Step-by-Step Toilet Unclog Guide

Are you dealing with a blocked toilet? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Our Step-by-Step Toilet Unclog Guide is here to help. It’s clear and easy to understand just like the name says.

This guide was made by James Schuelke, a plumber with over 32 years fixing toilets! He knows loads about how to make your toilet work again.

You’ll learn all sorts of ways to fix clogs using things like plungers, brushes, homemade remedies, and even coat hangers. We’ve also included pictures so you can see exactly what to do.

These photos are safe for everyone because they come from wikiHow under Creative Commons license.

Lots of readers have tried our advice – 99 people say it’s great! They gave us a big thumbs up with a 91% approval rating. More than 14 million have viewed our guide because it really works!

Sometimes though, if these tricks don’t solve the problem, it’s best to call a plumber for extra help. And after everything’s fixed up nice and clean, we share some smart tips on how not to clog the loo again.

We understand that there are loads more details about unclogging toilets which is why we refer you to top sources like Consumer Reports and The New York Times if needed.

So let’s get that toilet working right again; read on for all the clever tricks!

Diagnosing the Problem

After exploring why your toilet is essential, let’s figure out what’s wrong with it. Check if the water in the toilet bowl rises and spills over. This means you have an overflowing toilet, a clear sign of a clog.

Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands before you start any work.

Next, listen for gurgling sounds or bubbles – this can point to a blockage in the pipes. If flushing causes more water rise without draining, there’s likely something stuck in the toilet trap or further down.

Identifying these signs will help you choose the best method to fix your clogged toilet quickly and safely.

Steps to Unclog a Toilet

Faced with a blocked toilet, immediate action is essential to prevent overflow and further complications. Here’s a practical guide for restoring flow and function to your bathroom’s most crucial fixture.

Plunging the Toilet

Unclogging a toilet can be simple with the right tools. A toilet plunger is your best friend in this situation.

  • Make sure you have a good quality plunger. It should have a flange (an extended rubber flap) below the dome-shaped rubber cup.
  • Place the plunger in the toilet bowl. The flange should go into the drain hole at the bottom.
  • Push down gently at first to remove the air. You don’t want water splashing out!
  • Now, use stronger thrusts to push and pull without breaking the seal made by the plunger.
  • Continue plunging with steady force. Do this for about 15 to 20 seconds.
  • Pull up quickly on the last thrust. The goal is to break the suction and dislodge the clog.
  • Check if water drains normally after you plunge. If it does, you’ve likely cleared the blockage.
  • If water isn’t flowing, repeat these steps a few more times.

Using a Toilet Brush

A toilet brush isn’t just for cleaning; it can help unclog your toilet too. Here’s how to use it if you don’t have a plunger handy:

  1. Put on some rubber gloves to keep your hands clean and safe.
  2. Grab your toilet brush and place the bristle end into the bottom of the toilet bowl.
  3. Push the brush into the drain hole firmly but with care, so you don’t scratch the porcelain.
  4. Move the brush up and down quickly, creating suction and pressure in the drain.
  5. Keep doing this until water starts draining down. This means the clog is moving.
  6. If water doesn’t go down after several tries, take a break and try again in a few minutes.
  7. Once you see positive results, flush the toilet to check if water flows normally.
  1. Heat up a gallon of water until it’s very warm but not boiling.
  2. Pour this hot water into the bowl from waist height – this adds more pressure.
  3. Wait a few minutes, then use the brush again as described above.

Using an Unclogging Product

Unclogging a toilet can be easier with the right product. Always read labels and follow instructions for the best results.

  • Buy an enzyme waste removal product from your local shop.
  • Check that the water level in the toilet is low enough to add the product without overflowing.
  • Pour the instructed amount of unclogger into the bowl, targeting directly over the hole.
  • Wait for the time specified on the product’s label; this usually ranges from 15 minutes to overnight.
  • Flush your toilet to see if water drains smoothly after waiting.
  • Repeat as necessary, but avoid overusing chemicals that may harm your plumbing.

Making a Drain Cleaner

You can make your own drain cleaner using household items. This homemade solution is great for unclogging toilets.

