toilet bubbling when shower drains
Kristina Davis

Is your toilet bubbling when shower drains?

Are you hearing that annoying and bothering sound every single time you set foot inside the shower area?

Don’t worry, I’ve experienced this too, and luckily, I already found out what’s causing it, as well as the steps to fixing it completely.

Your toilet gurgles and bubbles when you shower because there’s blockage/clogging in the drainage pipes or the sewer line. You can fix this by using a plunger or by completely getting rid of the blockage.

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Reasons Why Toilet Bubbles When Taking a Shower

reasons why toilet bubbling

The short and simple answer to this can either be clogging or a blockage, which is basically the same thing but has each of its distinctions.

The long-form answer to this is kind of crucial and confusing, and don’t worry, I’ll help you and I got you.

These are the most common and most accurate reasons why you’re hearing the bubbling or gurgling of your toilet when you’re taking a shower.

Clogged Drain

the clogged drain

Probably the most basic reason why is because there’s a blockage or clog somewhere in the sewer system.

It could be with the intersection between the vent, the sewer drain, and of course, the shower, sink, toilet, and bathtub drains.

Blocked or Failed Sewer Line

The next reason is a blocked or failed sewer line.

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This is a more complicated issue, especially since the common manifestation of such a problem is the regurgitation of scum and dirt.

One of the reasons for a failed or blocked sewer line is the buildup of negative pressure, which then pushes contents back up the drains instead of out the main drainage.

Another is the collapse of the sewer line like a deep scratch, root infiltration, as well as hardened scum and dirt accumulating anywhere within the line system.

Blocked Main Vent Pipe

blocked main pipe

Last, and most definitely not least is blockage of the main vent pipe.

For houses where a lot of trees and birds are, this is the most common.


Because this can be caused by a few external occurrences such as:

  • Fallen leaves that hardened over time
  • Bird, squirrel, raccoon poop
  • Branches
  • Plastics
  • Air sediments and debris

Even if your house is not situated in areas like what I mentioned above, it’ll still be worth checking if the main vent pipe is what’s causing the problem.

I know how it feels when you notice and see your toilet acting up all of a sudden. 

So, I prepared the methods and solutions that you can make use of in the event that you find this nightmare of an occurrence happening inside your house.

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How Do You Fix Your Toilet Bubbling When Shower Drains?

how to fix toilet

I will explain this in the easiest and simplest way I can. So that even if you aren’t a professional plumber, you’ll understand it conveniently.

NOTE: For the record, it will sound easy on your first read, but you need to reread this guide all over again for you to really grasp what it’s all about.

Step #1: Plunge Your Toilet

The first thing you want to do is to plunge into your toilet.

Plunging your toilet will help build pressure up to flush down the clog or blockage that’s still within the piping of the toilet.

When plunging, always see to it that:

  • The positioning of the plunger is upright and is direct to the hole
  • Ensure that every push you make has enough pressure to push and force any blockage
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Choose the Correct Plunger

correct plunger

Not all plungers are made equally – you want to make sure that the plunger you’ll use is right.

For me, the best one to use is an accordion plunger. Accordion plungers are thin and perfectly fit in most toilets.

In the event that you’re not able to secure an accordion plunger, going with a flange plunger is also good.

After a few minutes, you will notice that the toilet improves somehow and that it uses less effort in pushing water and contents down the floor flange.

This is when you perform the next step, which is to use a line or a drain snake on your sewer lines or drains.

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Step #2: Snake the Drain

snake drain

Snaking on the drain is, by far, the best and most sensible thing to do if the problem is still there.

Many people think drain snaking is a job that is left for experts and professional plumbers.

However, you can actually do it on your own, given that you have the tools for it.

NOTE: If you don’t have a drain snake, you can improvise and use a homemade or DIY drain snake using 2 wire hangers. Untangle them together and install some type of cutting blade at the top end of it.

What you want to do is push the drain snake down the pipeline and let it stride through the pieces of debris carefully.

There will really be times when the snake won’t reach the far ends of the drainpipe.

For this, you’ll need to readjust the size of the drain snake multiple times so that it can reach the narrowest ends of the pipe.

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Step #3: Ask Your Neighbors

ask neighbors

The next step will be the most tedious step of all – and this will be for you to go around the neighborhood to ask your neighbors if they’re experiencing the same problems.

I explained that the gurgling of your toilet bowl when the shower is turned on is common if the community sewer line is clogged, so, if it’s bothering one or two of your neighbors as well, then it is a cause for concern.

In my experience, every time the neighborhood sewer line is clogged, it has a drastic effect on my own vent or drainage line.

This is the reason why I go forth in snaking my toilet drains first before asking my neighbors whether they’re experiencing the same issue or not.

Step #4: Clear the Main Vent

clean main vent

The last, and most definitely not least is to check and clear the main vent of your toilet.

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This should be done when you’ve performed line snaking, and when the municipal or system sewer line is clear and running smoothly, as this leaves you with a problem coming from your end.

This process entails climbing up on your roof, using a few different materials.

Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Use a long, hard stick to check the condition of the vent pipe.
  2. Attach a small flashlight at the end of the stick with strong duct tape.
  3. Clean out any debris on the exterior around the pipe using your hands.
  4. Use a drain snake to clear out blockages that aren’t reachable by hand.
  5. Loosen up stubborn dirt or scum using the snake and flush it with a hose.
NOTE: Make sure that you use gloves to protect your hands. 

Plumbers suggest drenching the gloves with an all-purpose cleaner so while you’re removing the blockage or clogging, you’re somehow cleaning it, too.

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It’s Still Not Working, What Should I Do?

still not working

If you still find that your toilet bubbles when shower drains even after you’ve done this 4-step process, the next best thing to do is contact the nearest professional plumber in the area.

You’ve done what you can, and now, it’s time for you to hand the problem over to the experts.

Let them know the actions you’ve already performed so they can bring the tools they need to fix and resolve them accurately.

Final Thoughts

There will really be jobs that require the help and assistance of professionals and experts if you experience toilet bubbling when shower drains.

It’s usually something that you can solve even without professional assistance.

Should the problem linger, though, never hesitate to contact a professional plumber to do the job for you.