7 Expert Methods to Unclog Your Toilet

A clogged toilet is one of those household mishaps that can quickly turn into a messy and inconvenient situation. Whether it’s a result of excess toilet paper, foreign objects, or other plumbing issues, a clogged toilet demands swift action. As a reputable plumbing company committed to ensuring your home runs smoothly, we understand the urgency and frustration that comes with a clogged toilet. That’s why we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide featuring seven expert methods to unclog your toilet effectively.

Plunger Power

The plunger is a classic tool for unclogging toilets and for good reason – it works. When it comes to tackling a stubborn toilet clog, few tools are as reliable and effective as the trusty plunger. Here’s a detailed breakdown of how to harness the power of the plunger to unclog your toilet:

  • Preparation: Before diving into the unclogging process, it’s crucial to prepare both the plunger and the toilet. Firstly, ensure that there’s enough water in the bowl to cover the rubber part of the plunger. This water acts as a seal and helps create the necessary suction to dislodge the clog. If the water level is too low, simply add some water using a bucket to achieve the desired depth.
  • Positioning: Proper positioning of the plunger is key to its effectiveness. Place the plunger over the drain opening in the toilet bowl, ensuring that it forms a tight seal. The rubber part of the plunger should be fully submerged in the water to create a vacuum seal when you begin plunging. If the seal is not airtight, you won’t be able to generate enough suction to dislodge the clog effectively.
  • Action: With the plunger in position, it’s time to apply some elbow grease. Using both hands, firmly grip the handle of the plunger and push it down forcefully, then pull it back up rapidly. This action creates a suction effect that helps to loosen and dislodge the blockage in the drain. Aim to maintain a steady rhythm of pushing and pulling, exerting enough pressure to generate suction without causing splashing or making a mess.
  • Persistence: Don’t expect the clog to disappear after just a few plunges. In many cases, it may take several rounds of plunging to fully clear the obstruction. Be patient and persistent, repeating the plunging motion as necessary until you start to see signs of improvement. Keep an eye on the water level in the bowl – if it begins to drain away, that’s a good indication that the clog is starting to loosen.
  • Adjustments: If you’re not seeing any progress after several attempts, don’t be afraid to adjust your technique. You may need to reposition the plunger slightly to ensure a better seal, or try varying the angle and intensity of your plunging motion. Experiment with different approaches until you find what works best for your particular situation.
  • Observation: As you continue plunging, pay close attention to any changes in the toilet bowl. If you start to see water draining away or hear gurgling sounds indicating that the clog is breaking up, it’s a sign that you’re on the right track. Keep up the momentum and continue plunging until the water flows freely down the drain.
  • Cleanup: Once the clog has been successfully cleared, carefully remove the plunger from the toilet bowl and flush the toilet to ensure everything is flowing smoothly. Clean and sanitize the plunger thoroughly before storing it away for future use, and tidy up any spills or splashes to leave your bathroom clean and hygienic.

Hot Water and Dish Soap

Sometimes, a simple solution can do wonders. Boil a pot of water and add a few squirts of dish soap. The Hot Water and Dish Soap method is a straightforward yet effective DIY solution for unclogging toilets. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the steps involved:

  • Gather Your Supplies: Before you start, gather the necessary supplies. You’ll need a pot for boiling water, dish soap, and a container for measuring.
  • Boil a Pot of Water: Place a pot of water on the stove and bring it to a rolling boil. Ensure that the pot is large enough to hold a substantial amount of water. The heat from the boiling water is crucial for breaking down the clog.
  • Add Dish Soap: While the water is boiling, add a few squirts of liquid dish soap to the mix. Dish soap contains grease-cutting agents and provides lubrication, which can help break down the clog and make it easier to remove.
  • Prepare the Toilet Bowl: While waiting for the water to boil, check the water level in the toilet bowl. If it’s very high, consider removing some excess water using a small container or bucket. This ensures that when you pour the hot water into the bowl, it won’t overflow.
  • Pour Water Carefully: Once the water is boiling and the dish soap is added, carefully lift the pot and pour the hot water into the toilet bowl from waist height. Pouring from a higher position helps generate force and momentum as the water enters the bowl, potentially aiding in dislodging the clog.
  • Allow the Mixture to Sit: After pouring the hot water and dish soap mixture into the toilet bowl, allow it to sit for a few minutes. The heat and soap work together to break down the materials causing the clog. This waiting period allows the solution to penetrate and loosen the obstruction.
  • Attempt to Flush: After the waiting period, attempt to flush the toilet. The combination of hot water and dish soap should have worked to soften and dislodge the clog. If the water drains more freely or the toilet flushes successfully, then the method has likely been effective.
  • Repeat if Necessary: If the clog persists after the first attempt, consider repeating the process. Sometimes, especially for larger or more stubborn clogs, it may take a couple of attempts to completely clear the obstruction.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

This age-old combination is not just for baking – it’s a powerful DIY cleaner too. The combination of baking soda and vinegar is a well-known and effective DIY solution for various cleaning tasks, including unclogging a toilet. The chemical reaction between these two household staples creates fizzing and bubbling, which can help break down and dissolve the clog. Here’s a more detailed explanation of how to use baking soda and vinegar to unclog a toilet:

