How to Unclog a Toilet Without a Plunger
No one wants to deal with a clogged toilet. There are plenty of home tools that you don’t think you need until you really need them, but toilet plungers win first prize. What does plumbing maintenance even look like without a plunger? Luckily, there are some pretty effective options for unclogging a toilet using supplies you can probably find around your house.
Use Dish Soap and Hot Water
Chances are you have some dish soap sitting around, maybe even in the same room as your clogged toilet. (And if you don’t, fix that now!) And if you know how to heat up water, then you’ve got everything you need.
- Make sure that the toilet bowl isn’t brimming. There should be enough room to add about a gallon more of water. If it looks too full, empty some of the water out using a cup.
- Add dish soap. It should be a generous amount, about ¼ cup. If you don’t have dish soap, you can even use shampoo or bar soap. Just make sure to break up the bar soap first so that you don’t end up clogging your toilet again!
- Heat a gallon of water and pour it into the toilet bowl. Be careful not to add boiling water—that might crack your toilet. Still, the water should be very hot, just before boiling.
- Flush the toilet. If it works, you’re done! If it starts to overflow, turn off the water valve. This method might take a couple of tries to free the clog, so it’s worth trying again if it doesn’t work. Or you can move on to a different solution.
Try Baking Soda and Vinegar
Baking soda and vinegar. You may remember this classic combo from that science fair volcano experiment you did in third grade. We’re basically just going to do that experiment again in your toilet, which is almost cooler, right?
- Make sure the toilet bowl isn’t brimming. Baking soda and vinegar react vigorously with each other, so before you begin, you’ll definitely want to make sure that there’s enough headspace in the toilet bowl to accommodate all the activity.
- Add baking soda, then vinegar. We recommend adding 1 part baking soda for every two parts of vinegar. A cup of baking soda and two cups of vinegar is a good place to start, but you can add more or less. Just don’t forget all the fizzy action that will happen when the two meet!
- Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes. The baking soda–vinegar combo will loosen up the clog, but it takes time for it to work, so be patient.
- Flush the toilet. You’re all set if it flushes. If not, you can always try again. Multiple applications do have a compounding effect.
Use a Brush if you Don’t Have a Plunger
Yes, it’s not for the faint of heart. But if you’re really desperate, you can use a scrubbing brush for almost-the-same results as a toilet plunger. Just aim the bristles down the drain and make an up-down motion, just like how you’d use a plunger. You might be surprised to find that this frees up more than you think. Almost like you didn’t need a plunger at all, right? (Don’t get any ideas, we still very much recommend a plunger.)
How to Prevent a Toilet Clog
Plumbing maintenance begins with making sure the right things and the right things only go into the toilet: toilet paper, the other stuff, and nothing else. Flushing wipes and menstrual products down the drain is also not recommended and could lead to a clog down the line.
If you have low water pressure, it helps to flush twice to ensure that waste is properly drained out of the toilet. And don’t forget to keep your toilet spiffy clean! We recommend cleaning your toilet once a week. You should also get in the habit of checking the toilet tank once or twice a year. If things seem off, such as the tank taking a long time to refill or if flushing is becoming more difficult, don’t hesitate to contact a professional before you end up with a massive clog and all the headaches that come with it.
Call a Plumber if Nothing is Working
When all else fails, rely on the experts. Some clogs simply can’t be solved with the above solutions. The clog might be deep in the drain line. Not only do professional plumbers have access to cameras and extra-long snakes that make diagnosing a clog much easier, but they also have tools that will quickly remove an issue that might take you a whole afternoon to solve on your own.
When you need expert plumbing maintenance, rely on the experts and call Bell Brothers for all your plumbing woes.