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How to Unclog a Blocked Toilet

This article will tell you how to unclog a blocked toilet in just a few simple steps. Don't call the plumber – find out how to unclog your toilet at home here!


Reading Time: 5 minutes

Written by Eunice Samson

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There’s nothing more inconvenient than a blocked toilet, but it’s easily fixed with minimal mess or stress! Follow these simple steps on how to fix a clogged toilet bowl.

If you’re faced with a clogged toilet, stop flushing! If the toilet is blocked, flushing cause the water levels to rise and the dirty toilet water could end up flooding your floor.

How to Fix a Clogged Toilet

When it comes to chores in the bathroom, a clogged toilet is pretty much guaranteed to dampen your day! But you don’t have to resort to calling an expensive plumber or dismantling the cistern – grab some rubber gloves and read on for simple solutions on how to unclog a toilet bowl.

  • Gather your supplies.

When it comes to knowing what to do with a clogged toilet, remember that safety comes first. Ideally you’ll need some strong rubber gloves, some old clothes, a plunger, a bucket or large bowl, and some old newspapers or paper towels to mop up any leaks.

  • Stop any overflow.

To prevent any more mess, the first thing you’ll need to do before you unblock the clogged toilet is stop the rising water levels. Fast action is essential: you’ll find a flapper in the toilet bowl, so close this as quickly as you can to prevent any more water flowing through - follow the same process if you have to unblock a sink. 

  • Determine what’s causing the toilet to be blocked.

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If it’s a solid object such as a kids’ toy, you might be able to reach in with a gloved hand and remove it. Otherwise, you’ll need to use your plunger to unclog the toilet. Use a plunger large enough to cover the hole at the bottom of the toilet. Ensuring that there is water covering the plunger (add more water if necessary), firmly press the plunger to create a seal. Pump the plunger until the blockage is removed.

  • But what can unclog a toilet if you don’t have a plunger?

Add a few cups of very hot water to the toilet bowl and leave to sit for a few minutes. This should help to break down the blockage to make it easier to flush. If hot water doesn’t work, use a foaming liquid detergent (such as washing up liquid or, in an emergency, shampoo or shower gel). Squirt the detergent into the bowl, leave to sit for as long as possible then flush (use the flapper if the blockage still doesn’t shift). This method will also help to loosen stubborn blockages in a clogged toilet before you use a plunger.

  • If steps 3 and 4 still leave the toilet blocked, invest in a plumbing snake.

This handy device is available in most hardware stores. To unclog the toilet, uncoil the snake and feed it into the toilet bowl. When it reaches the blockage, twist the snake and push against the blockage until it breaks apart and the water drains.

  • If in doubt…

If the blockage still won’t budge or is deep inside the drain, it’s best to call in the experts so as not to permanently damage your plumbing.

  • Clean the toilet.

Once the blockage in a clogged toilet has been fixed, thoroughly clean the toilet using a thick bleach such as Domex ­ – it will cling to the toilet’s surfaces to prevent germs and also remove the hardest stains. 

  • Be hygienic when fixing a clogged toilet – wear rubber gloves and old clothes if possible, and remember to clean up well afterwards (try a thick bleach such as Domex to combat germs).

  • Find the cause of the blocked toilet. You might simply be able to unclog the toilet using a gloved hand.

  • Turn off the water. Prevent the water from rising by closing the flapper in the cistern.

  • Use tools such as a plunger or plumbing snake to clear stubborn blockages.

Safety Warning

Use biocides safely. Always read the label and product information before use.

Learn more about cleaning toilets, drains, baths, showers, and tiles in our bathroom cleaning tips.

Do you want to learn which household cleaning tasks cause the most stress?  Then read our Heated Household data analysis. 

Frequently asked questions about unblocking a clogged toilet

Can Liquid Sosa unclog a toilet?

Liquid Sosa is a brand of liquid lye which is designed to unclog drainpipes but its ability to break down organic material means it could help to unclog your toilet too. However, Liquid Sosa is made up of ingredients which could potentially corrode your pipes so we recommend trying home remedies such as white vinegar or bleach first.

How much does it cost to unclog a toilet professionally?

So, you’re wondering how much to unclog a toilet? The cost will depend on who you book to do the job and how bad the blockage is. It can range from PHP100 to PHP888.

When should you call a plumber for a clogged toilet?

If you have tried to clear the blockage yourself using our tips or if the blockage is causing leaks or overflow in your bathroom, then this is when to call a plumber for a clogged toilet.

How do you unclog a toilet and shower drain if they are both blocked at the same time?

If you have a clogged toilet and shower drain, it is likely the blockage is located somewhere further up the sewage line. If you have tried to unclog them both using conventional methods and nothing is working, you should not try to unclog the sewage line on your own. Instead, call a specialist who will be able to do it for you, as the steps for how to unclog toilet and shower drain could require major works to remove the obstruction and / or repair the sewage pipes.

Originally published