The Best Way To Unclog A Clogged Toilet

How to Unclog a Toilet Without a Plunger

It’s safe to assume that most homes have a plunger. Unfortunately, however, bad luck has a way of finding the rare times when you’re unprepared. There may come a time, no matter how unlikely, when you find yourself with a bad toilet clog and no plunger. Panic-inducing as this scenario sounds, it’s not insurmountable.

Hot water

When we say hot water, we mean hot–not boiling. Pouring boiling water into the toilet bowl could crack the ceramic, which would make an existing problem much worse. Use a bucket to pour about a dozen cups hot water into the toilet slowly. Let the hot water sit in the toilet bowl for several minutes. The heat from the water should break up the existing clog, allowing it to be properly flushed down the drain.

Copious amounts of dish soap

Another option is to take a bottle of dish soap and squeeze a large portion into the bowl. Let it sit for about thirty minutes. Before the time is up, you should see that water is starting to drain, but don’t freak out if it takes longer. How quickly the soap breaks down the clog depends on how severe the clog is. If you don’t have any dish soap, basic (don’t use a fancy, expensive salon brand) shampoo will work just as well.

Pouring some epsom salt into the bowl

This option could be especially helpful when you’re a guest in someone else’s home, and don’t want to leave the bathroom before you fix the clog. Snoop around the bathroom and look for a bag of epsom salt. Pouring epsom salt into a toilet bowl triggers a fizzy, soapy chemical reaction. This reaction can help break up the clog and clear the drain. If you can’t find epsom salt, a rogue bath bomb dropped in can help, too. Of course, then you’ll have to explain why you threw one of your host’s bath bombs in the toilet.

Using a toilet brush

Sometimes you won’t find a plunger, but you’ll almost always find a toilet cleaning brush. You could always use that to clean out the clog. This method is going to take some elbow grease, and, honestly, it might be gross, so prepare yourself. Hold the handle, push it into the drain hole, and pump back and forth several times. Don’t pump so forcefully that you damage the inside of the toilet. It happens more often than you think! After about thirty seconds, stop pumping. Then, you just have to cross your fingers and hope the water starts to drain.

Will a Toilet Unclog Itself? There are Main Factors

A clogged toilet will typically unclog itself over time. Most things that clog a toilet are water-soluble which means they will eventually dissolve in the toilet water. When the clog is given enough time to break down, the pressure of a flush should be enough to clear the pipes.

This might sound simple, but there’s a few more things you really should know before you let that poor clogged toilet fend for itself. Let’s get to it!

Will a Toilet Unclog Itself?

How To Unclog Your Toilet Without a Plunger

How to Keep your Toilet from Overflowing When Clogged

Related Questions

Will a Toilet Unclog Itself?

When deciding if letting your toilet unclog itself is a good option, there are two things to consider:

What caused the clog?

How big is the clog?

What Caused the Clog?

Letting the toilet unclog itself is only going to work if the object that caused the clog is an organic, degradable material. Basically, if you flushed something other than human waste or septic safe toilet paper, the toilet will not unclog itself.

How Big is the Clog?

The next thing you need to consider is how big or severe the clog is. If your toilet backs up some but then drains slowly, you have a partial clog. This type of clog is the easiest to clear and the most likely to unclog itself.


When it comes to toilet clogs, the team here at Watters has seen it all. The stories we could tell you about things we’ve pulled out of people’s toilets are priceless — everything from keys to phones to toys. Just the other day we got a call from a panicked customer in Menasha dealing with a clogged toilet, which got us thinking about common causes of clogs and how to deal with them. While it may seem like common sense, we’ve seen many customers who accidentally clog their toilet, and then deal with clogs incorrectly, which inadvertently can lead to ongoing plumbing issues and expensive repairs. Take a few minutes to learn more about some of the common causes of clogged toilets and how you can fix the issues without causing lasting (and pricey) damage! 

