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1June

Even with fantastic plumbing, toilet clogs happen. It’s always recommended to have a plunger on hand for such an emergency. It’s one of the fastest, easiest ways to eliminate a toilet clog. It can be a scary situation to find yourself with a clog and no plunger. Fortunately, there are plenty of alternative methods for clearing the clog without one.

Just Wait it Out

Sometimes, all you need to do is wait. This method requires nothing but patience (and perhaps a second bathroom). The water in your toilet exerts pressure on the clog in the drain as it attempts to leave. Over time, the pressure could dislodge the clog on its own. Be prepared to wait for as long as overnight, though. Additionally, you should be ready to stop the flow of water if you attempt to flush the toilet the next day and the clog is still there.

Drain Cleaners

Draining cleaning chemicals aren’t exactly the most recommended method. The chemicals can be dangerous. They can cause chemical burns or damage your plumbing. They’re also not exactly the most environmentally friendly. But if you’re in a pinch and that’s what you have, they could work. Or, you could use a mixture of bleach and powdered dish soap. Use two cups of bleach to a cup of powered detergent and wait about 30 minutes before you attempt to flush.

Plain Hot Water

For this method, all you need is hot water and a large bucket. Keep in mind that while the water should be hot, it shouldn’t be boiling. Pouring boiling water into your toilet bowl can cause it to crack, which would leave you in an even worse situation. Fill the toilet with the hot water. The heat, combined with the movement of the water, should help to break up and remove the clog.

Dish Soap

If just plain old hot water isn’t cutting it, you can try using hot water with the addition of dish soap. Dish soap is made to break down grease, dirt, and grime. Put about a cup or so of dish soap right into the toilet bowl. Add the hot water and let the mixture sit for a while.

In some cases, it can take about 30 minutes to work. Depending upon the clog, however, you might have to let it sit as long as overnight. If you don’t feel like running to the kitchen to grab the dish soap (or you’re running low and don’t want to run out), shampoo can be a very adequate substitute.

Epsom Salt

If you’re ever at the house of a friend or family member and a clog happens, you might not want to let them know what happened, at least not right away. In this case, you probably don’t have the time to wait for hot water and soap to work. Instead, take a look around to see if you can find any Epsom salt. Not everyone has this on hand, but if you find it, it’s worth a shot. The salt creates a fizzy reaction when it’s added to water and should help to break things up to clear the clog. If you don’t find Epsom salts, a bath bomb can do the trick as well. If you do use a bath bomb, just make sure that you replace it later.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar is a great mixture that does a whole lot more than make a cool volcano. This mixture makes an incredible cleaner for many different types of surfaces. It can also help to eliminate toilet clog. First, pour about a cup of baking soda right into the toilet bowl. Spread it around so that it covers as much surface area as possible and let it sink. Next, add about two cups of vinegar. Pour the vinegar slowly and in a circular motion so that it disperses more evenly around in the toilet. As the vinegar begins to mix with the baking soda, fizzing will start to happen, which should then start to break up the clog. Let the mixture sit for about an hour before you try to flush. If the first attempt doesn’t work, use the same amounts of baking soda and vinegar but let it work overnight.

A Wire Hanger

If you have a wire hanger in the closet to spare, you may be able to fashion a makeshift toilet snake. Unfold the hanger and straighten it out. If it has a rough edge, wrap and tie a rag around the end you’re going to use to unclog the toilet. This will prevent the wire from scratching the inside of the bowl and drain. Stick the wrapped end down the drain and prod the clog to loosen it. You may have to use some force, but be careful not to use so much that you end up causing damage.

A Toilet Brush

If you don’t have any wire hangers (because not everyone does), you could sacrifice your toilet brush (at least they’re affordable). Force the brush into the drain hole and move it back and forth vigorously. Don’t use too much force, though. You don’t want to cause any damage to your toilet. You may want to get changed before you attempt this method and make sure that you put on some rubber gloves and some goggles. Once you’re done, discard the toilet brush and invest in a new one.

 

Billy Henley
Billy Henley is the Vice President of Operations for BHI Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. Before becoming vice president, he worked six years in the field as a service technician and has over ten years of experience working in the industry. Billy often shares his knowledge about plumbing and HVAC issues on industry publications.

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