Toilet Water Rises and Then Slowly Drains

Toilet Water Rises and Then Slowly Drains

Are you dealing with toilet water that keeps rising before it drains? There’s nothing quite like the panic of waiting to see whether the bowl overflows.

Even if you don’t have to deal with an overflow, this issue needs to be fixed before it gets worse.

Why does water slowly drain out of the toilet bowl?

The most common reason for slow draining is a clog in the pipes. Since the toilet still drains, you know that the pipes aren’t fully blocked.

But this can change if you try to flush more debris.

You can also run into issues if the ports around the toilet become clogged. These ports, hidden under the rim, are where water flows in.

When they’re clogged, they can make your toilet fill with water before it drains.

Another potential contributing problem might be the water tank. If the water tank is leaking, it can make the level in the toilet rise.

And if there’s not enough water in the tank, your toilet might struggle to flush properly, leading to slow draining.

How do you fix a toilet that fills up and drains slowly?

Step 1: Deal with the clog.

deal with the clog

Your approach for dealing with the clog might vary slightly depending on the circumstances. What is clogging the toilet?

Is it nonflushable items, or is it biodegradable matter?

Nonflushable items won’t break down in your pipes the way organic waste will. And they’re much more difficult to dislodge with conventional methods.

Try a plunger first. Fit it over the drain and then push it up and down a few times.

Doing so should create a vacuum that dislodges the clog. Flush the toilet to see whether the problem has been solved.

If you’re still having trouble, you could try an auger. This is a special kind of drain snake that you can feed into the pipes.

It will push into and dislodge a clog located further down.

One home solution for a stubborn clog is to flush some dish soap and warm water down the drain. Oftentimes this will loosen organic material.

The same goes for a mixture of baking soda and vinegar.

Step 2: Clean your rim jets.

If you’ve dealt with the clog, but your toilet is still overfilling, then there might be an issue with the rim jets. These are located below the rim.

You’ll need a toilet brush, basic toilet cleaner, and a coat hanger made of metal.

Follow these steps:

  • Unravel the hanger until you have a long wire.
  • Insert your wire into each hole under the rim of the toilet. This will break up any clogs.
  • Pour in some toilet cleaner.
  • Scrub around the bottom of the rim with your toilet brush.

Step 3: Check your tank.

check your tank

Take the lid off the tank and check the water level. If it’s low, you’ll want to either remove any objects inside or lift the tank float.

Lifting the float will help the water to rise more fully. Turn off your water supply, empty your tank with a flush, and pull the float up using your fingers.

What Causes a Toilet to Slowly Drain?

Most commonly, toilets drain slowly due to a clog in the drain. But sometimes other parts of the toilet are clogged as well.

It can also be related to the amount of water in your tank.

Low Water Level Inside Your Toilet Tank

The toilet tank stores the water needed for each flush. It is supposed to refill after every flush.

Most models need about two gallons per flush, although an older toilet might need more than that.

If there are problems with the toilet tank leaking or not becoming full enough, you won’t be able to get a powerful flush. There are quite a few reasons that water levels might become low.

If the chain inside the tank is stuck, it might slowly leak water into the toilet bowl.

Clogs in the Toilet

The most likely culprit behind a slow draining toilet is a clog.

Whether you have a septic or sewer system, it’s important not to put non-flushable items down the drain. These can include baby wipes, paper towels, and sanitary napkins.

Since these products don’t degrade like organic matter, they can become stuck and cause clogging.

If you dispose of a lot of non-flushable objects over time, you will always end up dealing with a clog eventually. It’s just a matter of how long it takes before the items build up in your pipes.

When this happens, the water will rise in the bowl when you flush and then drain slowly.

Clogs in Your Toilet Ports and Rim Jets

Have you ever thought about how water moves from your toilet tank to the bowl? It enters the bowl through several outlets around the rim.

These outlets can become clogged as well.

Rim jets are placed under the rim of the toilet bowl. There’s also a siphon jet on the bottom of the bowl.

In these cases, the clog causes the water to rise. That’s why you see a rise with the flush prior to the draining.

Home Remedy for Slow Draining Toilet

Home Remedy for Slow Draining Toilet

In most cases, a slow draining toilet is related to a clog. Not only can your drain become clogged, but there can also be clogs in the jets and ports.

A plunger is usually the first tool that you should use. This will allow you to dislodge the clog so that the debris can flush normally.

There are home remedies that you can try if the plunger doesn’t work right away, though.

For example, you can pour a cup of dish soap into the bowl. Follow it with a bucket of recently-boiled water.

When you flush the soap, it will make the clog more slippery and help to loosen the debris.

Another tried-and-true method is to use baking soda and vinegar. You’ll pour a cup of baking soda down the drain, then follow it with a cup of diluted vinegar.

Once this mixture has had about 20 minutes to work in your pipes, chase it down with a gallon of hot water.

Will my slow draining toilet naturally unclog itself?

Some slow draining toilets do unclog themselves. When the clog is made up of organic waste, it tends to break down itself within about 24 hours.

If you leave it overnight, you might find that you can flush the toilet in the morning.

However, this method is not advisable if you’re dealing with a big clog, or if the toilet smells! In these cases, you’ll want to get rid of the clog as fast as possible.


It can be frustrating to work with a malfunctioning toilet. If your toilet water is rising and then draining slowly, that’s usually an indication of a clog.

But you might also be dealing with too little water in the tank, or a clog in your rim jets.

If you follow conventional advice and still can’t unclog the toilet, it’s time to talk to a plumber. They’ll be able to diagnose the issue and use tools that you might not have at your disposal.