How to Unclog a Toilet: A Comprehensive Guide

Have a Toilet Emergency? Learn How to Take Care of It Like a Pro

Hello Challenger! We’ve all been there – the water level in the toilet is rising, but it’s not flushing. Before you panic and call a plumber, you can try unclogging the toilet on your own. With these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to take care of your toilet emergency like a pro in no time.


Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of unclogging a toilet, let’s talk about why it happens in the first place. Understanding the cause of the clog can help prevent it from happening in the future. In most cases, a clogged toilet is caused by flushing inappropriate items, such as excess toilet paper, facial tissues, or even non-flushable items like wipes, feminine hygiene products, or paper towels. These items can get stuck in the bend of the toilet trap or further down the drainpipe. In rare cases, a clogged toilet can be a result of a more significant problem like a sewer line blockage.

If you’ve determined that the clog is minor and not a result of a more significant problem, continue reading to learn how to fix the issue.

Step 1: Stop the Water Flow

Before you start fixing the toilet, you must stop the water flow. If you’re dealing with a severe clog, you don’t want the water level to rise and overflow. The first thing to do is remove the lid from the toilet tank and lift the float to stop more water from entering the bowl. If there’s no float, lift the chain instead.

Step 2: Identify the Clog

Identify the clog by observing the water level in the bowl. If the water level is high and remains high, then the clog is not allowing any more water to enter the drainpipe. If the water level starts high and lowers, the clog may be close to dislodging. In that case, you may want to add more water by pouring a bucket of water into the bowl.

Step 3: Try a Plunger

A plunger is a standard tool used to unclog a toilet. If you don’t own one, you can purchase it at your local hardware store or a general retailer.

Place the plunger over the drain hole, ensuring the rubber tip forms a tight seal before you start plunging. Push the plunger down, creating suction, then pull it up slowly. Repeat this motion several times until you see the water start to flow down the drain. Remember to not flush the toilet until you’ve cleared the clog. Flushing can cause an overflow and create a messy situation.

Step 4: Use a Plumbing Snake

If the plunger doesn’t work in clearing the clog, try using a plumbing snake. A snake is a long, flexible coil used for separating clogs by catching and dislodging them.

Insert the snake’s tip into the toilet and push it until you meet resistance. Turn the handle clockwise while applying pressure to feed the snake deeper into the drain. When you’ve reached the clog, slowly pull the snake out while twisting the handle counterclockwise. Hopefully, the snake will catch the debris and dislodge it from the drain, clearing the way for the water to flow freely.

Step 5: Pouring chemicals down the toilet

If the plunger and plumbing snake don’t work, and you’re still dealing with a stubborn clog, try using a commercial drain cleaner. Follow the instructions on the label, and use the recommended amount for clearing clogs in toilets. Keep in mind that chemicals can be harsh, so read the instructions before using the product, and use precautions like gloves and goggles.

Step 6: Call a Professional

If your attempts are unsuccessful, and you’re still dealing with a clog, it may be time to call in a plumber. Professional plumbers have specialized tools that can help them handle stubborn clogs.

Step 7: Prevent Future Clogs

After unclogging your toilet, take measures to prevent future blockages. Avoid flushing non-flushable items and cut back on excess toilet paper use. Additionally, consider using a bidet or flushable wipes instead of standard tissue paper. These products break down more quickly and are less likely to cause blockages.

How to Unclog a Toilet Table:

Unclogging Method Steps
Plunger 1. Stop the water flow2. Place the plunger over the drain hole3. Push the plunger down creating suction then pull up slowly4. Repeat plunging motion until the water starts flowing freely
Plumbing Snake 1. Insert the snake’s tip into the toilet2. Push it until you meet resistance3. Turn the handle clockwise and apply pressure to feed the snake deeper4. When you hit the clog, slowly pull the snake out while twisting the handle counterclockwise
Chemicals 1. Choose a commercial drain cleaner product2. Follow the label instructions3. Use the recommended amount of product4. Use precautions like gloves and goggles


How often do toilets need to be unclogged?

