Toilet clogs happen to everyone. Even if you’re only flushing the right stuff, too much at once or over time can still cause a backup. And while your trusted local plumbers will always be there for you, unclogging a toilet is often a job you can take care of yourself.
All it takes are a few household supplies and a little know-how.
Follow these tips to learn what unclogs a toilet, and how to safely do so on your own.
5 Tips to Unclog a Toilet
1. Use a Plunger
When using a plunger, you can create a better seal by spreading a little petroleum jelly around the rim of the plunger. Just be sure to get a tight fit at the bottom of the bowl and ensure that the top of the plunger is submerged. If necessary, add more water. Plunge as vigorously as possible without splashing, and with a little luck, you’ll be flushing again in no time.
For those wondering, “What do I do if my toilet is clogged, and I don’t have a plunger?” First of all, go get yourself a durable, rubber plunger with a flange after your clog is cleared. A plunger is hands down the best method to unclog a toilet in an emergency situation.
But in the meantime, try these other ways to unclog a toilet, including:
Related Content: 5 Steps to a Winning Plunger Technique
2. Break It Down with the Model Volcano Method
If you don’t have a plunger, one of the best ways to unclog a toilet is with baking soda and vinegar. This model volcano method is less expensive and gentler on your plumbing than chemical cleaners – and the key ingredients are probably in your pantry right now.
To make this volcano magic happen, bring a large pot of water to a boil, then allow it to cool for five minutes. Add one cup of baking soda to your toilet bowl, followed by two cups of vinegar. Pour the water in, taking care to not overflow the bowl, and allow the mixture to work for several hours. If the clog doesn’t prove too tough, you’re back in business.
3. Add Slip with Dish Soap
A variation on the volcano method uses liquid dish soap to get things moving. As before, boil a large pot of water and allow it to cool slightly. While you’re waiting, squirt a generous amount of liquid dish soap into the clogged toilet bowl and allow it to settle.
Pour the water in, making sure to pour from at least a foot above the bowl – you want the force of the water to push things through your soaped-up exit. With a little luck, the clog will slide on through.
4. Snake out the Clog
If you have access to a plumbing snake, you have one of the best toilet bowl uncloggers. There are variations among models, but the basic concept is universal – feed the flexible end of the snake into the toilet drain until you encounter the clog, then twist the snake handle to break up and dislodge the obstruction.
Just be sure you’re not using a snake that’s too large for your toilet – and take your time when extracting the flexible end. Take it out too quickly, and you could fling dirty water all over the bathroom.
5. Call the Pros
If your toilet won’t unclog with a plunger or these other methods, there’s likely a deeper blockage in your drain, or something wrong with the toilet itself.
To prevent any damage to your toilet or drains, the next best step is to call a professional for toilet plumbing services.
Related Content: Common Causes of Toilet Clogs