The terror of realizing your toilet isn’t going to flush is second only to the horror of realizing there’s no plunger in sight when it comes to plumbing. Try one (or all) of these household life tricks for unclogging your toilet without a plunger before resorting to a “Do Not Use” notice and an emergency trip to the hardware store.
How to Clear a Clogged Toilet Without Using a Plunger
You can choose your best course of action according to what you have on hand, as there are several ways to unclog a toilet.
1. Hot Water
Pour a bucket of hot water into the toilet from waist height (to avoid spraying the contents of the toilet bowl all over your bathroom and you), which may help to press the stuck mass through the pipe. To increase your chances of addressing your problem, combine this procedure with the soap approach; just make sure the water you use is not boiling, as this could break the porcelain.
2. Dish Soap
Pour half a cup of dish soap into your toilet bowl and let it settle for a few minutes before flushing. Hopefully, it will sink and coat the sides of the pipe sufficiently to allow the jammed material to pass through. If you’ve used up all of your dish soap, cut a bar of soap into cubes and use that instead.
If you’ve used up all of your dish soap, cut a bar of soap into cubes and use that instead.
3. Baking Soda and Vinegar
Fill your toilet with one cup baking soda and two cups of vinegar and let it sit for half an hour. It may unclog the pipe on its own, but if it doesn’t, pour in a pail of hot water.
4. A Wire Hanger
Grab a wire hanger from your closet and untwist it until you have one straight length of wire. Then, use it just like you would a drain snake: Stick it down into the pipe and poke the mass until it gets dislodged or broken up enough to continue through the pipe.
5. A Plastic Bottle
Drain as much water as possible from your toilet bowl and fill a plastic bottle with warm water. Put on a pair of rubber gloves (or giant plastic bags in a pinch) and insert your thumb into the top of the bottle, then place the bottle and your thumb in the pipe’s mouth. Then take your thumb out of the bottle and squeeze it to force the water (and hopefully the clogged material) through the pipe.
6. Drain Cleaners
Draining cleaning chemicals isn’t the most practical solution. The chemicals are potentially hazardous. They can damage your plumbing or cause chemical burns. They’re also not exactly the most eco-friendly option. However, if you’re in a hurry and that’s all you have, they might work. You might also use bleach and powdered dish soap combo. After mixing two cups of bleach with a cup of powdered detergent, wait 30 minutes before flushing.
7. Epsom Salt
If you’re ever visiting a friend’s or family member’s residence and a clog occurs, you might not want to tell them, at least not straight immediately. You probably don’t have time to wait for hot water and soap to work in this situation. Instead, look around to see if any Epsom salt can be found. This isn’t something everyone has on hand, but if you do, it’s worth a chance.
When salt is added to water, it produces a fizzy response that should help to break up the clog. If Epsom salts aren’t available, a bath bomb will do.
8. Just Wait it Out
Sometimes all you have to do is sit and wait. This method needs only patience (and perhaps a second bathroom). As it tries to exit the drain, the water in your toilet exerts pressure on the clog. The pressure may eventually release the clog on its own. However, be prepared to wait for up to an overnight period. Furthermore, you should be prepared to turn off the water supply if you try to flush the toilet the next day and the blockage remains.