How to unclog a toilet with 4 easy methods

by Team HomeServe |
How to unclog a backed up toilet

Have you ever gone to flush the toilet and had the unpleasant experience of seeing the water rise toward you? When a toilet is clogged, it is easy for it to overflow and cause all sorts of disgusting messes. To avoid a major disaster, you need to get your toilet unclogged as quickly as possible.

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How to unclog a toilet using a Plunger

Of course, the most classic way of unclogging a toilet is a basic plunger. Make sure you have the right type of plunger since a sink plunger with a red cup will not work well in curved toilet bowls. Instead, you want a plunger with a black cup and a flexible rubber flap inside. This will flex to fit your toilet drain properly.

Once you have your plunger ready, follow these steps to fight the clog:

1. Turn off your toilet's stop valve so you don't run the risk of it overflowing while you plunge.
2. If the clog is completely covering up the drain hole, push it away to let water flow around the clog.
3. Put the cup over the drain and rotate it slightly to create a seal.
4. Push the handle up and down firmly a few times.
5. Flush the toilet to see if the plunging worked. If not, repeat until the clog is gone.

Plunger-Free toilet unclogging techniques

Plunger-Free Toilet Unclogging Techniques

Don't have a plunger handy? There are actually several other ways of unclogging a toilet that don't rely on having one. One of the easiest ways is just adding about a half cup of dish soap to your toilet. As The Family Handyman explains, this can lubricate your bowl and pipes, helping the clog slide through.

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Another option for breaking up a clog is just basic hot water. Heat your water to almost but not boiling and then slowly pour it into the toilet. If hot water alone is not enough to break up the clog, try adding one cup of baking soda and two cups of vinegar to the bowl. This chemical reaction causes fizzy bubbles that can push your clog away.

How to unclog a toilet with a Snake or an Auger

How to Unclog a Toilet With a Snake or an Auger

If you have a snake or an auger, you can also use these tools instead of a plunger. The benefit of an auger or a snake is that they directly remove the clog and can get far deeper into the toilet. All you have to do is stick it in the toilet and gently move it until you feel the clog break up.

You can even use this technique as a DIY tool. In many cases, a straightened wire hanger can work well to handle clogs. Just be careful using it because you can scratch the coating on your toilet bowl if you use too much force.

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How to tell if you need professional help

All of these methods can be great for a basic toilet clog where the clog is near the bowl. Things get a little trickier if your clog is farther down the pipe or if you have a main drain line clog. Sometimes, a toilet clog can be a sign that something bigger is wrong with your plumbing.

If you notice any of these issues, you may not be able to handle a toilet clog yourself:

  • Repeated clogs that come and go
  • Water backing up into the tub or shower
  • A clog that won't shift after standard plunging
  • An obstruction, like a toy, has been flushed down the toilet
  • Water leaks around the base when you plunge

Being prepared with a Plumbing plan from HomeServe can help you avoid the stress and worry associated with pricey plumbing repairs. When you have a plan and need to call in the professionals, all you have to do is call our 24/7 repair hotline. We will send out a local, licensed, and highly trained plumber to get the job done to your satisfaction.

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