We've all been there, and it goes without saying, that unclogging a toilet is not the most enjoyable experience. Luckily, the ordeal is usually a short one, and a few strong pumps with a plunger is enough to remove the blockage and get your toilet working like normal.
However, there are times when there isn't a toilet plunger nearby, or it fails to get the job done, meaning you have to look for alternative methods to fix your clogged toilet, a topic we will explore in greater depth below.
Begin With Dish Soap
The first alternative begins with a trip to the kitchen for some dish soap. The idea here is that the dish soap will act as a lubricant which can help the clogged mass pass through the pipe and continue on its way to the sewer system.
Most people find they experience the greatest level of success when they pour about half a cup of dish soap into the toilet bowl and let it sit for roughly half an hour.
Use Warm Water For Added Effect
In case your toilet is running and there is a particularly nasty clog, adding some warm water can help get things moving a little quicker. When using warm water, it is important to keep in mind that at high enough temperatures, water can crack porcelain, a material that many toilets are made of. If you were thinking about boiling water before dumping it into the clogged toilet, consider using warm tap water instead.
If you have a large plastic bottle or bucket, you can increase the effectiveness of this method by dumping the hot water into the clogged toilet bowl from waist level, as this added pressure can help remove the clog and allow the toilet to drain much faster. That being said, you have to keep in mind how full the toilet bowl is, as dumping too much water can cause overflow issues, which can turn your bathroom into a mess.
Turn A Wire Hanger Into a DIY Drain Snake
A drain snake is a tool plumbers use to break up a clog in a plumbing system and works by using force to send a flexible, snake-like metal wire down a sink, drain hole, pipe, or toilet. This process is one of the more hands-on approaches to removing clogs in plumbing and can be used to fix toilet clogs as well. However, if you don't have a plunger, the chances of you having a drain snake on hand are pretty slim.
Luckily, a DIY version can be easily fashioned from a standard wire coat hanger and is an excellent option when you need to unclog a toilet without a plunger. The first step in this process involves unraveling the coat hanger until it is straight. Once that is done, you can insert one end of the wire hanger into the toilet bowl and start probing and pushing at the clog. Some people also like to add hot water at this stage, as doing so can help break down lodged toilet paper and other debris.
Depending on the nature of the clog, you might have to apply some force and spend a few minutes moving your makeshift snake in and out of the toilet. Once you feel enough damage has been done to the clog, it's a good idea to let it sit for a few minutes and see if the water level in the toilet is going down at all. If it is, and you feel it is safe to do so, give the toilet a flush. In some instances, this process may have to be repeated a few times, but it is still one of the best ways to unclog a toilet without a plunger.
No Coat Hanger? Use The Toilet Brush As A Snake
There is the chance that some people don't have coat hangers, making the DIY option we outlined above unavailable. Fortunately, most everyone has a toilet brush in their bathroom, and in a pinch, it can be used to apply pressure to the clog in hopes of dislodging it.
Just like with the coat hanger, the brush can be thrust into the toilet bowl and down into the clogged area when a plunger isn't available. When doing this, you should strongly consider putting on a pair of rubber gloves, as the back and forth movement can cause splashback.
Use A Baking Soda And Vinegar Mix To Unclog A Toilet
Some people don't like the idea of flushing a half cup of dish soap down the drain and would prefer a more natural, environmentally friendly alternative to removing a clog without a plunger. If you share then sentiment, you're in luck, as a mix of vinegar and baking soda can be just as effective.
For some, the idea of mixing vinegar and baking soda makes them think of an elementary school science project that emulates the erupting of a volcano. While baking soda and vinegar make great simulated lava, it is also a powerful cleaning solution and can unclog a toilet.
To do so is straightforward and requires placing one cup of baking soda and two cups of vinegar into the toilet bowl and letting it bubble and fizz for at least thirty minutes. The chemical reaction that occurs when baking soda and vinegar are mixed is quite strong and can dissolve hair, toilet paper, and most other organic-based substances that can cause a clog
Create Pressure By Using A Plastic Bottle
From time to time, we may run into a clog that is so stubborn that some of the methods we have discussed too far don't produce results. In this event, it may be time to use a plastic bottle to create some pressure and dislodge the clog. Unfortunately, this method can be messy, and rubber gloves are highly recommended.
The first step requires removing all excess water from the toilet bowl, which can be done by using a small cup or bucket to scoop out the water and pour it into a larger bucket. When as much water as possible has been removed, find a plastic bottle and fill it with water and a little bit of soap. While covering the top opening of the bottle with your thumb, so as not to let any water escape, place the bottle as close to the opening of the toilet drain as possible.
Once you're in position, remove your thumb from the opening and squeeze the bottle hard and suddenly. This intense squeezing will cause water to shoot out of the opening with some force, which may be enough to break up the blockage and allow the toilet to flush.
Pour Some Drain Cleaner Down The Toilet Hole
It is not uncommon for people to have drain cleaner products lying around the house, and these types of chemicals can be useful for removing clogs and blockages. However, drain cleaners work best when there isn't very much water in the toilet bowl, so achieving maximum effect may require you to remove excess water via a similar process we discussed in the previous section.
Unlike some of the other methods we have discussed, these cleaning products can take a while to work and may have to wait close to an hour before you will be able to flush again.
Place Epsom Salts In The Toilet Bowl
An Epsom salt bath is an excellent way to exfoliate your skin and relax, and for this reason, many people have this product stored underneath their sinks. If you're experiencing a blockage that the plunger can't solve, feel free to pour some Epsom salt into the toilet bowl and let it sit.
When doing this, you may have to wait 1o or 15 minutes before trying to flush, but when allowed to sit, the Epsom salt will slowly eat away at the blockage, causing the clog to dissolve.
Play The Waiting Game
In almost all cases, a clog will slowly dissipate if you wait long enough, especially if you pour some soap into the bowl. If you don't feel comfortable with some of the methods described above and have the time, consider playing the waiting game.
Whether it be because a plunger isn't available or because it has failed to do the trick, there are many alternative methods one can employ to remove a blockage from their toilet have it flushing like normal again.