How to Unclog a Toilet With and Without a Plunger

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Toilets can block up for many different reasons. There are several ways to rectify this problem, and in this article you'll learn ALL of them.

This list below filled with useful tips will help you learn how to unclog a toilet with and without a plunger, AND get your toilet back up and running in minutes without making a disaster.

Have you found yourself in a situation embarrassed beyond belief? Flushing the toilet after you’ve finished business. Suddenly, the bowl gets filled with water along with the deposit you’ve just made. Catch my drift? What gives?

For your common everyday blockage, the methods we’re about to show you are absolute rippers and take some beating. But if you’ve got a more stubborn block, a blockage that may be deeper down inside the pipework, you may require a plunger or a toilet auger or even the assistance of a plumber.

Don’t sweat it. We got you covered, AND don’t call the plumber just yet. Let’s get to it!

Table of Contents

Determine the Nature of the Clog

Before we get down to the nitty-gritty stuff, it’s very important to determine what’s causing the blockage. It might be a common clog or caused by a peculiar object. Now, the most common toilet clogs can easily be removed with a plunger.

A plunger will help push the blockage through the toilet trapway, which is the most prone area to clogs. If plunging doesn’t work for you, then you’ll likely need a toilet auger before you reach for the phone and call a plumber.

Keep in mind: Your bathroom drain might be blocked, especially if you’ve had a recent history of clogged bathroom fixtures. If that’s the case, don’t gamble and call a professional as soon as possible.

Prepare the Floor

As the saying goes, hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. To make it an easier cleanup:

  1. Grab some newspaper or old towels and place them on the floor to soak up any liquid if splashing occurs.
  2. Remove any items around the toilet as you wouldn’t want any wastewater on them.
  3. As a rule of thumb, turn on the ventilation fan or open a window to get rid of odors.

For hygienic purposes and to protect you from germs, you should put on a pair of long rubber gloves.

Avoid Toilet Overflowing

Now before we start, if the water level in your toilet bowl remains high, there’s a sign of warning.

Don’t take a chance with a second flush if your toilet doesn’t flush properly.

A poor flush indicates a blockage presence in your toilet drain. Instead, as a precaution, make sure to remove the lid and close the toilet flapper. That way, there won’t be any additional water release going from the tank to the bowl.

You’ll avoid having your next flush turn into a flood. The flapper is a circular drain stopper that looks like and is attached to a chain. Don’t worry about sticking your hand in the tank to close the flapper, as the water in it isn’t dirty.

Unclog Your Toilet With the Right Plunger

When dealing with clogged toilets, the first tool that comes to mind is a toilet plunger.

BUT, what type of plunger should you go for? There are so many choices of plungers for different types of plumbing tasks. Within those choices, you have to make the right decision.

A basic plunger consists of a rubber cup typically used for clogged showers, tubs, and sinks. For our task at hand, it’s best to go for a bell-shaped rubber cup plunger with a flat bottom, which can be used as a regular one by folding the flange.

Compared to the standard sink plunger, this type is taller and has a flange on the cup’s bottom.

A flanged type of plunger is a difference-maker when it comes to fitting your toilet hole and making a good seal. Such a plunger will create adequate pressure. Removing the clog and clearing the drain is much more comfortable with it compared to the standard one.

Step 1: Warm-up the Plunger

Ensure there’s enough water in the toilet bowl to cover the plunger completely.

To create a better seal, you’ll need to soften up the plunger. Warm it up by running it under hot water. Then you’ll need to fold the skirt of the plunger from inside and submerge the head of the plunger.

To maintain a firm seal while plunging, the plunger cup’s rim needs to be covered with water. If the plunger isn’t sufficiently covered with water, add adequate water to the bowl. 

Step 2: Position the Plunger

Before you place the plunger into the bowl, make sure to pull out the plunger’s flange from the cup. Then, you’ll need to position it in a way that the cup fills with as much water as possible.