Toilets can clog at any point in time if non-flushable items or excess toilet paper are used. It’s essential to be aware of the items going down the toilet and avoid overusing toilet paper, facial tissues, or other non-degradable materials.

Why can’t I flush my toilet?

If you can’t flush your toilet, it’s most likely due to a clog. A clog can be caused by various reasons such as flushing non-degradable items, pushing excessive toilet paper, sanitary items, and paper towels down the toilet.

Should I always call a plumber when my toilet gets clogged?

No, you don’t always have to call a plumber to unclog your toilet. You can try fixing the issue on your own by using a plunger or a plumbing snake. However, if the issue persists or the clog is severe, it’s essential to contact a professional plumber who can provide effective solutions.

Can I unclog my toilet with hot water?

Using hot water may work in some cases. However, it’s possible that you may cause more damage to the pipes. It’s important to make sure that the water doesn’t boil excessively because boiling water can damage the toilet bowl.

Is it safe to use chemicals to unclog the toilet?

When using chemicals, it’s important to avoid overusing it since they aren’t the best option for your overall health and safety. If you’re determined to use chemicals, it’s essential to read the product warnings and directions carefully.

Can I use vinegar and baking soda to unclog the toilet?

Vinegar and baking soda are helpful for cleaning purposes but aren’t the best options for unclogging the toilet completely.

How can I prevent future clogs?

To prevent future clogs, avoid flushing non-flushable items, use less toilet paper and consider using flushable wet wipes. Regular cleaning with a scouring pad or mild cleaner is also helpful.

Can I flush wipes marked “flushable”?

Although wipes may be labeled as “flushable”, it’s essential to keep in mind that they may cause severe problems with your plumbing. It’s always best to dispose of them in the trash instead of flushing them down the toilet.

Why does my toilet keep clogging?

Toilets can clog due to various reasons, including flushing non-flushable items or using an excessive amount of toilet paper. However, it’s important to note that some clogs can be indicative of more significant problems, such as a collapsed sewage line or tree root damage. Contact a plumber if your issue persists.

What are some preventive measures I can take?

To prevent clogs, avoid flushing non-flushable items and be mindful of the amount of toilet paper that goes down the toilet. Reduce the amount of toilet paper by using wet wipes or installing a bidet. Regular cleaning and maintenance should also be done to ensure a healthy plumbing system.

Should I avoid using a plunger?

Plungers are excellent tools for unclogging toilets. They’re easy to use, very affordable, and you can find them at a local hardware store or general retailer.

Should I call a professional if a plunger doesn’t work?

It is recommended to contact a professional if your attempts to unclog your toilet with a plunger or similar tools are unsuccessful or if the issue persists. A skilled plumber will have access to specialized tools that can handle even the most stubborn of clogs.

How long does it take to fix a clogged toilet?

Fixing a clogged toilet depends on the severity of the clog. If it’s just a minor clog, a plunger can take care of it in just a few minutes. However, if it is more severe, it may take you several rounds of trying different methods or even calling in a professional.

Will a clogged toilet eventually fix itself?

In most cases, a clogged toilet won’t fix itself. It’s critical to fix the issue as soon as it arises to prevent sewage backups, water damage, and other issues that can lead to more expensive repairs.


With these steps and tips, you can become a pro at unclogging toilets. Remember that the most common reason for clogs is flushing inappropriate items down the toilet. By taking preventive measures such as avoiding flushing non-degradable items and using less toilet paper or a bidet, you can save yourself from this inconvenient issue in the future. If you’ve tried all the above tips and the toilet is still clogged, it’s time to contact your local professional plumber.


While every attempt has been made to provide valuable and accurate information, we cannot guarantee that the solutions provided will work for your specific issue. Please use caution and follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer of any tools or products you use. If the issue persists or worsens, it is essential to seek professional help from a licensed plumber or contractor.