Clogged toilets can be smelly, unsanitary and embarrassing, so it is best to deal with them as soon as possible. If there is a plunger handy, the job can be a little easier. But what do you do if you do not have a plunger or you are stuck at a friend’s house? Luckily, there are a variety of ways to deal with clogged toilet pipes — from plumbing equipment and cleaners to everyday household objects. It does not take an expert to unclog a toilet, so let’s learn how.

How To Unclog Toilet

1) Use A Plunger To Unclog Toilet

A plunger is one of the more effective ways to remove debris from a toilet. This method is also more environmentally friendly because it does not put any harmful chemicals into the water. Before using a plunger, inspect the tank. If the water is close to overflowing, open up the flapper to drain water. You may also want to cover the ground with newspapers or towels in case water spills.

Next, take your plunger and place it in the toilet bowl. Make sure the plunger is completely over the hole of the toilet. Remember, you are using the plunger to move water, not air. The first pump produces all the air you need. Start off slowly and continue plunging in controlled movements. If debris does not move, it may take 10 to 20 pumps to clear — potentially even more. Keep trying; most of the time plunging is enough to remove most objects.

2) Use A Wire Coat Hanger To Unclog Toilet

If you do not have a plunger, a wire coat hanger is the next best thing to try (though you will destroy the rod in the process). To use it, unwrap the wire, and bend the hook until it roughly forms a straight line. It is a smart idea to wrap duct tape or a small piece of cloth around the end of the hanger. This protective material will help prevent the wire from scratching the toilet or pipes.

Place the makeshift hanger into the toilet. Twist and maneuver it through the drains. If you feel the blockage, push hard against it. When you clear the pipes, flush the toilet. If you cannot feel any material blocking, then the clog is out of reach of the hanger.

3) Use An Enzyme Waste Removal Product To Clear The Toilet

Enzyme waste removal products are excellent because they break up biological waste to clear out clogged drains. These enzymes are a reasonably reliable way to break down material since they will not damage your pipes or the environment, like other harsh drain cleaners. Though this method is not as effective as others, it is beneficial with organic waste. However, if you know there is a hard object lodged in your pipe, you will need a different method.

To use, buy your preferred brand at the store and follow the directions. Most of the time, you add a small amount to the toilet and then wait for a few hours. After this time has passed, flush the toilet to clear the clog.

bathroom toilet

4) Make A Drain Cleaner With Baking Soda And Vinegar

Remember that classic 5th-grade volcano science fair project? Who would have thought it would come in hand for unclogging a toilet? All you need to make a perfectly functional DIY drain cleaner is,

  • Hot water (at least half a gallon)
  • Baking soda (1 cup)
  • Vinegar (2 cups)

The explosive and expansive nature of this chemical reaction is usually enough to dislodge debris stuck in the plumbing system, though it is not typically strong enough to remove toys or physical objects.

To make your drain cleaner, first, boil the hot water in a pot of tea kettle. Fill up the bowl all the way. When the water has reached a warm temperature, take it off the stove. The temperature should be hot, but not boiling. Boiling water can damage the material of most toilets.

Then, add one cup of baking and two cups of white vinegar. A fizzy chemical reaction will ensue, which should be followed by the hot water. Pour the water from a reasonable height (gravity helps in this scenario) and then leave the cleaner in the toilet overnight. Flush in the morning to see if your cleaner worked.

5) Use A Chemical Drain Cleaner

If you prefer to use store-bought products, there are plenty of good drain chemical cleaners to choose from at your local convenience store. However, this method is not as good for the environment, since the toxic chemicals used can interact with the groundwater. It is also dangerous for humans, pets, and it damages your pipes — so it should only be used in extreme circumstances. Chemical cleaners will not dislodge hard objects, so do not use this method if a toy gets caught in your pipe.

Add the specified amount of liquid to your toilet, and then close the toilet bowl and wait. The fumes of chemical cleaners are toxic and can cause disorientation, so leave the bathroom while waiting. After the specified amount of time, flush the toilet to see if the drain clears.

plumber and men's toilet behind

6) Use A Drain Snake To Unclog Toilet

The drain snake is by far the best way to clear out deep clogs and objects, like toys or plastic bottles. However, not everyone knows how to use it. A drain snake operates in much the same way as a wire hanger, physically breaking through the blockage. The main difference is the drain snake has an extraordinary reach and can make it to deeper clogs if necessary.

To use a drain snake, push it down into the toilet hold and gradually start feeding the wire through. When you reach the blockage, you must twist and apply pressure until you break through. If you still cannot remove a hard object, you will probably need to call a plumber.

7) Use A Vacuum Cleaner

It is essential only to use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner when trying to unclog a toilet. If you do own one, these machines can be great for clearing drains. First, vacuum out all of the water and debris from the bathroom. Then, apply the hose as far as the vacuum cleaner will allow it. You might need a hand towel, or something else, to create a seal around the toilet bowl. Then, turn on the vacuum and see what happens. Ideally, whatever is clogging the toilet will be dislodged.

8) Use Soap And Hot Water To Unclog The Toilet

Nightmare scenario: you are stuck at friends out without anything to use, and you are too embarrassed to ask for assistance. There is one last ditch effort you can use.

Use hand soap in the bathroom and apply a bunch to the toilet bowl. Then, using whatever device you have around, begin filling a container with warm water from the sink. Keep adding hot water to the soap in the toilet. After a while, the soap will lubricate the pipes, allowing anything blocked objects to clear through. Keep adding solvent until you think there is enough and then try flushing. Hopefully, if it is a minor clog, this will be enough to fix the toilet.

How To Unclog Toilet - Using soap and hot water

9) Call A Plumber

If you have tried everything, or are uncomfortable, you will need to call a professional plumber. Plumbers are great at clearing drains and removing objects, but they are costly. Still, they have the know-how to take apart toilets if necessary. Use them as a last resort when you cannot unclog your toilet.

How To Prevent Toilet Clogs In The Future

bathroom interior

The best way to deal with clogged toilets is never actually to deal with them. Prevent toilet clogs in the future by being conscientious of how much toilet paper you are using. Often it is the toilet paper, not the human waste, that causes most clogs. So, if you need to, try flushing multiple times, instead of only once at the very end. This process will help distribute the toilet paper more effectively. However, only do this method when you need to — it wastes a lot of water.

Most organic waste can — and should — be solved without the help of a plumber. If you still do not have any of the ingredients needed to clear a clogged toilet, feel free to get creative. This list is by no means exhaustive, so if you find a tool or an unorthodox way to remove the blockage, by all means, have at it. Hopefully, one of our methods helped or inspired you to fix your toilet.