able to fix this problem on your own by shortening the chain. This will keep the flapper up a few seconds longer, which can give the right amount of water a chance to make its way into the bowl.

You’ll know a fast-closing flapper is the culprit if your toilet flushes just fine when you hold the handle down.

4. There’s Hard Water Buildup in the Bowl

Hard water contains a high amount of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. Over time, these minerals can build up inside the holes that let water flow from the tank into the toilet bowl.

In other words, your toilet doesn’t get enough water when it flushes. Because of this, you’ll have to flush the toilet several times to clear out all the waste.

5. There’s a Partial Clog

You might have to flush your toilet twice because there’s a partial clog somewhere in the pipes. This type of clog can restrict the amount of water that makes it down the drain, meaning you have to try several times to get rid of it all.

There are a few different things that can cause a partial clog.

First of all, it can be the minerals in hard water. Remember, hard water leaves a mineral buildup behind, so it can clog your pipes as well as your toiler bowl.

The clog can also be caused by flushing items down the toilet that doesn’t belong there. This can include things like sanitary items, bathroom trash, and other debris. Even something small like dental floss can start a clog.

Of course, things like toilet paper or waste can also catch on the wall of the pipe and create a partial clog. There isn’t much you can do to avoid these types of clogs except watch the amount of toilet paper you use. Too much toilet paper can fill up the pipe and catch other things with it.

How to Fix a Toilet That Won’t Flush All the Way the First Time

You should never try to fix a toilet that won’t flush all the way on your own, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. You might not have the right tools to get the job done, or you can accidentally cause more harm than good.

Instead, you should talk to a professional plumber.

They’ll be able to find the cause of your flushing problem, and they’ll have the right experience and tools to fix the problem. They’ll also have the right replacement parts should you need them, meaning you won’t have to waste money on the wrong part.

Not sure how to get in touch with the right plumber?

We can help!

Click here to take a look at our residential plumbing services. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today!

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