How to Unclog a Toilet with a Plunger

Is it your first time dealing with a clogged toilet? You are not alone. “How to unclog a toilet” is one of the most searched terms on the internet, with around 90k searches per month.

A clogged toilet is a frustrating ordeal. But don’t despair! There are a few simple techniques you can use to unclog that toilet and get it working again.

In this blog, I will also give you some tips to avoid clogging a toilet at home or elsewhere. It can be quite embarrassing to clog your friend’s toilet when you go to visit them.

Tools Required to Unclog a Toilet

  • Plunger
  • Rubber gloves

Signs That a Toilet is Clogged

The first sign of a toilet being clogged is when the toilet is not Flushing all the way? An inefficient flush happens when your toilet drain is clogged to a certain extent. The toilet will fill the bowl with flush water which will slowly drain eventually but will not rush out cleaning properly all the waste. The flush water usually remains high for a few minutes, then eventually drains down usually to a lower level than normal.

Most people do not stand and watch how the toilet flushes every time and many of us like to flush with the toilet lid on. So if you notice that the remaining water inside your toilet bowl is a bit lower than usual, remember that could be a sign that your toilet is getting clogged.

Another sign that your toilet is clogged is if the toilet starts to overflow when you flush it. This happens when the clog is preventing water from draining out of the toilet bowl. The water has nowhere to go but up and out of your toilet!

So if this happens, do not panic (easier said than done, I know). Turn off the water supply to your toilet by finding the knob or lever behind or near your toilet and giving it a turn. This will stop more water from coming into the toilet bowl and overflowing.

How to Unclog a Toilet Step by Step

1) Test the Drainage

Remove the tank lid, lift the flapper valve slightly to allow about two cups of water into the bowl, and check if the water goes down before you attempt to unclog the toilet using force. Consider having some rags or paper towels close in case the clogged toilet overflows.

The reason for trying this first is because if the water doesn’t go down at all, it means the clog is further down the drain and you’ll need a plunger to power through it.

2) Use a Plunger to Unclog a Toilet

If flushing the toilet didn’t work, then you most likely have a clog that will require a plunger to fix. Before you start plunging away, make sure you have the right toilet plunger. Consider buying a toilet plunger that has a rubber extension flange on the end. They are designed to fit all toilets shapes and sizes, creating a good seal between the plunger flange and the toilet drain opening.

If you don’t have a plunger with an extension flange, simply use a regular plunger. The important thing is to make sure there is a good seal between the plunger and the toilet drain. For better performance, wet the edge of the plunger’s rubber cup to help it create suction.

Position the plunger over the toilet drain opening and press down and pull gently first, remember that your plunger bell will be full of air initially. This will avoid the air being forced back around the seal blowing water all over you and the bathroom floor.

Unclogging Toilet with Plunger

After that first thrust, you can start plunging vigorously in and out, always keeping enough water in the bowl to cover the plunger and keeping a good seal. With this motion, you’ll be moving water in both directions inside the drain. Repeat this process several times until the clog begins to loosen. If you do not accomplish a good seal you will notice that the plunger suction is weak or absent.

If the toilet plunger doesn’t seem to be working, try a different approach. Instead of plunging up and down, try moving the plunger side to side quickly. This can sometimes loosen a clog that’s been stubborn.

You can also put dish soap in the toilet before you start plunging. This can help break up the clog. Use about a 1/4 cup of dish soap. Pour it into the toilet bowl and then add hot water from the sink until the toilet bowl is full. Let the dish soap and hot water sit for a few minutes to help break up the clog, then start plunging.

Plunging is generally all it takes to unclog a toilet. But if the clog is stubborn, consider utilizing a plumber’s snake. This is a long, flexible coil of wire that you insert into the toilet bowl and use to push through the clog.

3) Before Calling a Plumber

If the clog resists all your efforts but you do not want to spend the money on bringing a plumber then it is time to put on your handyman/woman hat and pull up the toilet.

This job will require several hours because you must turn off and remove the water supply, partially disassemble the toilet, and unscrew it from the mounting ring. Chances are that you’ll be able to access the problem once you’ve done this. To reseal your toilet base to the mounting ring, make sure to buy a new wax ring or a wax-free toilet seal, and replacement mounting bolts.

