How to Unclog a Toilet Without a Plunger

Toilet and sink in a bathroom
It’s Murphy’s Law. The toilet has backed up – and there’s not a plunger in sight! How do you unclog a toilet without a plunger?! What can you do?

Think Fast

Turn off the water supply to the toilet, this will prevent the dreaded overflow of toilet debris (shudder) and corresponding cleanup.

Get Smart

Not all hope is lost when you don’t have a plunger to unclog a toilet. There are ways to get things moving along without your pal the plunger. Wondering how to unclog a toilet without a plunger? We’ve got you covered….

  1. Bailout
    If your toilet was overflowing, you’ll need to manually remove some water to make room for the upcoming bowl additions necessary to remove the blockage.
  2. Lubricate
    Smooth the road to success with a few generous squirts of dish soap or shampoo, or a few slivers of bar soap, if handy.
  3. Loosen
    Gently pour a gallon of very hot (not boiling) water into the bowl. Hot water can crack the porcelain of your toilet bowl. Make it the temperature you could drink hot tea comfortably, allowing it to sit for 20 minutes.
  4. ­Wait
    After a few minutes, the hot water should help break up solids and toilet paper, and the soap should help it slide down the pipe. If a flush doesn’t work after a few minutes, you can repeat the first 3 steps, or try the next. Be sure to be on guard for the need to turn off the water valve to prevent an overflow.
  5. Shake Things Up
    If you have enough lying around, pouring 1 cup of baking soda and 2 cups of vinegar into the toilet can help break things up and move them along. The mixture will fizz and bubble profusely, so be certain before you proceed you remove any excess water from the bowl. This both prevents overflow/backsplash and concentrates the solution. If the steps thus far have failed you, it may be time to move on to Step 5 – or throw in the towel and call a plumber.
  6. Persuade
    If all else fails and you have a wire coat hanger in the house, you can unravel it and use it to stir things up and gently push the debris down the pipe until you can accomplish a successful flush. Once the wire is straightened, duct tape a rag in place on the end of the wire to prevent the sharp edges of the hanger from scratching the porcelain of the toilet. Make sure you don a pair of long, disposable gloves if you decide to go this route, for obvious reasons. Twist and push the wire in the drain in a circular motion, pushing against the obstruction to clear it. If you can’t feel the obstruction, it may be out of your reach.

Practice Overflow Evasion

If you haven’t managed to avoid the dreaded overflow, and things got a little messier than expected, you don’t have to go it alone. This is a great opportunity to avoid a less-than-enjoyable cleaning task and give your bathroom the spruce-up it deserves with the help of professional tile and grout cleaning services.

Call for Backup

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you may still need a backup for your backup. When things aren’t moving along the way they’re supposed to, save yourself (and your floors) with the trusted professional plumbing services of Mr. Rooter Plumbing.