Using too much toilet paper

This is probably the most common reason toilets get clogged — and oftentimes the easiest to deal with. If we’re honest, most of us are probably guilty of this one at least sometimes.

If you’re one of the many people who use a lot of toilet paper when you use the bathroom, here are a few tips…

Do a double flush. First, flush the waste, then follow up with a second flush for the toilet paper. This minimizes flushing too much at once.

Consider switching to a thicker and higher-quality toilet paper so you can use less.

Fold the paper rather than creating a ball. This makes it less likely for the toilet paper to get trapped in the drain.

Most of the time, a common toilet plunger should work to take care of these types of clogs.

If you’re trying to cut back on toilet paper to reduce clogs, bidets are another great option.

Putting non-flushable objects down the toilet

You should never flush anything other than toilet paper down your toilet. Period. It may not seem like a big deal as it flushes down, especially if it’s a “paper” product like Kleenex or wipes, but trust us when we say these foreign objects can build up, get trapped, and cause problems over time.

Items you shouldn’t flush down your toilet include:

Feminine products


Baby wipes

Makeup wipes


Paper towels

Cotton balls/Q-tips

Dental floss

Hair from your brush/razor

Food and beverage items

Cooking grease

How to Unclog Your Toilet

We’ve all been there. You go to flush, but instead of water going down, you see it rising up and up and up. . . . You panic: Did I really use that much toilet paper?

Toilet clogs are a pain to deal with anytime, but during the pandemic, they can really make you panic—you can’t afford to have a nonworking toilet, and you may be reluctant to have a plumber in your house. The good news: “Most clogs you can clear yourself,” says

Below, plumbers offer their advice on how to clear a toilet clog yourself and when you should call a professional. (As for what not to do, don’t use Drano or boiling water.)

We use simulated waste consisting of 160 solid polyethylene balls, seven sponges studded with No. 10 screws for realistic weight, and nonlubricated latex condoms filled with water. The best in our tests flush it all down in one go; the worst clog with the first flush

If you drop something in your toilet—say, a child’s toy—try extracting it first. Don’t force it down with a flush. Even if it carries down the pipes, it still has to move around 100 to 200 feet to get to the city’s sewer. “For a lot of people, once the object is out of sight, it’s out of mind,” says

How can I fix a clogged toilet without calling a plumber?

We’ve all been there: you’re using the toilets, flush the water, and it’s still there. Flush again, to no avail. It’s utterly clogged.

When at home I can simply call a plumber, but:

It costs money

It might happen outside your home, e.g. friend’s house

Use a toilet plunger. That’s what it was designed for, and if you use it right, won’t splash at all. Most people have one by the toilet, or in a small closet nearby. It’s far more effective than using a brush, and much less messy.

Just a note, I have 1 toilet in particular which a plunger is surprisingly ineffective. 🙁 The odd shape of the outlet doesn’t match up with the plunger well. It really sucks .. 🙁 I’m still trying different plungers to see if a better one fits properly .. however, not all plungers fit all toilets … just an FYI. 😉

Keep in mind when using this technique that after inserting the plunger, there is generally air in it. That air will compress, rendering the plunging stroke ineffective. This means you need to press on the plunger three or four times to get the air out. The first push with minimal air in the plunger typically is the one that clears the toilet

builder friend of mine who services student accommodation passed on this great tip that requires only a readily available and disposable tool – and no gloves:

get a garbage bag. Most homes will have one, often in the bathroom. Check it has no manufactured perforations

push one arm down to the bottom of the bag and hold the rim of the bag with the other

using the hand inside the bin bag, reach under water to the drain hole. You may feel wet at this point – you aren’t.

now pump the palm of your hand over the drain hole as a crude plunger OR simply use your fingers to remove the obstruction

once the blockage is dislodged or pulled out, the bowl should empty.

invert the bag by clenching your hand and pulling towards you while holding the opening in place over the bowl.