Unilever logo
Cleanipedia AE logo

How to handle a clogged toilet

Want to know how to unblock a toilet? Read on for several effective methods for dealing with a blocked toilet.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

how to clean the toilet

How to handle a clogged toilet

With water rising every time you flush, unblocking a toilet can become a fine balance between handling the situation and making a mess. Fortunately, there are many methods to help you avoid flooding and deal with the problem calmly. Here are several tried and tested ways to unclog a toilet.

If you are dealing with a blockage that has not been caused by organic matter, such as a child’s toy falling into the bowl, the easiest way to dislodge it is by using your hand to fish it out. Just remember to wear gloves!

What to do before you deal with a clogged toilet

  • Dress for the mess: in case of toilet water overflowing, wear waterproof shoes and old clothing you don’t mind getting dirty. Wear a pair of rubber gloves too.

  • Clear the area: remove all toilet cleaning products, toilet rolls and bathroom accessories on the toilet floor and above the toilet.

  • Lay down paper towels around the toilet: this is to absorb any accidental spillage.

How to unblock a toilet with a plunger

Use a flange plunger or ball-shaped plunger with a long handle to deal with a blocked toilet. A typical plunger used for unblocking sinks will not be as effective.

To prepare the water, squirt a generous amount of washing up liquid and hot water into the toilet and leave for a few minutes.

Position the plunger over the hole so that it covers it completely, forming an airtight seal. Start plunging – at first slow and then vigorously. You may need to do this dozens of times, so be patient. The suction should be enough to dislodge the blockage.

Once the water begins to drain naturally, you can flush the toilet to test whether the toilet is fully unblocked.

How to unblock a toilet with chemical unblockers

If you don’t have a high quality flange plunger to hand then you may find it easier to use a commercial un-blocker such as Domestos Sink and Pipe unblocker. Commercial cleaners are great at breaking down organic material, making it easier to flush. Simply follow the instructions at the back of a cleaner to unblock a toilet. Always make sure you are in a well-ventilated area when you are using a strong cleaner as it can contain bleach.

Make your own baking soda and vinegar unblocker

Pour 1/2 a cup of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar into the toilet and leave it to react for 3-4 minutes. Pour boiling hot water from a height into the toilet bowl, being careful not to burn yourself.

Use an auger

If none of the above works, you may need to use an auger. This is a specialist tool that has a long, wire-like cable at the end which you can push down and through the toilet bowl until you reach the clog.

To reach the clog, manoeuvre the cable through and into the toilet bowl, turning the handle at the end until it stops. The hook at the end will either break up the clog or hook onto it, dragging it into bowl. This is good for both organic and non-organic blockages.

The next time you want to know how to unclog a toilet, you’ll now be equipped with several methods that will help you to deal with the problem without the help of a plumber.

  • Try a flange or ball-headed plunger

  • Use a commercial unblocker or make your own

  • Use an auger for tough blockages

Originally published