Toilet Gurgling: How to Fix a Gurgling Toilet [2021]

It’s normal for your toilet to make some sort of noise when you flush.

However, oftentimes it may make sounds that you aren’t too familiar with like gurgling at the end of a flush.

Toilet gurgles when flushed can be an indication of air getting out backward because of blockages or several other things.

Sometimes you’ll hear your toilet bubbling randomly or gurgles as well but don’t worry if your toilet does this as you may not need a plumber to fix this issue.

Today, we’ll be taking a look at how to fix a gurgling toilet.

Even if you have no major plumbing skills, if you follow these steps in this article, you should be able to get rid of the gurgling sounds.

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60166A - Neiko 60166A Toilet Plunger with Patented All-Angle...
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Green Gobbler Drain Clog Dissolver, 31 oz
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Fluidmaster 400CRP14 Toilet Fill Valve and Flapper Repair...
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Why is my toilet gurgling?

Your toilet could be gurgling because of problems in your venting system or drain system.

When the water is pushing air out in your toilet or your sink, the air becomes trapped somewhere along the way through. 

If that happens, it means there is a blockage or that something is wrong with the venting system.

For example, if you have a sink plug in place then, the trapped air has nowhere to go except the toilet. 

Due to this, the trapped air travels into the toilet and gets released which results in the gurgling sound you hear.

Things you’ll need to fix a gurgling toilet

If you’re going to be tackling any plumbing issues around the home no matter how big or how small, there are a few things you’ll need.

For starters, you need a rubber plunger and a drain snake that you know how to use.

If you’re not familiar with these tools then you can try a chemical drain cleaner or a simple toilet brush and bleach which is commonly found in every household.

The next things to grab are a couple of rags or towels since we’ll be dealing with water so you need to be prepared for spills.

You may need duct tape as well to seal off drains before you plunge the toilet.

If you have pluggers to seal the drains then duct tape isn’t necessary.

That’s about the basic tools you’ll need to fix your toilet woes.

After you identify the reason for your toilet gurgling, you may need a few other items.

In some cases, you may be required to replace the water inlet line or parts of the flushing system inside the tank and sometimes the entire flushing system.

However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Let us first take a look at what is causing the problem and how to fix it.

How to fix a gurgling toilet 

If your toilet bubbles when flushed, gurgles or drain slowly then you may have a blockage somewhere in the drain pipes and you need to get rid of it.

The blockage causes negative air pressure or suction in your plumbing system which is why the air comes back to the toilet and makes the bubbling and gurgling sounds.

However, this is not the only reason as you’ll see as we dive deeper into the article.

1.  Fix air bubbles in the toilet drain pipes

Air is common in our plumbing system and plays an important role.

Throughout the decades, we’ve been trying to figure out ways to prevent it from coming back up from the sewers and with the P-trap and the S-trap, we’ve done exactly that.

Both the P-trap and S-trap prevent gases and smells from coming back up from the sewers. 

They work as a barrier in the toilet system so that waste does not come back to the toilet.

So where are the air bubbles coming from then?

The air bubbles may be coming from the pipe that brings water to the toilet and the toilet tank.\

It is not coming from the pipe that brings the waste to the sewer.

So now that you have an idea of what’s causing the bubbling sound, you must be wondering what’s causing the gurgling.

Well, the gurgling should only be heard when the tank is being refilled.

As the tank refills, the air bubbles can find ways to disrupt the water source.

To get rid of the air bubbles, you can turn on all the faucets on the same water line and keep them running until they stop sputtering.

The next time you flush, the water should go down smoothly and if it doesn’t then it may be the pipes that have an issue.

2.  Empty clogged vent stacks

If all is well with your drain pipes then the problem could be a result of issues in the vent pipe so you will need to turn your attention here.

In American standard toilets, the vent pipe is usually connected to the roof to create the air pressure necessary for waste to flush.

However, if the opening of the vent pipe isn’t covered, it can become clogged.

Small birds tend to make their nest in it and bats find it as the perfect place to take a nap.

Other animals like reptiles can also be in the pipe.

Leaves and other small debris can also find their way into the pipe which can lead to blockage and restrict airflow.

This disrupts the air pressure in the vent and can be the reason for the gurgling sound coming from the toilet.

If you believe your vent pipe isn’t covered and you have easy access to your roof, you can fix the problem.

You’ll need a flashlight, rope, hook, wire and drain snake. 

If you have a quiet air compressor then that’ll come in handy too or you can just use a garden hose.

First, tie the flashlight with the rope and slowly lower it into the vent pipe and have a peek inside.

Can you see if there’s something there or not?

If you noticed anything in the pipe then you need to remove it.

Take your hook, wire or drain snake and try to remove whatever obstacle is in the vent pipe.

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If that doesn’t work and you have an air compressor, use it.

The high-pressured air from the compressor should be able to clear away any debris that is blocking the flow of air in the vent pipe.

If you don’t have an air compressor then a strong blast of water can do the trick. 

Use your garden hose if it can reach all the way up to your roof and send a strong blast of water through the pipe.

Either of these methods should help in getting rid of any clogs in the vent pipe.

3. Identify the reason for and fix a clogged toilet

The most common reason why toilet gurgles at the end of a flush could be because of a clog somewhere in the plumbing.

The clog could be preventing the flushed water from passing through the pipes which results in the air coming back up the drain and producing the gurgling sound.

Clogs are fairly common so you should already have what you need right at home to solve this problem.