  • Begin by boiling a kettle of water. You’ll need hot water to help dissolve the clog.
  • Grab one cup of bicarbonate of soda and pour it into the toilet bowl. Bicarbonate of soda is a natural cleaning agent.
  • Next, add two cups of vinegar slowly to the bowl. Vinegar reacts with bicarbonate of soda to break up blockages.
  • Wait five minutes for the mixture to fizz and work on the clog. Give it time to penetrate the blockage.
  • Carefully pour the hot water from the kettle into the toilet bowl. Hot water helps to flush away loosened debris.
  • Flush your toilet to see if the clog has cleared. If water goes down normally, you’ve fixed the problem!

Making a Wire Coat Hanger Snake

A wire coat hanger can be a handy tool to unclog your toilet. Straighten the hanger and create a small hook at one end to use as a homemade snake.

  • Get a wire coat hanger and a pair of pliers.
  • Use the pliers to untwist the hanger until it is one long piece of wire.
  • Bend one end of the wire into a small hook. This will help snag whatever is causing the blockage.
  • Wrap the other end with tape. This prevents scratches inside the toilet bowl.
  • Put on rubber gloves to protect your hands from germs.
  • Gently feed the hooked end of the hanger into the toilet drain.
  • Move it around to break up or grab hold of the clog.
  • Pull out any debris that comes loose. Be cautious not to scratch the toilet’s porcelain.
  • If you feel resistance, twist and push gently. Do not force it, as this could damage pipes.
  • Once water begins draining, flush the toilet to clear any remaining waste.

Advanced Methods for Unclogging a Toilet

For those stubborn blockages that defy the usual fixes, advanced techniques may be called upon to restore your toilet to working order. Next, we’ll explore specialist tools and methods for tackling persistent clogs that demand a more hands-on approach.

Using a Plumbing Snake

A clogged toilet can be a real hassle. Using a plumbing snake is one effective way to clear the blockage.

  1. Put on gloves for hygiene before starting. It’s important to protect your hands.
  2. Find the plumbing snake, also known as a toilet auger or drain snake.
  3. Slowly insert the end of the snake into the toilet bowl with care.
  4. Keep pushing until you feel resistance. This means you’ve reached the clog.
  5. Turn the handle clockwise to grab onto whatever is causing the blockage.
  6. Gently move the snake back and forth to break up the material.
  7. Pull out the snake once in a while to remove debris stuck on it.
  8. Flush the toilet to check if water flows freely after several attempts.
  9. Repeat these steps if necessary, sometimes clogs need more than one go.
  • Ensure good ventilation in your bathroom as you work.
  • Avoid forcing the snake through resistance too aggressively; this might damage pipes.

Utilising a Wet/Dry Vacuum

If using a plumbing snake hasn’t solved the problem, a wet/dry vacuum can be another approach. This tool is powerful and can suck out things that block your toilet.

  1. Make sure the vacuum is set for liquids. You don’t want to damage it.
  2. Put on some rubber gloves. This job might get messy.
  3. Take out as much water as you can from the toilet bowl. Use a small container or sponge.
  4. Get the vacuum hose ready. Securely fit it into the toilet drain.
  5. Create a good seal around the hose end with an old towel or rag to increase suction.
  6. Turn on the vacuum and let it run for about 5 seconds to suck up the clog.
  7. Check if the clog is gone by pouring a bucket of water into the bowl.
  8. If water flows freely, you’ve fixed the issue! If not, give it another try.

Using a Chemical Drain Cleaner

Using a chemical drain cleaner can be a powerful way to tackle tough clogs. Always read the label carefully and follow the instructions.

  • Choose the right chemical drain cleaner for your toilet. Look for one that’s safe for plumbing and septic systems.
  • Open the windows or turn on a fan for good ventilation. This is important because the chemicals can produce strong fumes.
  • Put on gloves and eye protection before opening the bottle. You want to protect your skin and eyes from splashes.
  • Gently pour the recommended amount into the toilet bowl. Avoid splashing as this could damage your bathroom surfaces or hurt you.
  • Leave the cleaner to work for the time stated on the bottle. It usually needs several minutes to break down clogs.
  • Flush the toilet to see if the clog has cleared. If water flows freely, it worked!
  • If one attempt doesn’t do the job, you might need to try again. Don’t exceed two applications to prevent damage to your pipes.
  • Keep children and pets away from the bathroom during this process. They could get hurt by touching or ingesting the chemicals.

Tips for Avoiding Future Clogs

Flush only toilet paper and human waste down your toilet. Even items labeled “flushable,” like wipes, can cause blockages. Too much tissue at once may also lead to trouble. Teach everyone in your home what should and shouldn’t go down the loo.

