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Is It Okay to Leave a Toilet Clogged Overnight?

If you’ve ended your night on a bad note by clogging your toilet, we understand the impulse to head to sleep and leave the headache until the morning. No one wants to have to call a plumber at night. But is it okay to leave your toilet clogged overnight? It may not be. There are some potential consequences of leaving your toilet in bad shape for more than a few hours, which, while aren’t guaranteed to happen, are probably not worth the risk.

If it’s 5 am and you’ll be calling a plumber before 8 am, you’re probably fine (although not risk-free.) But if we’re talking about more than a few hours, there are definitely some risks that you should know about before you decide to leave the toilet as it is.

1. Toilet Overflow

You may be surprised to hear that a clogged toilet can overflow even if you don’t flush it. Some toilets have a problem where they always leak a ridiculously small amount of water into the bowl. It isn’t enough to notice with your eyes, but if you leave the problem for several hours, and the water has nowhere to go, the toilet will overflow.

What’s worse is that water overflowing from a clogged toilet is considered black water. It’s contaminated by the bacteria on whatever the clog is made from, whether it’s waste or something else. When a toilet overflows, you need to do more than just clean. You need to sanitize the area and anything that the water touched. So, if you leave your toilet, you could be waking up to a bigger mess than you anticipate.

2. Bacteria and Smells

We’re spoiled by the fact that we flush and our mess goes away. You might not realize just how strongly a clogged toilet is going to smell after a few hours. Along with the smell from the clog, you may smell bacteria as it grows. The sitting water gives bacteria ample time to set up shop. Not only is this gross, but it also makes dealing with the clog in the morning less sanitary too.

3. Worsening Clog

The longer you leave a clog, the more opportunities there are for the clog to get worse. The most water-soluble parts of the clog will dissolve, and the rest will fill in the gaps, making the clog worse. There is also the possibility that human error could come into play. When you wake up in the morning, you might forget about the clog, right up until the moment you flush.

4. Unusable Bathroom

If you have a second bathroom that you can use in the morning, then leaving a clog overnight is a little less risky. But if you only have one toilet in your home, you should strongly consider getting the plumber to your house before morning. That, or start making a back-up plan of where you’ll go if you wake up and need to use the toilet urgently.

In the end, the wisest decision is to call a plumber right away. It’s no fun to deal with clogs at night, but at least that way things will be cleared up by morning.