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How to Unblock a Toilet Easily With These 6 Most Common Ways

Man plunging a blocked toilet

Does a blocked toilet sound like a nightmare? Fret not, we have got your back! Today we will present the 6 commonly known ways on how to unblock a toilet. Before we continue, let’s look into the types of blockages, since that will determine the best method to resolve the clog.

Identify the Type of the Blockage

А sign that a blockage is forming is the water draining slowly from the toilet. When you notice this, do not wait for the toilet to become completely obstructed. It is much easier to unblock it early on.

The second type of stoppage is when, after flushing the toilet, the water in the bowl is very little or there is none at all. This means that there is an issue with the air circulation in the waste pipe.

Lastly, there is the complete blockage which is identified by how the water level in the toilet bowl keeps rising towards the brim and does not drain away. If you have this type of obstruction, move as much water as possible from the bowl into a separate bucket and avoid the temptation to flush again, otherwise, you risk having to deal with water spilling everywhere and a much bigger mess.

If you are having trouble identifying the type of blockage, call a professional to help you out.

How to Unblock a Toilet with a Plunger

Firstly, we will look at a simple and effective way to unblock a toilet with a plunger. Follow those steps:

Step #1. Prepare the area

Place old towels and newspapers around the toilet bowl to protect the floor from any overspill, splashes or drips. Save your best towels for another time. It might be a good idea to have a bucket waiting on standby, should the case to pull up rather than pushing down a blockage arise. Use rubber gloves and wear old clothes to protect yourself.

Step #2. Prevent overflows

To ensure that no overflowing nightmares happen that day, you will need to turn the shutoff valve. Look for it on the pipe coming off the wall behind the toilet. Turn it clockwise and make sure not to accidentally break it if it is not budging and you use too much strength. You can spray a little penetrating oil on the valve to loosen it. 

If that doesn’t work or you have an older toilet that doesn’t have a shutoff valve, deal with either the float or the flapper inside the water tank. Don’t worry, the water inside the tank is the same as the one that comes out of the tap. 

The float is the large ball-like or balloon-like element that sinks down when the water level drops and opens the water valve to fill up the tank. You can use something to keep it upright. Alternatively, you can close the flapper. That is the circular drain stopper attached to a chain. Doing either of these three options will prevent water from filling up the tank after you have flushed.

Step #3. Double-check your plunger

Before proceeding with the plunger, double-check if you can remove the obstruction manually if it is a child’s toy or another object. If that is not the case, then it is time to pick up the plunger. Make sure you are using the correct one: a plunger that has a rubber flange that can fold back up into the suction cup when not in use is for toilets; a plunger without one is for sinks. Using the wrong instrument will make the job more difficult and time-consuming since you won’t have a tight seal around the hole. To make the plunger even more effective, you can soften the rubber by soaking it in hot water for a few minutes. 

Before you start plunging, make sure the plunger is submerged in water and it is completely covering the pipe. You can add water from the sink to the toilet bowl to achieve the best results.

Step #4. It’s time to plunge

Start by slowly and firmly pushing down to create a seal and then pulling up sharply to dislodge the obstruction. When you pick up the pace, you will notice the water starting to drain. It usually takes at least 15 minutes to unclog a toilet. 

When draining, some water may dislodge and push forward the blockage. If it doesn’t, then fill up the toilet bowl with water to its usual level again and repeat the process. Some stubborn clogs containing hair or wet wipes may require a couple of rounds of plunging.

Step #5. Clean your tools

Once you are done, it is important to give your tool a good clean. The best way is to pour some bleach and washing liquid into the toilet bowl and swirl the plunger for a few minutes in the mixture. Then rinse it by flushing the toilet twice. This will also help move the blockage forward.

How to Unblock a Toilet Without a Plunger

What happens if the plunger doesn’t do the job or you don’t have one? If that is the case, we recommend the following methods to unblock a toilet without a plunger:

Unclog Your Loo with a Drain Auger

A toilet auger (also known as a closet auger, drain auger and plumber’s snake) is essentially a long, flexible cable, which has a handle on one end and a corkscrew-shaped tip on the other. It also has a rubber covering that protects the toilet bowl from scratches. Follow these steps to find out how to unclog a toilet with a snake:

Step #1. Insert the cable into the toilet

Start by inserting the auger into the toilet and positioning the curved part of the instrument at the curved part of the toilet bowl. If you can still see the cable, then you need to push the auger further in.