As you go down, it’ll help push and pull water through the opening instead of air, thanks to the cup, which traps a lot of air. A pullback is just as important as pushing. Ensure that the flange is properly inserted in the hole, so make sure to create a snug seal on the hole’s outer part.

Once it’s set in a position, you’re ready for plunging.

Step 3: Work the Plunger

Get a good grip on the plunger and start firmly with a push-pull motion. Forcefully push the plunger into the toilet’s hole. While the plunger’s pull-up should be slow, don’t completely let up the pressure so it doesn’t break the cup’s seal.

The first repetitions will push air into the bowl. If necessary, add water to the bowl to keep the plunger covered and reposition the cup to create a proper seal before trying again.

The goal is to utilize the water force into the toilet’s trapway to disturb and loosen the blockage.

When it comes to plunging, patience is a virtue. Although it might require a few repetitions of the sequence, plunging will take care of your clogged toilet most of the time unless there’s a hard object into the toilet drain. 

Step 4: Test the Drainage 

An excellent way to check if the blockage has been removed is to pour some water. You can flush the toilet, but beware of overflow. If you decide to flush the toilet, make sure to have the tank lid open, so you can reach and push down the flapper if the toilet is still clogged. Instead, fill a large bucket with water and slowly pour it into the bowl.

Once the drain is cleared, you should see the water starting to drain from the toilet’s bowl.

If that’s not the case, there’s still a blockage preventing the free flow of water down the drain. Before you start plunging again, make sure you have standing water in the bowl to a level you’d usually get after flushing the toilet.

Unfortunately, if the blockage is severe, you might need to do this a few times before succeeding.

How to Unclog Your Toilet Without a Plunger

There might be a time where you happen to be without a plunger. If that’s the case, so be it! Fortunately, we’ll go over some alternative methods to help you overcome adversity and get your toilet back up and running.

1. How to Unclog a Toilet With a Toilet Auger

So what is a Toilet Auger? A tool, similar to a standard drain snake with a cable that rotates by the handle, but specifically designed for toilets.

It has a hollow tube, which is usually curved at one end for easy snaking through the toilet trap to catch any blockages without scratching the toilet bowl, thanks to its rubber sleeve.

The tip of the auger should be contracted and faced in the direction that the trap takes.

Start with the auger’s clockwise rotation while pushing the rod into the trap until you feel an obstruction. Press the toilet bowl firmly with the rubber sleeve. Then twist and force the auger back and forth through the obstacle.

It’ll either break the clog or hook it up. You’ll want to snake in reverse by pulling up the cable along with what’s left from the clog. It may take a bit of maneuvering to piece the obstruction so it can move through the pipes.

Additionally, give your toilet a few good plunges to remove any leftovers from the blockage. Test the drain to determine if the water drains as quickly as it should. If the water level is back to normal, you’ve cleared the clog!

2. How to Unclog a Toilet With a Wire Coat Hanger

Worst case scenario, you don’t have either a plunger or toilet auger. Improvise! Grab a wire coat hanger and unravel it. Make sure to protect yourself and put on a pair of gloves.

Use some duct tape and rag to wrap one of the hanger’s straightened ends. This will help prevent scratching the porcelain in your toilet. Push the covered end of the wire down the toilet to remove debris down the pipe.

Maneuver it in a circular motion to clear the drain. If you feel any resistance, keep pushing until water begins to drain, you’ve likely reached the obstruction.

This task may be out of your reach, and it would usually work if the clog is within the first few inches of the drain. When the water starts to drain, flush the toilet to eliminate leftovers from the clog and dirty water.

3. How to Unclog a Toilet With Water and Dish-Washing Soap

Made to break down dirt and grime, a secret sauce, behold the dishwashing detergent!

Don’t be shy and give the inside of the bowl a generous squirt. The next thing you do is grab a bucket of hot water, slowly pour it into the bowl, and let the mixture sit for a while.

