How to Unclog a Slow Draining Toilet

A slow draining toilet can lead to an embarrassing situation – especially when it comes to somebody else’s toilet! So, here are some plumbing tricks to give you some peace of mind when using any toilet and avoid a messy situation when a plumber is not around to come to your rescue.

Add Hot Water

Before you attempt to use the plunger, try plumbers’ old-age trick first – HOT WATER. Fats can accumulate in the toilet, restricting the flow of wastes and water and causing the water to overflow from the bowl. So, if you suspect that the clogging is not caused by any hard object that somebody may have accidentality flushed in the toilet, go to the kitchen and boil yourself some water. Pour a few cups to the toilet bowl and let it sit for a few minutes. The heat will melt the fat clogging toilet and make it more flushable.

Use Dishwashing Liquid

When hot water doesn’t work, squirt some dishwashing liquid to the bowl, wait for a while and then flush. The soaps can help break up the toilet clog.

If you happen to encounter a slow-draining toilet in a friend’s house, where asking for a dishwashing liquid seems suspicious than asking for a plunger, grab the shampoo bottle instead. Squirt a few drops in the bowl and let it sit for as long as possible. The clog will loosen and clear on its own, and the water will flush through easily. Not to mention, the bathroom will smell shampoo fresh. (Handwash soap makes a good alternative too.)

Use The Toilet Plunger

If the first two options didn’t work, don’t give up just yet. Grab the plunger! Simply cover the drain hole with a plunger (make sure that there’s water coming up at least half of the water cup), and then push and pull sharply. Repeat several times until the clog is removed.

The plunger is effective in removing partial waste blockage and minor object obstruction such as tissue paper.

Let The Plumbing Vent Breathe

Every toilet, sink, shower and bathtub plumbing system needs a vent in order to drain properly. A toilet with a blocked or insufficient vent will make gurgling noise and may cause trap siphonage and odors. It will also drain very slowly. So, if after checking you’ve determined that the drainage problem is not caused by any clogging in the toilet, check the plumbing vent for any blockage. The waste lines need to have enough amount of air in order for water to flow freely.


  • If after flushing you’ve realized that there’s a drainage problem and toilet looks like it’s about to overflow, close the toilet flapper as quickly as you can to keep the water from rising up the toilet bowl – and avoid possible embarrassment.
  • If the flushing mechanism is the problem, open the toilet’s water tank and observe the flapper as you flush. The flapper should rise until it is almost vertical. If it isn’t, it could be preventing water from flowing out the tank quickly enough for efficient flushing. Try shortening the chain connecting the flapper to the flush handle.

With a little practice, you can get any clogged and slow-draining toilets back and running in a jiffy without creating an embarrassing mess.

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