How to Unclog a Toilet When a Plunger Doesn’t Work?

A clogged toilet is one of the worst nightmares in any household. It is not uncommon to find a clogged toilet during a house event. Toilets normally clog during such events due to the strain influx of people causes on the plumbing system.

Apart from stress on the plumbing during parties, there are other reasons why your toilet may clog. The most common causes are foreign objects such as hair, toys, chewing gum, and feminine products such as tampons. In other instances, it may boil down to the type of toilet paper you are using.

One-ply toilet paper disintegrates into small particles faster compared to three-ply toilet paper. Therefore, three-ply toilet paper is more likely to cause toilet clogs. Also, the flushable toilet wipes are not as ‘flushable’ as advertised. They take a while to disintegrate too, and may cause clogs.

There are several ways to unclog a toilet, and the easiest way is using a plunger. The procedure to unclog a toilet with a plunger is simple. The steps entail controlling the water level, then finally dislodging the object with the plunger.

In other instances, you may not have a plunger, or the plunger might not be a fit for the situation. You have to rely on other tools and techniques to fix the clogged toilet. The approaches you can use include:


1. Waiting it out

Waiting it out is the simplest way to unclog a toilet. You just sit, wait and let nature run its course. Waiting it out works because you give the clog enough time to dislodge on its own. The water in the bowl exerts pressure on the clog and may be enough to push it through the piping.

The period of waiting it out may vary, so you should be prepared to leave the toilet for even as long as one night. You need to ensure no additional water flows into the toilet bowl. Also, it would be advisable to put the bathroom on lockdown and use the alternative bathrooms available.


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2. Using Dishwashing Soap and Hot Water

You can unclog your blocked toilet using hot water or a combination of hot water and dish soap. You can first try pouring hot water into the toilet bowl to clear the blockage. The process requires no procedure. Just make sure you pour the water with enough force.

If that does not work, use dish soap. You should pour about a cup of dish soap into the toilet bowl and let it sit. After a few minutes, pour in your hot water and let the mixture work its magic.

The force exerted by the water and the heat is usually enough to break down the clog and dislodge it. If that is not enough, the addition of dish soap will help. The dish soap acts by breaking down dirt and grease. 

The process is not instantaneous, it may take some time for the results to kick in, about 30 minutes or longer. Mind the temperature of the water you use. Do not use boiling water because it will damage your porcelain and leave may cause cracks.

3. Using a Toilet Brush

If you clog a toilet and there is no plunger around, you can try using the toilet brush. You want to make sure you jam the brush into the bowl down into the trap. Then push the toilet brush vigorously back and forth as you twist the toilet brush in a cleaning motion.

The movement of the brush will break down the proximal debris and maybe enough to propel the clog out and stop the block. You should note the amount of force you apply during the process. You do not want to damage your toilet or break the toilet brush.

How to Unclog a Toilet When a Plunger Doesn't Work?

4. Using a Drain Snake or Auger

If your pipe is prone to blocking, you should invest and buy a drain snake or auger. Instead of paying the plumber every time they come over, you can buy or rent an auger and do it yourself. The drain snake is recommended use when dealing with smaller pipes while the auger is better for bigger pipes

To use the drain auger, place the bowl guard at the bottom of the trap and twist the handle. You should rotate the handle in both directions if there is an opposing force. If you feel some resistance during the process, persist in the direction, then restart in the opposite motion.

When you feel that the process has been successful, withdraw the auger and flush the toilet. If the clog is persistent, redo the steps until the clog is clear, then proceed to wash the toilet. The auger’s purpose is to push the blockage through the plumbing if it cannot break down the clog.

When using an auger, you should be careful not to scratch or damage the toilet bowl with the tube or auger head. You should ensure you clean the auger after the operation by running it through water and drying it afterward. Keep your tools in good condition.


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5. Using Baking Soda and Vinegar

There are multiple home uses for the vinegar and baking soda combination. Among the uses is, clearing clogged pipes and drains. You first need to pour half a cup of baking soda evenly into the toilet bowl. Create a mixture of a cup of hot water and white vinegar, then pour it into the toilet bowl.

You will notice a fizzing after pouring in the vinegar. The action of the vinegar and baking soda should start to break up the clog. Give the mixture about 20 minutes before expecting results. If the first attempt fails, try again but give it more time. Once the blockage clears, flush the toilet with hot water.

6. Using Drain Cleaners

If the friendly household items prove unsuccessful, it might be time to use a drain cleaner. For solid drain cleaners, use half a cup of the cleaner, then pour in hot water to dissolve the chemical. For liquid cleaners, pour in the amount indicated on the bottle.

You will notice some bubbling in the clog. Leave the clog to clear up on its own. The drain cleaners come in three different varieties but they all work in the same manner. They break down and dissolve the clog material. Afterward, make sure you flush down the cleaner and rinse your bathroom.

Before you decide on using drain cleaners you should be aware that there are several things to consider. For one, the drain cleaners may damage your plumbing since they dissolve any material they are in contact with. The chemical may dissolve the seals created during the plumbing and cause a water leak.

Also, drain cleaning chemicals are toxic, and therefore, having the room well ventilated is important. Ensure you wear gloves and any protective clothing to avoid direct contact with the drain cleaner. You should also be careful not to spill the chemicals on unintended surfaces.


How to Unclog a Toilet When a Plunger Doesn't Work?


7. Using Wire Hangers

If you cannot buy an auger, you can get creative with a wire hanger. You first need to unwind the hanger and straighten it. When you are done, insert the hanger into the toilet bowls and use a push and pull motion. Occasionally push the hanger from side to side in the motion. 

The hanger action should be to break down the clog material or push it down the piping. When using the hanger, be careful not to scratch the surface of your porcelain.

8. Detach the Toilet

If all else fails you can consider detaching the toilet. You should first start by closing the water supply to the toilet. Next, detach the piping that goes into the cistern then proceeds to drain the toilet bowl and the cistern by flushing. You can use water bottles for this process.

Next, you should locate where the toilet is bolted down. It is usually at the back of the toilet system. Unbolt the nut and proceed to remove the wax seal. Once the entire system is detached, gently remove the toilet and place it aside.

You can then comfortably look for the object blocking the passage. Often in such cases, it is probably a kid’s toy. Once the object has been retrieved, proceed to fit the toilet. You should ensure you create a new seal at the floor flange to avoid leaks. 

The process is quite complicated and should be a last resort. You can save yourself some time and energy by calling in a plumber. However, if you are handy and like a challenge, you are welcome to try.



There are multiple ways to clear a blocked toilet even without the help of a plunger. Be patient throughout the process, and do not rush into doing anything drastic. Remember to use gloves during the process. It is important to maintain good hygiene to avoid illnesses.

If you live in an old house with old plumbing, you may notice your house will have regular clogs or slow drainage. The clogs may be a result of mineral build-up over the years. You should plan to have the plumbing replaced. In case you have difficulty clearing up a clog, it is alright to throw in the towel and call the professionals. For example, if you live within Nashville, you should contact experts with great plumbing services Nashville has to offer!


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