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4 Ways to Unclog a Toilet That Won't Drain

There’s never an appropriate time for your toilet to clog. Whether you’re at a holiday dinner or a neighborhood Bunco night, a clogged toilet can create an embarrassing mess. Clearing a clogged toilet can be tricky, and it’s even trickier when you don’t have a plunger. Don’t sweat it—we’ll talk you through clearing your clog, step by step.

Wield the Plunger

How to Unclog Your Toilet with a Plunger

Hand plunging a toilet

Get your clogged toilet back up and running again the good old-fashioned way—with a plunger and some serious elbow grease. Here’s how to restore your toilet to working order in just six easy steps:

  1. If the toilet bowl is already filled to the brim, manually remove enough water to use the plunger without splashing or overflowing in the plunging process. We recommend using a small bowl or bucket to gently scoop out excess water to give your plunging process some space.
  2. Gently place the plunger in the toilet bowl, lowering it gradually and letting air from inside the plunger bubble out.
  3. Form a snug seal around the opening at the bottom of the toilet bowl. You’re now in position to push the clog out of the pipe.
  4. Hand plunging a toiletBegin to plunge firmly into the toilet with a straight, up-and-down motion. The plunger should force the existing water into the trapway of the toilet and into the pipes and push the blockage out. If the toilet is successfully plunged, you should see the water level in the toilet bowl diminish.
  5. Fill a large container with a gallon of water, and carefully pour it into the toilet bowl. The water level of the toilet bowl should go down, indicating that the blockage has been removed.
  6. If the water level does not drop, continue plunging and pouring water until the clog is dislodged.

How to Unclog a Toilet Without a Plunger

Today just isn’t your lucky day. Your toilet’s clogged, and you don’t have a plunger? Hang in there. There are still a few ways to work through this. If your toilet isn’t draining, you may not need a plunger to fix it. Here are three unconventional ways to remove a blockage from your toilet pipes.

Smooth the Road to Success

How to Unclog Your Toilet with Soap and Hot Water

Hand pouring dish soap into a toilet

  1. Manually remove some water, ensuring that there is space for adding a gallon of liquid. Remove the water with a small container—like a cup from the bathroom sink. Just make sure you don't put it back on the counter when you're done!
  2. Lubricate the toilet bowl by adding some dish soap, shampoo, or a few slivers of bar soap.
  3. Hand pouring hot water into a toiletHeat a gallon of water to very hot but not boiling. A drinkable tea temperature is just right. If the water is too hot, it could crack your toilet bowl. Pour the water into the bowl, and let it sit for 20 minutes.
  4. Try flushing the toilet. If it flushes, you’re all set! If instead it starts to overflow, turn the water valve off behind the toilet—then start again at step 1 or try another method.

Science Fair Drain Care

How to Unclog Your Toilet with Baking Soda and Vinegar

If the toilet remains clogged after a few attempts at resolving the problem, remove at least half of the water from the bowl. Then try pouring 1 cup of baking soda and 2 cups of vinegar into the toilet. The mixture will bubble excessively, which is why it’s important to first remove the excess water. Let the bubbles sit for at least 20 minutes before you try to flush.

Makeshift Drain Snake

How to Unclog Your Toilet with Coat Hanger

Still clogged? Here’s one last-ditch effort: Unravel a wire coat hanger, and put on a pair of disposable gloves.

Hands cutting a hanger

Hands holding a hangerWrap one end of the straightened hanger with a cloth, and duct tape it firmly in place so it doesn’t scratch your toilet. Use the hanger to gently push debris down the pipe until you can flush. Twist and push the wire in a circular motion. If you can’t feel the wire hitting the obstruction, this task may be out of your reach.

Call for Backup—The Plumber You Deserve®

If, after several attempts at plunging your toilet, it remains backed up, it’s time to call for backup. Get help from the professionals at Mr. Rooter Plumbing. We make your plumbing emergency our top priority and will schedule service with you as quickly as possible to resolve your problem. 

Need appliance repair? Contact Mr. Appliance, a Neighbourly company, today


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