9 Tips to Unclog a Toilet Without a Plunger


Let’s admit it: at some point in our lives, we ALL googled how to unplug a toilet. It’s a given. A toilet that’s suddenly overflowing needs to be fixed, as it’s one of the most unpleasant and difficult plumbing problems you will ever face.

Luckily, there are many things you can try all by yourself, without needing a plumber. In fact, in most cases, you won’t even need to break a sweat. If you want to learn how to unclog a toilet, you don’t need any professional tools.

It’s true that a plunger or a plumbing snake might do the trick quicker than anything else, so if that’s something that might have in your toolbox, that’s just great. But if you don’t have one, it doesn’t mean that you’re blocked with an overflowing toilet until you decide to call a plumber because things got…messy. Here are a couple of basic steps you could try by yourself:

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Use dish soap or shampoo

This is one of the easiest methods you can try, but it works for smaller clogs. Basically, you have to eliminate whatever might be clogging your toilet, and you can do that by sticking a thick, lubricating substance.

We’d advise you to start with dish soap or a cheaper shampoo, then add a lot of hot water and flush everything more than once. It’s worth mentioning that you shouldn’t use boiling water, as you might risk cracking the porcelain. The same procedure applies if your toilet is overflowing and you don’t have a plunger in your home.

Use bleach

If the dish soap with hot water didn’t work, then you have to try something else. Do you have any bleach in your home? Bring on the bleach! Be careful with how much you poor, as only one cup of bleach into the toilet followed by a quality powdered dishwashing soap should do the trick.

Most importantly, you have to wait around 10 minutes after pouring, and then you can flush the toilet. Keep in mind that this particular method is quite harsh on the pipes, so we would only recommend you use it if it’s absolutely necessary.

Use a wire coat hanger

An ancient method that seems to work at a pinch is the coat hanger unblocking method. Everything that’s enlisted here is in a certain order: we’d advise you to start with the easiest methods, then advance, if you don’t notice any difference.

So if you REALLY need to get in deep to unclog your toilet, and nothing else seems to be working, then you can try using a wire coat hanger. First, take a hanger you’ll say goodbye to, and wrap one of its ends with a rag.

Then, tape it to keep everything in place. Push the covered end into your toilet, and work your way in there, trying to remove whatever might be clogging the drain. But if you’re dealing with an overflowing toilet, we wouldn’t advise you to use this method, as you might have overflowing toilet water in all your pockets.

Try cling film

This method is not that popular, but in some cases, it works really well, especially if you’re dealing with a high-water situation. As Tom Drake, bathroom expert at Tap Warehouse, explained, here’s what you need to do:

  • dry out the top of your toilet with a paper towel. Make sure you’re wearing a pair of gloves for that!
  • Next, add only 3 layers of cling film on the top of your toilet. The secret here is to press the cling film down well enough to create a seal
  • Then, you can flush the toilet. Now, the pressure made by the flush should do the trick and cling the film of the balloon upwards.
  • Last, push down as gently as you can on the ballooned cling film. You will see how the suction caused by the flush should dislodge the blockage just like a plunger would.
baking soda
Photo by Geo-grafika from Shutterstock

Use baking soda and vinegar

If you’re still here, then it means nothing worked so far. No problem, don’t give up! We still have plenty of tricks under our sleeve. Let’s ask the help of a dear, old friend that any household needs at some point: vinegar. Oh, yes, and you’re gonna need the other good old friend that any household has: baking soda.

These two together…saved many awkward, unpleasant situations. So take some vinegar and baking soda (careful with the quantities) and pour “half a cup of baking soda into your toilet bowl, then half a cup of white vinegar.

Next, add two liters of water, but make sure it’s not boiling, so you can enhance the reaction. Leave everything to blend in for 30 minutes, and come back to see if everything went back to normal. If it did, it means that the blockage has finally cleared and you can flush this bad memory away!

Try getting hands-on

If the blockage is still there, we’ve got four more things to try. The next best thing you can do is to put on those beautiful rubber gloves and take the matter into your own hands! Of course, now it depends on what was the cause of the blockage: it might have been a stuffed toy or just paper clumps in an excessive, unpleasant quantity.

And as a last resort…if there’s something “else” you’re dealing with…then you might have to take a knife you’ll also say goodbye to and cut in smaller pieces all that “organic matter” that’s causing you so much trouble. Then, flush again, and see if things improved.

Photo by SOORACHET KHEAWHOM from Shutterstock

Try caustic soda (but be careful)

To unblock a toilet with caustic soda, you have to make sure your eyes and hands are completely protected. The damage that caustic soda could cause if it comes in contact with your hands and eyes isn’t extreme. So, if you secured everything that needs to be secured, carefully pour caustic soda into the toilet bowl, and leave everything for two minutes. Add a bucket of warm water, and then flush the toilet. You should notice a difference.

Unblock the toilet with water pressure

If nothing worked so far, you can also try breaking up the blockage with water pressure. Do you have a pressure washer and a good pipe cleaning kit? You’ll need both of these. Carefully insert the hose into the clogged toilet bowl, switch on the pressure washer, and watch the hose being pulled down the pipe until it gets to the blockage. In case the blockage can be broken down, the water pressure will definitely do the trick.

Use a toilet snake

As Jame Romano, Project Manager at Mississauga, Ontario’s John the Plumber recommended, sometimes, the best thing you can do is to use a toilet snake, also known as a toilet auger. It’s one of the best alternative methods you can use to unclog the toilet.

Make sure you carefully stick the long coil into that drain, and maneuver everything through the toilet, until you dislodge whatever is stuck in there. You might find toilet snakes that are 3′, which you can easily maneuver through the toilet, or you could also find snakes that are 6′, in which case you might even reach the toilet drains.

If you found this article highly useful, we have something else in store for you: Too Much Empty Space in Your Home? Try These 7 Best Layouts Ideas!

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