How to Unclog a Toilet Without a Plunger

Toilets tend to get clogged every now and then, even with the best plumbing. Having a plunger on hand can be very useful to deal with an emergency like this since it’s fast, easy and less messy. However, if you find yourself with a clogged toilet and no plunger, here are some useful tips to de-clog it using a few common items that you’re likely to have lying around the house. 

What to Do if Your Toilet is Clogged

While you may think that flushing the toilet repeatedly will get rid of the clog, it could make things worse. If the water in the toilet bowl has risen considerably, avoid flushing it several times since this will cause it to keep rising and flood your bathroom floor.

The first thing to do is to cut off the water supply to the toilet by turning the valve (usually found behind the toilet) to prevent someone else from flushing it.

Then, remove the lid of the tank and push the flapper (the rubber piece at the bottom of the tank) to stop any water from leaking into the toilet bowl.

Once the water supply is completely stopped, you can start tackling the clog.

1. Use Hot Water

If the toilet is clogged but there’s not much water collected in the bowl, take a large bucket of hot water and flush it manually.

The heat combined with the force of the water should help to break up the clog and remove it. Remember, the water should be hot and not boiling.

If you pour boiling water into your toilet, it can cause the bowl to crack.

2. Baking Soda and Vinegar  

Baking soda and vinegar are effective cleaning agents which can help with a clogged toilet. When mixed together, it will cause the water in the toilet bowl to rise up to a certain extent so if the toilet bowl is already half full, you can scoop some of it out first.

Pour one cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl, making sure to cover as much of the surface area as possible and then slowly pour in one cup of vinegar in a circular motion to make sure it’s evenly dispersed.

Be careful and remember to pour slowly so that the mixture won’t spill over. The mixture will cause fizzing to occur which would help break up the clog.

Leave it to sit for one hour and try to flush it. If it doesn’t work the first time, try it again but let it sit overnight.

baking powder
Pure Baking Soda by Arm & Hammer.

3. Dish Soap

Dish soap is effective in breaking down dirt, grime and grease. To break down a stubborn clog, try using dish soap mixed with hot water.

Pour one cup of dish soap into the toilet bowl and then add hot water to it, allowing it to sit for a while, about 30 minutes.

However, if it’s a stubborn clog, you might need to leave it overnight. The slipperiness of the dish soap can break down the clog, lubricating the solids, and sending them down the drain.

dish soap
Clean Day Dish Soap by Mrs. Meyer’s.

4. A Toilet Brush  

A toilet brush is a good alternative to a plunger, but you would probably want to throw it out once you’re done using this method.

Plunge the handle of the brush into the toilet bowl in the same way you would use a plunger. Thrusting it at the drain hole several times could push the clog down.

Push vigorously but avoid using too much force since you could damage your toilet. This can be a messy job so make sure to have some cleaning supplies ready before you begin. We also recommend wearing rubber gloves and goggles.

5. A Wire Hanger

If the toilet brush doesn’t work, you can try a wire hanger which is more flexible and can be pushed deeper into the bowl.

Straighten out the hanger and if it has a rough end, tie a rag around it to prevent the toilet bowl and drain from getting scratched. 

If it’s not long enough, tie the other end of the hanger to a makeshift rod and then push it down the drain. Use some force (not too much) and push it around until the block breaks.

6. Epsom Salt  

If you’re in a hurry and happen to have some Epsom salt on hand, you can use it to unclog your toilet.

Like the baking powder and vinegar mixture, Epsom salt causes a fizzy reaction when added to water. This reaction can break up and clear the clog. You can also use a bath bomb if you find one lying around.

epsom salt
Lavender Epsom Salt by SaltWorks.

7. Drain Cleaners

While using drain cleaners to deal with a clogged toilet isn’t the safest method, it can be quite effective.

However, the chemicals in drain cleaners can damage your plumbing or cause chemical burns. They’re also not environmentally friendly but if you’ve got no other option, you can give it a try.

Bleach and dish soap work well together to break up most clogs. Pour two cups of bleach into your toilet bowl followed one cup of dish soap (make sure to use powdered dish soap) and leave it to sit for 30 minutes. Then try flushing.

liquid clog remover
Drain Clog Dissolver by Green Gobbler.

8. Wait!

If none of the above methods worked, (and you have a second bathroom), leave the clogged toilet for some time to see if it will unclog itself.

The water in the toilet bowl exerts continuous pressure on the clog which could dislodge it over time. The clog could get pushed down thanks to gravity but be prepared to wait for some time, maybe even overnight.

The Bottom Line

If all else fails, the only solution you have is to leave your clogged toilet for the plumbers to deal with.

You might also want to consider investing in a plunger so you won’t have the hassle of dealing with future clogs.

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