Regular checks keep your toilet happy. Make sure the siphon jets are clean for a strong flush. Pour hot water mixed with dish soap into the bowl monthly to maintain clear pipes.

Before clogs appear, be ready with tools like a plunger or toilet snake. These can fix small problems before they turn into big ones.

Lastly, consider using thin, multi-ply toilet paper as it dissolves easier than thicker options. With these habits, you’ll see fewer clogs and enjoy a smoothly running bathroom. Now let’s find out when it’s time to call in a professional plumber.

When to Call a Plumber

Despite your best efforts to avoid clogs, there are times when you need professional help. A plumber should step in if the water level rises and does not drain despite using a plunger or drain cleaner.

This can mean a deep blockage that requires special tools like plumbing snakes. If you’ve tried all the DIY methods including coat hanger snakes and homemade solutions without success, it’s time to call an expert.

A persistent issue might suggest more serious problems such as a blocked sewer line or faulty flapper valve. Experienced plumbers have the skills and equipment necessary to diagnose and fix these issues quickly.

They handle stubborn clogs, install bidets for a hygienic alternative, or replace damaged pipes that DIY strategies cannot solve. For peace of mind and guaranteed safety, get in touch with a reliable plumbing service if your toilet won’t unclog after several attempts or you notice unusual behaviors like odd sounds coming from your pipes after trying to clear them yourself.

Addressing Unusual Sounds in Your Plumbing After Unclogging

If the toilet unclog goes well but strange noises follow, it’s time to investigate your plumbing. Gurgles or hissing after you flush can signal trapped air or a partial blockage somewhere in the pipes.

First, listen closely to identify where the sound comes from. Check other drains and faucets in your home too.

You might solve minor issues by letting water run or flushing toilets again to remove leftover air. If sounds persist, there could be more clogs down the line. For stubborn or mysterious noise cases, don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber.

They have tools and skills to find and fix hidden problems quickly before they grow worse. Remember, ignoring these warning signs might lead to bigger repairs later on.

Clean Up Tips After Unclogging

Once you’ve tackled any strange noises in your plumbing, it’s time to focus on cleaning up. A good clean-up ensures your bathroom returns to its sparkling state. Here are some simple steps to help you tidy up after unclogging a toilet:

  1. Ventilate the area: Open windows or turn on the exhaust fan. Proper ventilation helps clear out any bad smells and chemical fumes.
  2. Wear gloves: Don strong rubber gloves before starting the clean-up. They will protect your hands from germs and chemicals.
  3. Dispose of waste correctly: Scoop up any waste materials with a paper towel and throw them in a plastic bag. Seal the bag tightly before disposing of it in an outside bin.
  4. Clean the plunger: If you used a plunger, rinse it with hot water and bleach. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse it again and let it dry.
  5. Wash the toilet brush: After using a toilet brush, soak it in a mixture of bleach and water for 30 minutes. Rinse well under hot water afterwards.
  6. Wipe down surfaces: Use disinfectant wipes or spray to clean the toilet seat, handle, and any other surfaces touched during the process.
  7. Mop the floor: Mix floor cleaner with warm water and mop around the toilet area to get rid of any splashes or spills.
  8. Take care with chemicals: If you used chemical drain cleaners, follow their specific disposal instructions safely.
  9. Sanitise your tools: Store your cleaning tools separately after sanitising them thoroughly.
  10. Check everything works: Flush the toilet a couple of times to ensure everything is running smoothly and that no more unclogging products are left behind.


You’ve got this! Unclogging a toilet might seem tough, but you can handle it. Just follow the steps we’ve laid out and remember to use those handy household tools. If things get too tricky, don’t hesitate to call in a pro.

Keep your loo flowing free and clear!


1. What should I use to unclog my toilet?

You can often fix a clogged toilet with a sink plunger. Pump it up and down over the hole at the bottom of your toilet bowl.

2. Can flushable wipes block my toilet?

Yes, even wipes that say they are flushable can clog pipes and shouldn’t be flushed.

3. When is it okay to use a chemical drain opener for my toilet?

Use a chemical drain opener when plunging doesn’t clear the clog, but always follow the product’s safety instructions carefully.

4. Should joint compound ever go into the toilet?

Never put joint compound or similar materials in your toilet as they can cause tough blockages.

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