How To Unclog A Toilet Without A Plunger
It really isn’t a matter of if your toilet will ever clog; it is more a matter of when. Unfortunately, clogged toilets are a part of life. Ideally, when this unfortunate incident occurs, you can quickly grab your handy-dandy plunger and go to work, getting things flowing smoothly again. However, what do you do when the plunger is MIA? Maybe you are on a first date, desperately scrolling the internet because you can’t locate a plunger. Maybe you just moved to a new home, and the plunger didn’t make it to the top of your moving “to-do” list. Perhaps, the handle broke off when you desperately started plunging! The panic sets in, and you wonder: Is this the end? Will the toilet overflow? Will the stink stay forever? How long can I stay in the bathroom before it is obvious something is wrong? We hear you; bathroom embarrassments are never a good feeling. Whatever the reason, the heroes at Cam Plumbing in Southwest Florida, are here to save the day to teach you how to unclog your toilet without a plunger.
Luckily, unclogging a toilet without a plunger is not as challenging (or disgusting) as it might initially sound! There are several simple, easy (and not totally gross) ways to clear up whatever is backing you up without a plunger. Although we do want to say if you’re using a public restroom, you may just need to cut your losses and run.
We will list steps to unclog your toilet without a plunger in the order we recommend you try them! So ditch the embarrassment (it happens to the best of us). So, let’s get started!
Before You Start
Before you start unclogging the toilet, let’s get a few things squared away.
Stop The Flow: First, you want to stop water flow from the tank to keep the toilet from overflowing. This is especially important if your toilet bowl is already overflowing! No one wants to deal with mold or poop patrol in addition to a clog.
In order to turn off the flow of water, you will need to remove the toilet tank lid. Next, close the flapper at the bottom of the tank. To close the flapper:
- Unhook the chain connecting the toilet handle arm to the flapper (the little suction cup-looking thing on the bottom).
- Reattach the chain once the water level in the bowl has lowered.
- Do not repeatedly flush until you have eliminated your clog!
Remove The Water: Chances are, if you have a clog, then the water is not fully draining from the toilet bowl. In order to try some of the methods below, you will need to remove a portion of the water in the toilet bowl. First, we highly recommend you put on a pair of rubber gloves because, well, you know. Move the blocked water into an empty bucket and place it next to the toilet. You can flush it all down once the clog is no more.
1. Use Hot Water
First, grab a big bucket of very hot water. Please note you do not want boiling hot water because boiling water can crack a porcelain toilet bowl. Instead, run your tap water to get it as hot as possible, and then pour that hot water into the toilet bowl until it is almost full. Next, let it sit for 15 minutes.
The heat should help break down the solid waste, so the toilet stands a better chance of flushing it down.
2. Dish Soap Isn’t Just For Dishes
Grab your nearby bottle of dish soap and go crazy! Squeeze a generous amount into the toilet bowl. Excellent options are grease-cutting and heavy-duty brands like Dawn. Let the dish soap sit for 15 minutes. The goal is that the soap will break down the solids and act as a lubricant to help the clog on its merry way down your pipes.
Once you add the dish soap, add more hot water into the bowl and let it sit for an additional thirty minutes. After the allotted time is up, it is time to try and flush again. If that hasn’t cleared up the problem, you can always add more dish soap and let it sit overnight.
3. Epsom Salt Toilet Bath, Anyone?
Epsom salt is good for more than a relaxing soak in a bath at the end of a long day! Adding Epsom salt to water will trigger a chemical reaction that makes the water start to fizz and bubble. All the bubbling can help dissolve all the clogs.
Pour a cup of Epsom salt into your toilet bowl. Let it sit for 15 minutes (yes, 15 minutes is the magical number for toilet bowl clogs!). Next, try to flush the toilet! You should see progress. If not, you can combine the Epsom salt step with dish soap and hot water.
4. Baking Soda and Vinegar
Similar to Epsom salt combining vinegar and baking soda will create a chemical reaction that will fizz and bubble, eating away at solid waste! First, make sure the bowl is not filled when you try this. The toilet bowl should be about half-full before adding baking soda and vinegar. Then pour 1.5 cups of baking soda into the toilet bowl’s water. Next, start to pour vinegar into the bowl slowly! After the reaction is complete, try to flush the toilet.
5. Time For A Little Shove
If the clog is persistent and is resisting the efforts of your dish soap and baking soda arsenal, it is time to bring in the big guns! If you can see the culprit at the bottom of the toilet bowl, try using a wire hanger to break the clog into smaller pieces or dislodge it. It is important to be careful not to scratch up your porcelain toilet bowl with the hanger, so the bowl does not become a casualty! A toilet bowl brush also works if you don’t have a wire hanger. First, wrap the bristles in a plastic bag and then secure the bag to the brush with a rubber band. Whatever your weapon of choice, wiggle it around in the opening to try to dislodge the clog.
6. Use A Water Force
If you have any plastic water bottles lying around, you can use those to try to force the clog through the trap. Rember to grab a face mask to cover your mouth and goggles to protect your eyes. Don’t forget about the rubber gloves to keep your hands clean:
- Fill an empty 2-liter bottle (think soda bottle) with warm water then cover the bottle’s opening with your gloved thumb.
- Turn the bottle upside down and move it down into the heart of your toilet bowl.
- Use both hands to squeeze the bottle, forcing warm water to rush into the drain and (hopefully) dislodge the treacherous clog.
7. Use A Plunger
Okay, you’ve tried every home method, and nothing seems to be working. So it is time to either abandon your new date’s toilet and hope they understand or go buy a plunger.
8. Call Your Local Plumber
Sometimes, even with the help of a plunger, you just can’t clear a toilet clog without the help of a licensed professional. More significant plumbing issues can cause repeated clogs and hours of frustration. Other times you need a drain snake‘s help to get the clog through. Regardless of your plumbing problems, the licensed, experienced, and professional team at Cam Plumbing in Southwest Florida is here to help! Give us a call today!
Will a toilet eventually unclog itself?
We would love to say yes, but the more realistic answer is sometimes. If you can’t fix it yourself and a plumber is a few days out, the clog may unclog itself. It really boils down to what is causing the clog and how big it is. Organic material (like poop) will eventually break apart allowing the clog will clear up on its own. Sometimes with a little time and a lot of gravity, the toilet will figure it out. As nice as this option sounds, it is best not to count on it. It is likely you don’t know the extent of the problem, and best to take action right away.
Preventing Future Clogs
Let us emphasize that only human waste and toilet paper should ever make their way down your toilet. Here are a few tips to prevent future clogs.
- Don’t attempt to flush too much toilet paper. Pace yourself and flush in increments if the bathroom trip demands a large amount.
- Do not flush products not intended for flushing.
- Toys and toilets are not friends. Let’s not flush Superman down the drain!