One of the most unfortunate, disgusting, and dare I say downright crappy household conundrums is a clogged toilet. We understand – NO ONE wants to deal with that. But calling a plumber can throw your day off and cost a whole lot of money depending on how bad the damage is. If you’re looking to save that time and money and skip the plumber, we commend you for your bravery and present a mini-guide for unclogging your toilet all on your own.
We’ve complied our favorite tips for clearing your pipes and a few different techniques that we hope will come in handy.
Now go forth and conquer that clog.
THE TRADITIONAL WAY: THE PLUNGER
First things first, try your handy dandy plunger. If you tend to struggle with the plunger, don’t worry, there is a technique for getting the job done faster. This works best with a pleated plunger, which is a solid investment if you don’t already own one.
STEP 1: If the water has risen up quite high, slowly sink the plunger into the water. This will prevent that toilet water from going all over the floor and your feet, which I don’t even want to think about.
STEP 2: Before you get to the hole, bring the plunger back up a bit and puff it up and down a few times. Again, you might get a little splash, be prepared. Then slowly put the end of the plunger into the hole of the toilet and slowly push down and up.
STEP 3: Give it a few more aggressive pumps if you need to, but when you pull the plunger back up your clog should be no more! Flush the toilet to bring more water into the bowl.
Watch the video below to see this entire technique in action. If done correctly, this plunging should be done in about 11 seconds.
THE PLUMBERS’ TRICK: HOT WATER
This is a little trick that professional plumbers do before getting down to, uh, business. The secret? HOT WATER.
STEP 1: To stop the water in the toilet from rising DO NOT FLUSH. Instead, take the lid off the tank and close the toilet flapper. This controls the flow of water into the bowl and will stop an embarrassing overflow in its tracks.
STEP 2: Pour several large cups of hot water directly into the toilet. If you’re not in your own bathroom (yikes), try using the wastepaper basket to fill up with some hot water from the sink or shower. It’s a little invasive, sure, but would you rather have to explain the mess?
STEP 3: Give the hot water a few minutes to dissolve the fats in the clog, and it should flush normally again! If you need to use a plunger a few times, go ahead, it’ll be much easier with the loosened clog.
NO PLUNGER, NO PROBLEM: DISH SOAP
So you have no plunger and you’re panicking. You tried the hot water trick and IT’S NOT WORKING. Your composure is quickly going down the tubes…pardon the pun. Don’t worry, there is another trick that does not require a plunger, just some dish soap.
STEP 1: Squeeze dish soap into the toilet bowl.
STEP 2: Let sit for about 20 minutes. During this time, the soap will be loosening up the clog and making everything more slippery, so it will flush with ease!
STEP 3: Give it a flush and watch your problems go down the drain. Sort of.
THE UNEXPECTED HERO: THE TOILET BRUSH
When we think of the humble item which bails us out of these unpleasant messes, we probably think of the plunger. The toilet brush is great for cleaning, but for unclogging?
Surprisingly enough, you CAN use your toilet brush to break up a clog. So if you’re left with a brush and no plunger, never fear. Here’s what to do.
STEP 1: Put your toilet brush in a plastic bag and wrap the bag around the top of the brush. Secure the bag with an elastic band.
STEP 2: Use brush as a regular plunger. Insert the brush into the toilet and push rhythmically for a few minutes, until the clog breaks up and the toilet flushes like normal.
While this may not work on BIG clog, which may require a bit more suction, this DIY plunger does the trick. Try combining all three non-plunger ideas (use the hot water, dish soap, and the toilet brush) to get the best results without a plunger.
Do you have any tips for unclogging your toilet, whether with or without a plunger? Share them in the comments section below.