How to Clean a Clogged Toilet

Is your toilet clogged? Cleaning and unclogging it can be done in different ways, some of which are fairly simple. So there is no reason to let the problem go unattended. Hiring a professional plumber can be your last resort as well.

Don’t: Avoid Using Chemical Cleaners.

One of the things you must avoid when cleaning a clogged toilet is using toxic cleaners. They may work, but slower. And if they fail to work, what you have on your hands is a toilet and drain that are full of highly corrosive water.

When this happens, make sure to run water into the toilet overnight so the toxic water drains through. If you need to use a plunger, wear rubber gloves and safety goggles to protect your hands and gloves.

Do: Assess How Bad the Clog Is.

As previously mentioned, there are different methods that you can use to unclog a toilet. The best way to determine which one would work best in a particular situation is to assess how severe the clog is. Once you determine how bad or not-so bad the situation is, you can choose the right method to use.

In the event that water comes through other drains in your home, the problem may be further down the drainpipes. The best way to deal with this problem is to call a plumber.

Use Baking Soda and Vinegar

Complexity: Super simple

1. Measure the amount of baking soda to use, depending on the severity of the clog. Minor clog requires the full amount, while a severe one must be treated in several increments of small amounts of baking soda. Start with a quarter of a cup, a half, and so forth and so on.

2. Use equal parts of baking soda and vinegar.

3. Pour the baking soda first into the toilet, followed by the vinegar. Let both products combine, fizzle and then subside.

4. Pour a kettle of hot water, and then flush to check if the clog is released.

5. Rinse and repeat as necessary, or until the toilet have been unclogged.

6. Flush the toilet once or twice to clean out the bowl, and to see if the toilet is once again working as it should.

Warning: Do not use drain cleaning chemicals before or after using baking soda and vinegar in the toilet. This can release toxic vapors that can be harmful to your health.

Use Dish Soap And Hot Water

The process is simple, but there are risks involved. If the water doesn’t drain during the process, expect an overflow.

1. Pour about a teaspoon of dish soap into the bowl. Let it sit for ten minutes to help loosen dirt.

2. Pour hot water into the bowl about waist height.

3. If the water doesn’t drain, add more soap and water. Repeat several times until the toilet drains.

Warning: Make sure to stop adding more soap and water before an overflow happens.

Use the Ever Reliable Plunger

Complexity: Simple

Out of the number of clogged toilets, about 90% can be fixed with a plunger. But the best one has a rubber bell-shaped end and an extension flange. This is designed to better fit toilets and deliver that extra power.

1. Wear rubber gloves, as things could get messy.

2. Plunge gently the first time to release air out of the rubber end. If you do the opposite, be prepared for a toilet bowl water bath, which is something you don’t want to happen.

3. Once the air has been forced out, plunge in and out as vigorously as you can. This will force water in both directions in the drain, effectively loosening clogs. Repeat for 15 to 20 minutes.

4. To keep you from “working yourself to death”, alternate the plunging action between steady strokes and vigorous plunges.

5. Make sure the plunger stays covered with water to generate as much pressure as possible, along with air.

6. Repeat until water drains smoothly and properly.

Most of the time, using a plunger is all it takes to clean a clogged toilet.

Use a Plumbing Snake

Complexity: Medium

A plumbing snake is designed to snag whatever is clogging the toilet, and then pull it out. You can also use a closet auger, a special type of snake that goes around the first bend and keep debris at arm’s length. It comes with a rubber sleeve that keeps the wire from scraping the enamel bowl.

1. Feed the snake into the pipes until it hits a clog.
2. Turn it clockwise so it breaks through the clog and turn it into tiny, drainable pieces.
3. Flush to check if the toilet drains properly.
4. Rinse and repeat when necessary.

Pull up the Toilet

Complexity: Difficult

Pulling up the toilet is like major surgery, but it might be the only option left if all other methods fail. You can choose to do it yourself or hire a professional, as this involves turning off the water supply and unhooking it, partially disassembling the toilet, and unscrewing it from the ring where it’s mounted.

Think you can handle all these? Otherwise, hire a plumber.

Make sure to use a new wax ring and mounting bolts when re-placing the toilet bowl.

Prevention Is Best

Once you have unclogged the toilet, prevent the same problem from repeating by doing the following:

• If you resort to using chemical cleaners, make sure it completely goes down the drain. Run as much water as possible into the toilet. Do so overnight, when necessary.
• Keep the toilet covered so hairbrushes and other items don’t fall into it. This will also keep kids from dropping toys inside it, which are said to be one of the leading causes of clogs.
• Never pour compounds into the toilet that will harden over time, such as grease, caulk, wax and drywall joint compound.


Cleaning a clogged toilet can vary from simple to difficult, depending on the severity of the clog. So remember to evaluate the situation beforehand, and choose the appropriate method to use. If all else fails, hire a plumber.

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