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How to Unclog Toilet

Updated on:
May 28, 2024
How to Unclog Toilet

You've encountered that dreaded moment - the toilet water is rising and not draining. Don't panic! Clogged toilets are a common household issue that you can often fix yourself.

With a plunger, some rubber gloves, and a bit of patience, you're well on your way to resolving the problem. But what if the plunger doesn't do the trick? Are there other methods you can try before calling in a professional? Let's explore further.

Gather Your Unclogging Tools

Before diving into the unclogging process, let's round up the essential tools you'll need to get the job done effectively and efficiently. First off, you'll need a plunger. This is your primary tool for unclogging a toilet. The most effective type is a flange plunger, which has an extra ring of rubber to make a better seal in the toilet bowl.

Next, grab a pair of rubber gloves. Unclogging a toilet can be a messy job, and you'll want to protect your hands. You'll also need a bucket and some old towels or rags. These are for cleaning up any water that might splash or overflow.

A toilet auger is another tool you might want to have on hand. It's a special type of snake designed for toilets, used to break up or retrieve the clog if the plunger doesn't work.

Understanding the Blockage

To effectively unclog your toilet, it's important to understand what's causing the blockage. Sometimes, it's just too much toilet paper or non-flushable items like napkins, wipes, or children's toys. At other times, the blockage could be due to a buildup of hard water deposits or even a problem further down the sewer line.

Identifying the cause will help you decide the best approach. If you've recently flushed a lot of toilet paper, that's likely the culprit. If you suspect a non-flushable item, you might need to manually remove it. If you can't identify a specific cause, it could be a buildup of deposits or a sewer issue.

Image Source: Canva

Plunger Use Basics

Mastering the art of the plunger is your first step in tackling a clogged toilet. It's not as intimidating as you might think. First, get a decent plunger. A flange plunger, designed specifically for toilets, is the best choice.

Next, place the plunger into the toilet bowl, ensuring the flange is inside the drain hole. The bell should cover the drain completely, forming a tight seal. You should have enough water in the bowl to submerge the plunger head. If there's not enough, add some.

Now comes the pushing and pulling part. Push down on the plunger handle, forcing air out, then pull up sharply. This creates a suction force that can dislodge the clog. Don't be too forceful; a gentle, steady rhythm usually works best. Repeat the process a few times if necessary.

After plunging, flush the toilet to check if the clog is clear. If the water goes down as it should, congratulations! You've successfully unclogged your toilet using a plunger. If not, don't worry. You might need to repeat the process or move on to other unclogging methods. But remember, the key to effective plunging is patience and perseverance.

Other Unclogging Methods

If the plunger doesn't do the trick, don't panic; there are other effective methods to unclog your toilet. One such method is the use of a toilet auger, also known as a plumbing snake. This tool works by reaching down into the toilet to break up the clog. Simply feed the flexible end into the toilet bowl and turn the handle until you feel resistance. Then, twist and push the auger to break up the clog.

Another method is the use of a wire coat hanger. Unbend the hanger and wrap one end with a rag to prevent scratching the porcelain. Insert it into the toilet bowl and push gently until you feel the clog.

As a last resort, you might consider using a chemical drain cleaner. But be cautious; these are toxic and can damage your pipes if used improperly. Always follow the instructions on the package, and wear gloves and eye protection.

Post-Unclogging Cleanup and Prevention

Once you've successfully unclogged your toilet, it's essential you do a thorough cleanup and take preventive measures to avoid future blockages. Start by disinfecting the area, especially if there was an overflow. Use a bathroom cleaner on the toilet and surrounding floor, ensuring you're wearing gloves for hygiene. Wipe surfaces dry to prevent slips.

Now, let's focus on prevention. Regular maintenance can help avoid clogs. Don't flush items like wet wipes, cotton balls, or feminine products. They're not designed to break down like toilet paper and can cause blockages. Also, try not to dispose of cooking grease or food scraps in the toilet. These can solidify and build up over time.

Consider a monthly routine of pouring hot water down the toilet to break down potential clogs. It's also a good idea to invest in a high-quality plunger and keep it handy. If your toilet clogs frequently, it may be worth having a plumber inspect your pipes for underlying issues.


Unclogging a toilet isn't fun, but it's doable. Gather your tools, identify the issue, and start with a plunger.

If that doesn't work, try an auger or wire coat hanger. Use chemical cleaners as a last resort.

Afterward, clean and disinfect the area, take preventive measures, and consider regular maintenance.

Remember, it's better to prevent clogs than to deal with them. Stay informed, be prepared, and you'll handle any toilet troubles that come your way.

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