  • Gather the Ingredients: Before you begin, make sure you have a box of baking soda and a bottle of vinegar on hand. Standard white distilled vinegar is commonly used for this purpose.
  • Prepare the Toilet: Ensure there is enough water in the toilet bowl to cover the drain opening. If the water level is too low, add enough to submerge the baking soda when you pour it in.
  • Measure and Add Baking Soda: Start by measuring one cup of baking soda. Baking soda is a mild abrasive and, when combined with vinegar, creates a fizzy reaction that helps break down substances clinging to the pipes. Carefully pour the measured baking soda into the toilet bowl.
  • Add Vinegar: Immediately following the addition of baking soda, pour two cups of vinegar into the toilet bowl. The combination of baking soda (a base) and vinegar (an acid) creates a chemical reaction known as an acid-base reaction. This reaction produces carbon dioxide gas, which creates the fizzing action that helps dislodge and dissolve the clog.
  • Let it Sit: Allow the baking soda and vinegar mixture to sit in the toilet bowl for about 30 minutes. During this time, the chemical reaction continues, working to break down the clog. The fizzing action also helps to agitate and loosen any debris or blockage within the pipes.
  • Check for Improvement: After the waiting period, observe the toilet bowl to see if the clog has cleared. You might notice a reduction in water level or improved drainage. If the water starts to drain more freely, it’s a positive sign that the baking soda and vinegar solution is working.
  • Flush the Toilet: Once you’ve waited for the recommended time and observed positive changes, flush the toilet. Use caution and avoid flushing if the water level is too high to prevent overflow. The flushing action helps to clear any remaining debris and ensures the drain is fully open.
  • Repeat if Necessary: If the clog persists after the first attempt, you can repeat the process. Sometimes, especially for more stubborn clogs, it may take a couple of rounds for the baking soda and vinegar solution to fully dissolve and clear the obstruction.

Wire Coat Hanger

If the clog is within reach and you’re comfortable using a tool, a wire coat hanger can be surprisingly effective. Unwind the hanger and create a small hook at one end. Gently insert the hooked end into the drain and maneuver it to dislodge or pull out the obstruction. Exercise caution to avoid scratching the porcelain. Here’s a more detailed step-by-step guide:

  • Unwind the Hanger: Start by taking a standard wire coat hanger and carefully unwind it. You may use pliers if necessary to straighten out the wire. The goal is to have a long, straight piece of wire.
  • Create a Hook: At one end of the straightened wire, create a small hook. This hook will be used to grab onto or dislodge the clog. You can use the pliers to bend the wire into a hook shape, ensuring it’s small enough to fit into the drain opening.
  • Protective Measures: Before proceeding, it’s crucial to take precautions to protect the porcelain of the toilet. To avoid scratching the surface, consider wrapping the hooked end with a soft cloth or using duct tape. This extra layer acts as a buffer and minimizes the risk of causing damage to the toilet bowl.
  • Insert the Hooked End: Carefully insert the hooked end of the wire coat hanger into the toilet drain. Be gentle to avoid forcing the wire too aggressively, as this could potentially scratch or damage the porcelain.
  • Maneuver and Dislodge: Once the hooked end is inside the drain, maneuver it around to locate and dislodge the clog. Move the wire in a circular motion, up and down, or side to side, depending on the nature of the obstruction. The goal is to either break up the clog or catch onto it with the hook.
  • Retrieve the Obstruction: If you manage to hook onto the clog, carefully pull the wire back out, bringing the obstruction with it. If the clog is broken up, flush the toilet to see if the water drains properly. Repeat the process as needed until the water flows freely.
  • Dispose of the Debris: Once the clog is removed, dispose of the debris properly. This may involve discarding it in a trash bag or bin. Avoid flushing large or non-flushable items down the toilet to prevent future clogs.
  • Clean and Sanitize: After successfully unclogging the toilet, it’s a good practice to clean and sanitize the toilet bowl and the wire coat hanger. Use a mild disinfectant or antibacterial cleaner to ensure that the toilet remains hygienic.

Enzyme-based Cleaner

For stubborn clogs or recurring issues, consider using an enzyme-based cleaner specifically designed for breaking down organic matter in drains. These cleaners work by introducing beneficial bacteria that digest the clog over time. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully for optimal results.

Application and Usage

Using an enzyme-based cleaner is a straightforward process, but following the manufacturer’s instructions is crucial to achieving optimal results. Here’s a general guide on how to use these cleaners:

  • Read the Instructions: Start by carefully reading the instructions provided by the manufacturer on the product label. Different enzyme-based cleaners may have specific guidelines for usage and dosage.
  • Prepare the Cleaner: Most enzyme-based cleaners come in liquid form. Measure the recommended amount based on the severity of the clog and the size of your toilet bowl.
  • Application: Pour the measured cleaner directly into the toilet bowl. Ensure that it reaches as close to the drain as possible for maximum effectiveness.
  • Wait for the Enzymes to Work: Allow the cleaner to sit in the toilet bowl for the specified amount of time, as indicated on the product label. This waiting period allows the enzymes and bacteria to penetrate and start breaking down the clog.
  • Flush: After the recommended waiting time has passed, flush the toilet. The flushing action helps to wash away the dissolved debris and any remaining enzymes, leaving your toilet drain clear.

