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Thread: Removing Rag from Toilet Drain Line

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Franner11's Avatar
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    Default Removing Rag from Toilet Drain Line

    Before I go buy a snake or hire a plumber, I want to see if I can do this myself.
    I'm in the middle of a bathroom remodel. I removed the toilet and installed a new drain pipe that I haven't cut to size yet (haven't tiled yet).
    I used a small rag to block the sewer gases and it seems to have been sucked into the drain line over time.
    This toilet is about 20-25 feet from the other working toilet, so the line runs at least that long. In between the toilet drain line and where it meets the other toilet drain line, there is my new shower line that still needs to be connected.
    I am not sure how far along down the line that the rag got...but I want to know the likelihood that this rag hasn't gotten too far down the line to retrieve. Do you think it would stop before the shower ptrap, or could it move further down the line from suction or whatever from the other toilet being flushed?
    What's the best method to figure this out? I have about a 3 foot tall subfloor that I'm not afraid of going into.
    I haven't had any plumbing issues yet. No overflowing toilets, etc.
    Think I can find this rag? It's part of an old t-shirt - about 4 inches wide by 12 inches long...
    Thanks in advance,
    Fran

  2. #2
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    If I understand your layout, the rag is likely lying in a dry pipe between the new toilet opening and the other toilet and maybe a shower connection of some kind. I would first try a Shop-Vac to see if I could suck it out. Theoretically, if everything is vented properly, you shouldn't suck much yuck back. Be sure your shots are up to date just in case.

    Caution: I am NOT a professional plumber.

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    The toilet drain line is at least 3" and may get to 4". A piece that small may just continue out the system. If you have a septic system, it will sit in the tank...if it is a sewer, it may make it all the way to the sewage treatment plant. While a rag can work, they do make some inexpensive caps that work better and won't fall into the drain.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member Franner11's Avatar
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    Thanks for the quick responses, guys!
    I think my line is 3-1/2 but I'm not sure (I'll check again tonight) it's either 3" or 4" if it isn't 3-1/2 (duh).
    I don't have a septic tank - I'm on city sewer.
    As for the shop vac - how would I get good suction out of that? Should I duct tape it to the drain opening and then turn it on? (forgive me if this is a dumb question)
    Also, is this much to worry about - should I just let it go?
    If I end up cutting the drain pipe between the shower line and the old working toilet - would I simply reconnect the two drain pipes with one of those rubber connectors with the cinch-like metal tighteners (sorry I don't know the term)?
    Thanks!
    Fran

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member Franner11's Avatar
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    rubber coupling is what i was talking about:
    http://www.absoluteponds.com/images/rubber-coupling.jpg
    Thanks!
    Fran

  6. #6
    Consultant cwhyu2's Avatar
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    Those are not allowed on indoor plumbing.A low flex coupling is what
    you need.
    http://www.fernco.com/lowflex

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member Franner11's Avatar
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    awesome! thanks for the tip!
    Thanks!
    Fran

  8. #8
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Franner11 View Post
    As for the shop vac - how would I get good suction out of that? Should I duct tape it to the drain opening and then turn it on?
    If you can't solve the problem with duct tape, it's not solvable .

  9. #9
    I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP) Lakee911's Avatar
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    I bet that you could chuck a straightened out wire coat hanger with a little 45 degree bend on the end in to your drill. Insert that and see if you can get it snagged on the rag and pull it out.

  10. #10
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    A rag that size is probably smaller than a good sized turd...I think it will just flow out, but you could probably try to snag it with a stiff wire with a hook on the end. Now, if it was much bigger...I'd have to reconsider. Drain pipes are measured on the inside diameter...so you have a 3" drain line - the walls are about 1/4", so OD would be close to 3.5".
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member Franner11's Avatar
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    thanks! you guys rock!
    i fished around for it and just couldn't find it anywhere. i don't really wanna cut a line, so i'm just gonna leave it for now.
    anything i should look for (sounds, smells) other than a toilet overflowing, that would show signs of a blockage?
    i swear i've flushed the toilet a hundred times since it's been sucked up in there!
    Thanks!
    Fran

  12. #12

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    If you fushed the toilet a bunch maybe it's the city's problem.The best thing would have been a cheap hand snake and I'm sure you would have had no problem retrieving the rag.

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