It's always a little embarrassing to have to deal with a stopped-up toilet, and it's especially flustering if you don't have a plunger handy. You need to know how to unclog a toilet without a plunger. It's really not that difficult with some simple tricks, and you probably have at least one of these items already around your house. So before you call the plumber to deal with the clog in your toilet, try out one of these five easy DIY tips.
5 Ways to Unclog a Toilet Without a Plunger
Have you ever gotten a ring stuck on your finger? You can use liquid soap to help it slip off. The same principle works for unclogging your toilet. Dish soap creates a slippery surface on the pipes around the clog, allowing it to slide right on through. Squirt a generous amount of dish soap into the toilet and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. You can also add a little bit of warm water to help push the dish soap through.
It seems counterintuitive to add more water to a toilet bowl that's in danger of overflowing, but if the water level isn't too high, then adding hot water can help break up or push the clog through, letting the toilet drain. Part of it is the temperature of the water helping to break up organic matter, but it's also a physics thing. Pouring water from above the toilet provides a push against the clog, which can help it move. The hot water method to unclog a toilet works even better when you pair it with liquid dish soap or baking soda. One very important note: Do not use boiling water. A clogged toilet is bad but a cracked toilet bowl is even worse, and your toilet bowl will likely crack if you pour boiling water in it. Use hot water out of the tap instead.
Bleach will break up organic blockages fairly quickly, including toilet paper. Pour three or four cups of bleach into the toilet water and let it sit for 10 minutes, then flush. You can also use the hot water hack here, too.
Baking Soda and Vinegar
The time-honored science fair chemical reaction of baking soda and vinegar can be applied to your clogged drain. Pour a cup of baking soda into the toilet boil, then add two cups of vinegar and let it fizz. This method to unclog a toilet isn't a quick one. You'll need to let the mixture work for at least a couple of hours; the longer it has to work, the better the result will be.
If you have a plumbing snake/drain snake, that's your first option to clearing up toilet clogs. But you can DIY your own with a wire coat hanger. If you've got a plastic-covered wire hanger, that's even better so you don't scratch the porcelain. Untwist the hanger, except for the hook part, so it's straight. The hook part goes into the toilet bowl, carefully angled until it reaches the clog, where you can use it to break up the clog. If you don't have any wire hangers, in an absolute pinch you can use a toilet brush. Either way, you're definitely going to want to wear rubber gloves and have a trash bag on hand when you unclog a toilet without a plunger.
This post was originally published on December 2, 2020.