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How to Unclog a Toilet

A clogged toilet demands your immediate attention. Most likely, you’ll be able to solve the problem quickly with household tools and supplies. You have several options to try when learning how to unclog a toilet. You can start with a plunger and advance to other methods for stubborn clogs.

Tools How to Unclog a Toilet

Hopefully, you’ll only need a plunger to get the toilet flushing properly again. Be sure to use a toilet plunger and not a small sink plunger.

  • Toilet plunger with fold-out flange
  • Wire coat hanger
  • Drain snake (also called auger or flexible drain tool)
  • Wet-dry vac (not a regular vacuum)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety glasses

7 Approaches on How to Unclog a Toilet

To Begin:

  1. Stop flushing to avoid forcing the clogged toilet to overflow.
  2. Open the tank lid and look inside to confirm that the flapper is covering the hole.
    1. Tank water is clean and presents no sanitation concerns if you need to manually shut the flapper.
  3. Spread newspaper or old towels around the toilet to soak up spills.

Plunger Method To Unclog a Toilet:

  1. When unclogging a toilet, you should always wear rubber gloves.
  2. Run hot water over your plunger.
  3. Fit the plunger over the toilet bowl drain and push down to make a tight seal.
  4. Make sure that the plunger is underwater.
    1. Add water if necessary to submerge plunger.
  5. Push the plunger down and then lift up while maintaining its contact with the bowl.
  6. Continue the pumping action with the plunger until water begins to drain.
  7. Flush toilet several times to confirm the clog has been removed.

Enzyme Method To Unclog a Toilet:

  1. Buy an enzyme product that breaks down solid organic waste materials.
  2. Read product directions to see how much enzyme product to pour into bowl drain.
  3. Wait overnight because enzymes need time to attack organic solids.
  4. Flush toilet several times to see if the product worked.

Homemade Drain Cleaner Method To Unclog a Toilet:

  1. Heat at least 1/2 gallon of water on the stove.
  2. Set aside water to cool to about 130 degrees.
  3. Pour 1 cup baking soda and 2 cups vinegar into toilet bowl.
    1. Fizzing will immediately result as the chemical reaction attacks organic solids.
  4. From a standing position, pour hot water into bowl.
  5. Leave the mixture in the toilet overnight.
  6. Try flushing to see if the clog has gone away.

Help Unclog Toilet CTA

Snake Method To Unclog a Toilet:

* Please note that this method can damage the drains and the toilet.

  1. Get a drain snake to tackle obstructions packed into the pipe.
  2. Insert the end of the snake into the toilet bowl drain.
  3. Turn the handle to feed the snake into drain while pushing the coil.
  4. Keep forcing and twisting the snake down until you hit the clog.
  5. Continue working the snake against the clog.
  6. Water should begin to drain as the clog is broken into pieces.
  7. Flush the toilet.

Coat Hanger Method (Only For Hard Clogs Close To Drain):

* Please note that this method can damage the drains and the toilet.

  1. Unwind a metal coat hanger and bend it into a straight wire.
  2. Wrap a rag around one end of the wire.
  3. Secure rag with duct tape.
  4. Wear rubber gloves while you insert wire with rag into drain.
  5. Work wire against clog until it pushes free.
  6. Flush toilet.

Chemical Drain Cleaner Method To Unclog a Toilet:

* Please note that this method can damage the drains and the toilet.

  1. For stubborn organic clogs, you may buy a jug of chemical drain cleaner for toilets.
  2. Turn on the fan in the bathroom or open a window to vent harsh fumes.
  3. Refer to manufacturer’s directions to see how much liquid to pour into the toilet bowl.
  4. Wear gloves while pouring liquid.
  5. Wait as directed before flushing.

Wet-dry Vac Method To Unclog a Toilet:

  1. Get a wet-dry vac when other attempts to learn how to unclog a toilet have failed.
  2. Suck water out of bowl with wet-dry vac.
  3. Remove debris from toilet bowl.
  4. Insert 5 or 6 inches of vacuum hose into bowl drain.
  5. Wrap an old towel around the hose over the drain to create a seal.
  6. Hold towel and hose tightly in place and turn on vacuum.
  7. The suction may yank the clog up to the hose.
  8. Remove what is brought up by the wet-dry vac.
  9. Flush the toilet several times.
  10. Properly dispose of the waste.

Professional Toilet Repairs and Drain Cleaning

Homeowners typically succeed when following these directions when learning how to unclog a toilet. However, tough clogs formed by small toys or other unexpected items may require professional service. Tree roots growing into sewer lines also will not respond to your attempts to clear the drain. Oliver provides drain cleaning and toilet repair services to customers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. When you’ve got a bad toilet clog, contact us for plumbing services right away.

Need help with this project?

If you do not have the time, tools, or experience necessary to complete the project, please contact the professionals at Oliver for help.

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