The definitive guide to fixing a clogged toilet

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Chemicals you can try

Not everyone has plungers or snakes, but there are other ways to loosen a clog using everyday household items. These methods, while usually cheaper, will require you to wait for the chemicals to do their jobs. This means that you shouldn’t expect an immediate fix.

Dish soap and hot water

The materials for this method are the easiest to gather, as you likely have some dish soap in your kitchen already.

Step 1 — Pour about a teaspoon of dish soap into the bowl. It doesn’t take much, just enough to loosen the clog. Let that sit for about 10 minutes to try to loosen the dirt.

Step 2 — Fill a pan with dependable handles with water and put it on the stove to boil while the soap does its thing.

Step 3 — Before the water comes to a complete boil, take it off the stove. Using boiling water could crack the toilet bowl, so grabbing it right before it starts to bubble will ensure a crack-free transference.

Step 4 — Carefully take the pot from the stove and pour the hot water into the toilet bowl from about waist height. The force of the water should be enough to push the clog through.

Step 5 — If the water doesn’t drain, let the soap and warm water soak in the bowl.

Depending on the clog, this process can take a awhile. You may need to add more soap and water, but if the water isn’t draining, you might end up causing the bowl to overflow.

Baking soda and vinegar

Lemon, Baking Soda, and Vinegar

Finally, a reason to use what you learned while making a volcano in seventh grade. You probably won’t get an award for the chemical reaction housed in your toilet bowl, but it will make it usable again.

Step 1 — Scoop some water out of the bowl, ensuring the baking soda doesn’t get completely soaked.

Step 2 — Pour at least half a box of baking soda into the bowl.

Step 3 — Slowly pour a bottle of white vinegar on top of the baking soda. It’s going to fizzle a lot, so do it slowly to ensure you don’t splash yourself.

Step 4 — Let it sit, bubble, and eat away at the clog for about 30 minutes while you bring a pan full of water close to a boil.

Step 5 — Slowly pour the hot water into the drain. If the water drains, you’ve killed the clog. If it does drain but it’s still slow, repeat the process until it finally flushes.

Heavy duty chemicals

how to unclog a toilet 8622460 l
Joseph Belanger/123RF
Joseph Belanger/123RF

This method is for the people who don’t want to mess around with homemade remedies and go straight to the good stuff. Head to any store and purchase some drain cleaner. Make sure it’s something that you can safely use on ceramic, however, as some chemicals can eat away at your toilet.

Step 1 — Go to a grocery or hardware store and buy a bottle of drain cleaner.

Step 2 — Follow the instructions on the back of the bottle, which usually amounts to you pouring the bottle down the drain and letting the poison do its job.

Step 3 — After some time has passed, check to see if the water will go down. If it doesn’t, you’ll have to wait a little longer.

If you’ve tried all of these methods and still can’t clear the bowl, you may have to bite the bullet and call a plumber to remove the toilet from the wall. Doing so will allow you to figure out if the problem is buried deep within the pipes.


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