Plumbing Snake

The plumbing snake, often referred to as a toilet auger, is a versatile tool designed to navigate through the twists and turns of your toilet’s plumbing system, helping to dislodge and remove stubborn clogs. Here’s a more detailed explanation of how to use a plumbing snake effectively:

Understanding the Plumbing Snake:

  • A plumbing snake consists of a long, flexible metal cable with a handle on one end and a coiled auger or hook on the other.
  • The cable is designed to be extended into the drain to reach the clog, and the auger or hook helps break apart or retrieve the obstruction.


  • Before using a plumbing snake, put on protective gloves and, if possible, eye protection to ensure your safety and hygiene.
  • Position yourself comfortably in front of the toilet, and if there is excess water in the bowl, consider using a plunger to remove some of it.

Inserting the Plumbing Snake:

  • Extend the cable of the plumbing snake by cranking the handle in a clockwise direction. The goal is to have enough length to reach the clog without forcing the cable.
  • Carefully guide the coiled end of the snake into the toilet drain. Start by placing the tip of the auger into the drain opening and gradually feeding the cable down.

Locating the Clog:

  • Gently push the snake further into the drain until you encounter resistance. The resistance indicates that you’ve reached the location of the clog.
  • Be patient and avoid applying excessive force, as this could damage the toilet bowl or push the clog further down.

Rotating the Snake:

  • With the snake in position, begin rotating it in a clockwise direction. This rotational movement helps the auger or hook to grab onto the clog or break it apart.
  • Continue rotating while applying gentle pressure to work through the obstruction. If you feel the snake is caught on the clog, try rotating it in the opposite direction before continuing clockwise.

Retrieving the Clog:

  • If the clog is successfully broken apart, slowly retract the snake by cranking the handle counterclockwise. This action should bring the broken pieces of the clog back up through the drain.
  • If the clog is a solid object, such as a toy or sanitary product, you may be able to hook it with the auger and pull it out. Again, exercise caution to avoid damaging the porcelain.


  • Once you’ve successfully cleared the clog, flush the toilet to ensure proper drainage. If the water flows smoothly, you’ve resolved the issue.
  • Clean the plumbing snake thoroughly before storing it, as it may carry debris from the clog.

Call in the Professionals:

When faced with a persistently clogged toilet, reaching out to a professional plumber is not just a convenient option; it is often the most practical and efficient solution. Here’s a detailed exploration of why calling in the experts is a wise decision:

  • Experience Matters: Professional plumbers bring a wealth of experience to the table. Years of dealing with various plumbing issues, including stubborn toilet clogs, equip them with the knowledge to assess and address the problem effectively. They can quickly identify the root cause of the clog, whether it’s a deep obstruction in the pipes or a more complex plumbing issue.
  • Diagnostic Tools: Plumbers have access to advanced diagnostic tools that go beyond the capabilities of typical household remedies. These tools include plumbing cameras and specialized equipment designed to inspect the internal structure of pipes. By utilizing these diagnostic tools, plumbers can pinpoint the exact location and nature of the clog, allowing for a precise and targeted resolution.
  • Specialized Equipment: Professional plumbers come prepared with a range of specialized equipment designed specifically for handling stubborn clogs. From powerful augers and drain snakes to high-pressure water jetting systems, these tools enable plumbers to dislodge and remove clogs that may be challenging for homeowners to address on their own.
  • Safety First: Dealing with plumbing issues involves more than just fixing the visible problem. Professional plumbers prioritize safety, not only for themselves but also for your property. They understand the potential risks associated with plumbing repairs, including the use of chemicals and tools, and take necessary precautions to prevent accidents or damage to your plumbing system.
  • Preventing Further Damage: Persistent toilet clogs may be indicative of more significant plumbing issues, such as a compromised sewer line or a malfunctioning septic system. Ignoring these underlying problems can lead to extensive damage and costly repairs down the line. Professional plumbers can identify and address these issues early, preventing further damage and saving you money in the long run.
  • Comprehensive Solutions: While DIY methods may offer temporary relief, professional plumbers provide comprehensive solutions. They don’t just focus on unclogging the toilet; they assess the entire plumbing system to ensure there are no hidden issues. This holistic approach helps address the root cause of the problem, reducing the likelihood of future clogs and ensuring the long-term functionality of your plumbing.
  • Time and Convenience: Time is often of the essence when dealing with a clogged toilet. Professional plumbers understand the urgency and can respond promptly to your service call. By hiring experts, you save valuable time and avoid the frustration of repeatedly attempting DIY methods that may not yield satisfactory results.

A clogged toilet can disrupt your daily routine and cause unnecessary stress, but with the right approach, it’s a problem that can be solved effectively. By utilizing these seven expert methods, you can tackle toilet clogs with confidence and restore order to your home. Remember, for persistent or complicated clogs, don’t hesitate to enlist the help of a trusted plumbing professional.