Wax Free

If after pulling up the toilet the clog is still not to be found then the problem is most likely further down in the main drain pipes where it is out of easy reach. Another sign of this being the problem is if other drains in the house are blocked or if water rises through them. In this case, do not waste your time pulling up your toilet, grab your phone and call a plumber. Plumbers can be pricey, but they can quickly get your bathroom operational even if there’s a big obstruction.

How to Avoid Clogging a Toilet?

Ah, the joys of owning a toilet. While these essential fixtures are undeniably handy, they can also be a source of frustration when they become clogged.

Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to avoid this dreaded fate.

  1. Be mindful of what you flush down the toilet drain. While it may be tempting to dispose of everything in the toilet, it can only handle so much. For example, avoid flushing things like regular baby wipes, sanitary napkins, or paper towels.
  2. Avoid flushing large amounts of toilet paper at once. If you need to use a lot of toilet paper, flush in small batches. This will help to prevent a backup.
  3. Invest in a good plunger and know how to use it. If you act quickly, a plunger can often clear a small clog before it has a chance to become a big one.
  4. If you have a septic tank, be sure to get it pumped regularly. This will help to avoid any buildup that could lead to a clog further down the drain.
  5. Don’t be afraid to call a professional if the problem is out of your depth. After all, there’s no shame in admitting defeat when it comes to avoiding a clogged toilet.

By following these simple tips, you can avoid clogging your toilet and keep your bathroom flowing smoothly.

Why does my Toilet Clog Regularly?

While toilets are designed to handle a lot, some of them are built poorly. If you’re constantly having to deal with a clogged toilet, it might be a toilet performance issue.

Poor flushing power and low water levels can often be the culprits for clogged toilets. If your toilet is struggling to move waste down the drain, it’s more likely to become clogged.

In addition, if your toilet isn’t getting enough water to flush properly, it can cause waste to build up and lead to a clog. Then it might be time to call in a professional. A plumber can help diagnose the problem and get your bathroom back up and running in no time. k

Keep in mind that some toilets just have a bad performance and replacing them with better ones can solve all your clogging problems. Consider reading customer reviews about the type of toilet you own before calling the plumber.


What can you pour down a toilet to unclog it?

There are a few things you can try pouring down the toilet to unclog it. This includes hot water and dish soap. Pour half a cup of dish soap right into the toilet drain and let it sit for 5 to 10 mins. Then pour carefully about a gallon of hot water into the toilet while keeping an eye on the water level inside the toilet to avoid overflow (Do not try if your toilet is full of water at the moment, wait for the water to drain). Wait a few minutes for the clog to soften and flush the toilet.

Baking soda and vinegar can be also used to unclog your toilet. Add one cup of baking soda to your toilet and let it sit for a few minutes, then pour in two cups of white vinegar. Pour the white vinegar slowly to prevent the chemical reaction between these two products from jumping out of the toilet. After letting both products sit for several minutes in the toilet drain, flush and see if the clog cleared.

How do you unclog a toilet when a plunger doesn’t work?

If the plunger doesn’t work, you might need to try a different technique. One option is to use a plumbing snake. This is a long, flexible cable that can be inserted into the drain to clear the clog.

Another option is to pour dish soap and a bucket of hot water down the drain, in this order. This will help to dissolve the clog and allow it to be flushed away. You can also try using a mixture of baking soda and vinegar.

If all else fails, you may need to call a professional plumber to clear the clog for you.

Will a toilet eventually unclog itself?

Yes, toilets will eventually unclog themselves. This is because the drainage system is designed to move waste down and away from the home. Also, most things that clog a toilet are soluble in water and will eventually dissolve in the toilet water. Given enough time the clog should break down and the pressure of a toilet flush should clear the pipes.

Of course, this can take a while (days) and you may not want to wait around for your toilet to unclog itself. Also, if you live with small children there is always a possibility of them flushing an object down the drain. In this case, you can try one of the methods mentioned above.


There are several ways to unclog a toilet – the most common of which is plunging. If plunging doesn’t work, you can try using a plumber’s snake or pulling up the toilet. Sometimes dish soap can help break up a clog. Before calling a plumber, make sure to try all these methods first.

Clogs in toilets can be a real headache, but they don’t have to be inevitable. If you follow the tips on this blog, you can avoid most clogs and keep your bathroom functioning smoothly. Even if one of these methods doesn’t work, there’s no shame in admitting defeat and calling a professional plumber.

Plumbers have special tools and techniques to deal with stubborn clogs. But with a little effort, you should be able to unclog that toilet on your own!

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