Step #2. Rotate the handle until the blockage is clear

Hold the auger housing in one hand and rotate the handle slowly with the other. Make sure you don’t use too much force as this could backfire and make the cable coil back. Turn the handle patiently in one direction until you get some resistance. When you feel like it cannot go any further, then it is safe to assume that you have reached the blockage.

If the cork-screw tip perforates the blockage, you can pull the cable out along with the obstruction. Alternatively, the tip can break the obstruction into smaller pieces, which can then be flushed away safely.

Step #3. Get the cable out

If the cable can go in deeper than before and there is no resistance anymore, pull it out by rotating in the opposite direction.

Step #4. Test and repeat when necessary

To check if you have cleared the blockage, flush the toilet a couple of times. If the water is not draining properly, repeat the process.

When you are done with the auger, wipe it or wash it and let it dry on its own, but never store it wet, otherwise it will become rusty.

Use a Coat Hanger to Remove Clogs

To use this method, you would need a wire coat hanger or, better yet, one with a plastic covering. Wire coat hangers are pliable enough to bend out of shape into a curve, and the plastic-covered ones will not scratch your toilet. If you only have a simple wire coat hanger, wrap some tape or an old rag around it to protect the toilet bowl.

Insert the makeshift instrument into the drain and manoeuvre it to remove the clog. If you feel the obstruction, push against it and if you are lucky, you will see the water starting to drain properly. On the other hand, you might find it difficult to reach a blockage using this method. This means that the stoppage is further down the drain.

Unblock Your Toilet with Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a commonly used household product. You might know it as a raising agent used in baking, however, baking soda has many other applications. When mixed with its partner-in-crime, white vinegar, it creates a powerful chemical reaction. This mixture is often used to clean bathrooms, specifically limescale and soap residue. Also, you can use it to deodorize your toilet’s waste pipes.

When it comes to unblocking a toilet or a sink, if you know that the obstruction is not a solid object, then you can use baking soda and vinegar as an easy, cheap and fast solution to your troubles. The mixture works best to unblock clogs caused by too much waste. However, if you have a septic tank or a cesspit, it is not recommended to use this method because it might disrupt the enzymes that make them work properly. This quick and simple homemade trick works the same way when you are dealing with blocked drains, as well. 

Try to Pour Some Hot Water

Pouring hot water in is the simplest way to unblock a toilet, especially if the blockage is only partial.

Before you start, make sure that the water level inside the toilet bowl is low. If needed, transfer excess water into a bucket and dispose of it through an external drain. Pour some washing liquid into the bowl to lubricate it and the waste outlet. Wait 10 minutes and then pour 2-3L of warm or hot water. You need to do this fast so be careful not to scald yourself. To protect yourself and the toilet porcelain, it is best to not use boiling or scalding hot water.

If the water level falls in a few minutes, then you are all set. If not, then it is time to reach for the plunger.

How to Unblock a Toilet with Chemicals

If all else fails, you can either call a plumber or try using chemicals to unblock a toilet. They are certified to liquefy materials. This will only work if the blockage is not caused by a hard object. There are two options: enzyme-based and chemical-based drain cleaners. Enzyme products are safer for the environment and for your drains. If you choose to unblock your toilet with a chemical drain cleaner, follow the instructions on the container since these chemicals are often toxic.

Disclaimer: These products are not suitable for septic tanks. There are certain septic-safe drain cleaners on the market that would prevent system damages.

Why Does Your Toilet Keep Blocking?

There are three main reasons your toilet keeps blocking:

  • The first one is that you have an older, low-flow toilet, which lacks the necessary pressure to clear out the drain and the trap. In that case, you may need to replace your toilet or start using less toilet paper.
  • The second reason is flushing non-flushable items, such as baby wipes, cotton products, sanitary pads, toys, and others.
  • The third and most common cause of repeated blockages is that toilet paper and limescale have built up over time.

How to Prevent Toilet Clogs

Here are some simple tips to prevent toilet clogs:

  • Clean the toilet regularly to remove limescale build-up
  • Avoid flushing non-flushable items
  • Do not flush large quantities of toilet paper
  • Watch out for construction materials during repairs and renovations
  • Be mindful of children’s toys
  • Keep clear of falling objects, such as shampoos, soap, combs, tampons, or if unavoidable, keep the lid closed
  • Do not flush food products, especially whole foods

Key Takeaways

There are a few common ways to unblock a toilet:

  • With a plunger
  • With a toilet auger
  • DIY: hot water; baking soda and vinegar, wire coat hanger
  • Commercial drain cleaner

No matter which you choose, always take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your toilet. If you are not feeling up to the task, leave it to the professionals and call a plumber right away!

How to Unblock a Toilet Easily With These 6 Most Common Ways

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