Your Toilet Gurgles or Bubbles When You Flush—Now What?

Typically, a toilet flushing would be an uneventful occasion, not deserving of comment. But a toilet flushing for no reason at all is a rare sight that needs attention. And when a gurgling toilet is combined with an overflowing bowl, water bubbling back up into the water, plus that mysterious and unnerving phenomenon of a toilet flushing itself, there’s no question that something is wrong.

When a toilet flushes, it makes a very specific sound, and if it makes any other sound, it’s hard to ignore. If you hear gurgling coming from your toilet or see that water is rising back up into the bowl when you flush, you may want to act quickly. This could mean that you find toilet water running into the bowl at some point. 

What Makes a Toilet Bubble or Gurgle When It’s Flushed?

When air is introduced into your plumbing from an open drain, it creates a vacuum, which then draws in the water. This can be a problem if the water doesn’t drain correctly, leaving you with a slow-draining or gurgling toilet. Essentially, there’s a blockage in place that could be in quite a few places:

The Main Sewer Drain

All of the drains in a house lead to this drain. Aside from the bathroom, there are also the drains in the laundry room and kitchen, among others. The main sewer drain carries water and waste away from your property, leading it to the city sewer system.

Common external causes of main sewer line blocks are usually triggered by uncontrollable circumstances such as:

  • Pipe “belly” growing because of ground settling or shifting
  • Pipe segments separating from each other
  • Roots growing through underground pipes

The Toilet

Yes, the toilet proper could be blocked. If that’s the case, you should be able to see the issue just fine. The chances are high that there are things floating in the toilet water like shredded toilet paper or something equally problematic.

The Toilet Drain

At this point, the blockage occurs when family members flush things down the toilet that do not belong there. It includes the likes of cotton swabs, non-flushable wipes, and feminine products.

The Vent Stack

Looking underground is a normal instinctive reaction for people when there’s a malfunction in plumbing appliances. However, it could also do a lot of good to look up. The vent stack is located on the roof; it goes beyond smelly sewer odors. It also gives piping air pressure the means to even out. That way, both waste and water can move through them well.

In some cases, a deceased animal could be clogging the vent; other times, it’s a matter of a clump of leaves and other debris causing issues.

Gurgling Toilet Solutions

When a toilet is bubbling and gurgling, the answer depends on the problem’s source. Ways to address it best include:

  • Calling a plumber
  • Snaking the drain
  • Using a plunger


When a toilet is gurgling or bubbling, that’s a clear sign of a problem. This usually happens because of a blockage in areas such as the vent stack, the main sewer drain, and the toilet itself. Ways to address it include snaking the drain and calling a plumber.

Looking for help with your plumbing in Tulsa? Contact Wooten Knockout Plumbing today! We have a wide range of plumbing services that range from minor repairs all way to a major system overhaul.


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