Cleaning & Organizing

How to Unblock a Toilet: 5 Super-Effective Methods

Going to the bathroom is part of everyday life. It’s natural.

But what isn’t natural and doesn’t have to be a part of your life is having a clogged toilet. This dreaded moment occurs to many people, sometimes at the most inopportune times, like when using a friend’s bathroom or when you’re in a hurry. 

That’s why it’s essential to know how best to unclog a toilet using items you probably already have around the house. Here are 5 effective methods to unblock a toilet.

Method #1: Soap and Water

Plain soap and hot water can be the first and only step to unclog a toilet. Liquid soap is not only an excellent degreaser, but it will provide much-needed lubrication. Also, the hot water will help break up the clog material. 

Any type of liquid soap will do. Make sure the water is hot, either from the tap or heated in the microwave or on the stove. 

Depending on how much water is in the toilet bowl, pour between 1 tablespoon and 1/2 cup of soap directly into the water. Add a few cups of hot water. Alternately, you can mix the soap and water before pouring the mixture into the bowl.

Wait between 30 and 60 minutes before flushing. If the water doesn’t recede, you can repeat the process. Not only is this a great non-toxic method for removing a clog, but the soap and water will help clean your toilet. It’s also inexpensive and doesn’t require much effort.

Method #2: Plunger

If the soap and water didn’t take care of the problem, you might need to use a little elbow grease. A plunger can be very effective at removing clogs if you use the right type. The funnel-cup plunger is best for clogged toilets because it’s designed to form a tight seal between the plunger and the bowl. 

It helps to run the plunger under warm water to soften the rubber and create a tighter seal. If the water level is too high in the bowl to add the plunger without overflowing, remove some of the water first. 

Make sure the plunger is covering the hole. Maintaining the seal, push and pull the plunger until the suction has removed the clog. The water level may go down slowly or all at once, depending on the clog. You may have to try several times before you see any results.

Because most households have at least one plunger, this method doesn’t require a trip to the store. It does require a little effort on your part and can be a little messy if you’re not careful.

Method #3: Baking Soda and Vinegar

The chemical reaction that results from adding baking soda to white vinegar can be enough to break up even the most unruly clogged toilet. Before you begin, you will want to remove some water from the bowl. The bubbles created from the mixture may result in an overflow. Just in case, you may want to place a few towels on the floor around the toilet.

Add one cup of baking soda directly into the bowl, followed by one cup of vinegar. Let the mixture sit for at least 20 minutes to allow it to break up the clog. Pour some hot water into the bowl to check on the status. If the water goes down, just flush, and you’re good to go. If it doesn’t, you can try adding more of the mixture.

Because baking soda and white vinegar together form a powerful non-toxic cleanser, your bowl will not only be unclogged but will be sparkling clean when you’re done. Both baking soda and vinegar are inexpensive household items that you probably already have in your pantry.

Method #4: Wet Vacuum

A stubborn clog may not stand up to the powerful suction of your wet/dry vacuum cleaner. Before you start, be sure that the vacuum cleaner is on the right setting to avoid accidentally blowing dirty water into your face.

To create a tight seal in the toilet, attach a rag to the end of the vacuum’s hose with some duct tape. You will probably want to throw away whatever rag you’re using so don’t use your good shop towels or microfiber cloths.

Use the vacuum to remove as much water from the toilet before trying to remove the clog. You will want to properly discard any waste you’ve removed from the end of the hose and inside the vacuum. Give the toilet a flush to make sure the clog is completely gone.

This method can be a messy option and involves cleaning and disinfecting your vacuum when you’re done. 

Method #5: Toilet Snake

If everything else has failed, it’s time to try a toilet auger or snake. This hard-working tool can reach deep into the toilet trap to grab hold of and remove clogged material. The device is highly effective because you can easily maneuver the flexible cable through bends in the pipe.

Simply put on some household gloves, place the cable into the toilet bowl, and turn the handle. You’ve reached the clog when the cable won’t go any further. Either turn the handle a few more times to force the clog through the drain or pull the clog out. Give the toilet a flush to make sure you’ve gotten everything out. You may need to try this a few times.

Even though the toilet snake is an effective tool, you will need to be careful because it can permanently scratch your bowl. The method can leave you with a messy toilet and floor, and you will have to discard any waste you remove. You should also clean and disinfect the snake prior to storage.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Prevent A Clogged Toilet?

Many modern toilets are designed to use less water than in the past. If you have a low-flow toilet, remember that they can use as little as 1.6 gallons per flush. This means you may have to use less paper or break up your visit into two or more flushes. You should also be aware that certain items such as paper towels and baby wipes are not flushable and should never be put in the toilet.

When Should I Call A Plumber For a Clogged Toilet?

A clogged toilet can lead to plumbing problems in other parts of your home. If you see water backing up in the sink or tub, you may have a bigger problem than just a clogged toilet. If you’ve tried everything in your arsenal and nothing works, it may be time for a professional.

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