You will need a plunger, drain snake or a chemical clog buster to get rid of the clog. 

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If you try to plunge your toilet the normal way and it doesn’t work then try this next step. 

Seal off all nearby drains since they share the same waste pipes as your toilet. 

When you seal the drains in the sink, shower and on the bathroom floor, the air pressure inside the pipes increases as you plunge the toilet. 

As mentioned before you can seal off the drains using duct tape or placing their pluggers in place. 

 if that does not work and the waste still isn’t going through, it’s time to use the drain snake. 

This invasive method of sending a line down the pipe should dislodge whatever is causing the clog. 

As a reminder remember to never flush items that are not waste or toilet paper. 

Some people tend to flush wet wipes, cigarette butts, q-tips and feminine hygiene products. 

To avoid clogs ensure that everyone in the home knows that they shouldn’t flush other products down the toilet. 

4. Remove calcifying elements and sediment build up in the tank

If your toilet is still making these gurgling sounds and still bubbling after trying the three methods mentioned above then the problem may be in your toilet tank. 

What you’ll need to do is to open up the toilet tank. 

The first thing you should notice is the color of the water and the walls of the tank. 

If the water and the walls are a bit red then you are dealing with sediment buildup. 

Sediment buildup happens due to the iron, calcium or magnesium in your water farming mineral deposits on the inside of the tank. 

The worst-case scenario is if you see dark moss-like build-up. 

You will need to clean this ASAP or else it will eventually block water from entering the tank this can cause the fill valve to sputter and gurgle as the tank refills. 

Fortunately, cleaning this build-up is pretty easy.

Grab a scrubbing brush and a bleach solution and get to scrubbing.

Make sure you clean it properly and perform a thorough scrub and wash.

That should break down the bacteria and minerals deposits.

However, if the water inlet line cannot be cleaned or fixed, then you may need to get a new one.

5. Fix faulty tank system

tank of toilet bubbling randomly

Last but not least, you may be dealing with a faulty tank fill system.

The easiest way to tell if your tank fill system is functioning properly is by simply looking at it if you know how a toilet system should work.

If not, check out the video below so that you have an idea of how a proper running tank system is supposed to function.

Now that you are aware of how your toilet system works, you’ll notice that there are 2 mechanisms in the toilet tank.

These are the one that is responsible for releasing the water to the toilet bowl and the other is for refilling the tank.

Both these mechanisms get activated by pressing the flush lever or button.

First, the flapper lifts and allows the contents of the tank to escape into the toilet bowl.

Then, the new water comes in from the pipe which is connected to the tank on the wall.

It only stops when the float presses the fill valve shut.

If you are hearing gurgling sounds, these components should be high up on the list of possible suspects.

In some cases, the flapper could be the culprit because it is letting air into the air thus producing the gurgling sound.

On the other hand, it could be an issue with the spray valve.

If the spray valve is spraying water in all directions, then that may be the reason for the bubbling sounds you hear.

After checking your tank system and identifying either of these issues then you should probably replace the faulty elements inside the tank.

You can find universal replacement kits online or in stores.

These kits come with everything you need and are fairly easy to install.

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Final thoughts

In the end, toilet gurgling can be a result of issues with several parts of your plumbing system.

We’ve only touched on a few minor problems that you can try fixing.

If neither of these methods works, then it is time to call in a professional plumber.

Do not wait as things can get worse very quickly especially when dealing with a clogged toilet.

However, do keep in mind that it is normal for your toilet to make some sort of noise when it’s flushed and when the tank is being refilled.

If other noises from your bathroom bother you, then read this how to soundproof a bathroom post.

FAQs

toilet gurgles when flushed in shower

Why does my toilet gurgle and bubble when I’m in the shower?

The reason your toilet gurgles and bubbles when you’re in the shower can happen when your shower pipe and toilet share the same drain line and vent stack.

If the line gets blocked, then the toilet will gurgle and bubble when you’re in the shower.

Refer to the solutions mentioned above to fix both these issues.

Why is my toilet bubbling or gurgling and won’t flush?

This can happen for many reasons.

The first reason could be because of something that got stuck in the drain line or the traps.

It could also be because the toilet tank is not functioning effectively due to calcifying elements or some part of the flushing system is broken and needs to be replaced.

The solutions for all these issues are mentioned above.

Is it normal for my toilet to gurgle at the end of a flush?

Most of the time, hearing a gurgling sound at the end of a flush is not a major cause for concern. 

It can be a result of a large number of things like the flush and fill mechanism in the tank.

Surprisingly, even the shape of the toilet bowl might play a part in creating that gurgling sound.

If you are feeling uneasy about the gurgling sound from your toilet then try to figure out the problem and follow some of the steps we mentioned in this article and see if it fixes the issue.

If not, then you call in a plumber to have a look and they’ll be able to figure out and fix any problems present.

Product

Features

Price

Plumbing Snake Drain Auger 25 Feet, Sink Snake Hair Clog...
  • 25 feet long
  • Made from ABS and carbon steel
  • Easy to use
60166A - Neiko 60166A Toilet Plunger with Patented All-Angle...
  • 4 level suction cup
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Made from tough rubber
Green Gobbler Drain Clog Dissolver, 31 oz
  • Works in minutes
  • Dissolves hair, soap, paper and grease
  • Ultra-thick formula
Fluidmaster 400CRP14 Toilet Fill Valve and Flapper Repair...
  • Plastic and rubber parts
  • Universal design and easy to install
  • Corrosion-resistant

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