What this does: it helps the detergent penetrate the clog and lubricate the pipes, which will help make the clog slippery. This will require some patience, depending on the clog, as it’ll take about twenty minutes approx to take full effect.

Twenty minutes later, the water should have gone down a little bit. What you’ll want to do next is pour another bucket of heated water(not boiling) into the bowl, and hopefully, that will clear the block and get everything up and running again.

4. How to Unclog a Toilet With Baking Soda and Vinegar

Occasionally toilets tend to clog as a result of trying to flush too much deposit. In such an instance, a combination of hot water, baking soda, and vinegar will do the trick.

To get sufficient force to push through the clog, you’ll need at least half a gallon of heated water.

Keep in mind: the water shouldn’t be extremely hot since it can cause your porcelain to crack.

Start by pouring a combination of one cup of baking soda and two cups of vinegar into the toilet. It’s preferable to let the mixture work on dissolving the clog for at least an hour before pouring water. The mixture will create a fizzling effect from the chemical reaction, and it’ll help dissolve the clog.

While this method can be successful, unfortunately, it won’t do you any good in the case of clogs caused by hard obstructions. Pour the water from a decent height to create a more prominent force as it falls into the bowl, which will help clear the clog.

5. How to Unclog a Toilet With Homemade Bathroom Bomb

There come times where we have to get creative, even when it comes to a clogged toilet! So what’s next?

You happen to be at a guest’s bathroom, and all of a sudden, the toilet level RISES to the bowl’s rim!

Found in most of the bathrooms, Epsom salt is what you should be looking for! A fizzy reaction appears with the mix of water and Epsom salt, which works to dissolve the clog and unclog the toilet.

If the rushed effort doesn’t do you any good, you’ll want to mix the salt with dish detergent, adding it slowly at a time and two cups of baking soda. If you’re not in a rush, dry out the combination overnight in small cups, so they become sturdy.

Once they’ve strengthened, drop one at a time into the toilet bowl and add some water to it to hopefully see results after a few hours.

6. How to Unclog a Toilet With Chemical Drain Cleaners

Purchasing a chemical drain cleaner isn’t that hard of a deal. Your local hardware store likely has a decent collection of them. Purchase one of your choices, but be sure to read the label before you opt for such a solution. It’s best to use a specifically designed drain cleaner to unclog a toilet.

Note that they can be harmful and corrode your pipes. Hence they’re not the most recommended method. 

They’re also toxic to the environment and require cautious usage with well-ventilated space and protection gear. If a hard object causes your clog, you shouldn’t opt for such cleaners, but instead, try using a toilet auger or call a plumber.

You should follow the manufacturer’s instructions at all times! Once you’ve poured the specific amount into the toilet’s bowl, be sure to close the lid down, so your bathroom doesn’t get filled with toxic fumes.

Remember to properly clear the chemicals from the bowl before proceeding with any other solution or perhaps using a plunger.

7. How to Unclog a Toilet Using a Wet/Dry Vacuum

Now it’s worth pointing out that this isn’t the same as a regular vacuum that you’d use to clean your rags. This is a useful technique, but you’ll likely have to rent or borrow a wet/dry vacuum.

Your local hardware store might be a good destination to get your hands on one.

Place the nozzle into the drain. You’ll first need to empty the water from the toilet bowl.

Once that’s done, for maximum effect, create a reliable seal around the drain by wrapping the house with an old towel or rag. Turn it on and simultaneously put a hand on the wrapped hose to keep a top-notch seal as it sucks out the clog.

After it has sucked out most of the clog, try flushing the leftovers from the blockage.

If Everything Fails Call a Plumber

Unfortunately, sometimes your efforts can come short-handed, but calling a plumber should be on your priority list if none of the above methods resulted in success. The blockage might be severe and should be addressed as soon as possible. While hiring a plumber may be fairly expensive, not all of us are DIY enthusiasts, and if that’s you, that’s totally fine.