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Homekeeping · Cleaning · These Are The Best Ways To Unclog A Toilet In An Emergency
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These Are The Best Ways To Unclog A Toilet In An Emergency

Facing down a clogged toilet with no plunger in sight can feel like a nightmare—unless you're armed with these useful tips!

I’m sure we’ve all been in a “situation” at some point in our lives that involved someone else’s bathroom, a clogged toilet, and the crushing weight of our own panic and humiliation. And although we can’t go back and change the past, what we can do is learn how to calmly and discreetly unclog a clogged toilet and avoid such calamities in the future!

In today’s post, we’ll be exploring four simple and straightforward ways to unclog a toilet. Learning multiple methods may seem like overkill, but personally, I’d much rather have a few different methods to call on in an emergency situation, especially if I were in an unfamiliar setting.

So without any further ado, let’s talk toilets! 🙂

4 Easy Ways To Unclog A Toilet

1. The Hot Water “Plumber’s Trick”

I picked up this simple 3-step method to unclog a toilet from a plumber who visited our house years ago. It’s ideal for emergencies, since it calls on supplies that are ubiquitous in most bathrooms. (And you don’t even need a plunger to do it!)

Step 1 – Prevent An Overflow

If the water level is rising in the toilet, the absolute first thing you should do is remove the toilet tank lid and press the flapper down. The toilet flapper allows water to flow from the tank into the toilet bowl, and pressing it closed will immediately stop the water level from rising and potentially overflowing.

You can also shut off the water supply to the toilet as an added safety measure. Look for a handle behind the toilet and close to the floor, and turn it clockwise to shut off the water.

Step 2 – Add Hot Water

The next step is to add some hot water to the toilet bowl, which will help dissolve the clog and make it easier to flush.

Look for a bucket or wastebasket, empty it, and fill it with hot water from the tub or sink. Pour the water into the toilet bowl, wait a minute or two, then try either plunging the toilet or flushing the toilet again. (Turn the water back on if necessary, and keep your hand close to the flapper in case the attempt is unsuccessful!)

Step 3 – Add Soap

If the previous step didn’t completely take care of the problem, the next step is to try adding some soap. Dish soap, hand soap, or even shampoo can help get the clog moving through the pipes!

Just squirt a few tablespoons of soap or shampoo into the toilet bowl, wait a couple more minutes, then flush. The combination of the hot water and soap should be enough to unclog a toilet and get the water moving again!

2. DIY Clog-Busting Toilet “Bombs”

The second method I want to share isn’t quite as useful as the plumber’s trick for situations that may arise when you’re out and about. However, keeping a container of these fizzy toilet “bombs” in your own bathrooms can certainly make it easier for both you and your guests to unclog a toilet quickly and easily!

How To Make Them

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 1/4 cup Epsom salt
  • 1/2 cup dish soap
  • Silicone mold

Directions:

Add the baking soda and Epsom salt to a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the dish soap a little bit at a time, stirring after each addition, until the mixture feels like wet sand.

Divide the mixture evenly among the cavities of a silicone mold, pack them tightly, then set the mold aside to dry overnight. Once your toilet bombs are completely dry, remove them from the mold and store them in an airtight container.

How To Use Them

To unclog a toilet, drop one of the bombs into the toilet bowl, pour in a quart or so of hot water, then let it sit for as long as possible (an hour is ideal). The ingredients and hot water will work together to break down the clog, and you should only need to flush to fix the clogged toilet!

3. Borax

For this method, you only need one thing: borax. While borax is commonly used as a laundry booster, it’s useful in a variety of other cleaning applications too, including helping to fix a clogged toilet!

To use it, start by shutting off the water supply to the toilet. Pour about 1/2 cup borax into the toilet bowl, let sit for 5-10 minutes, then follow with a bucket of hot water.

Try flushing again, then repeat with more borax and hot water if necessary.

4. Toilet Plunger

For about 90 percent of clogged toilets, you only need one tool—a toilet plunger. Look for a toilet plunger with an extension coming off of the bell-shaped end, which will help create a seal between the plunger and the toilet drain at the bottom of the bowl that will make your plunging efforts more effective.

To use a toilet plunger to unclog a toilet, aim the flange extension into the toilet drain and push it in gently. (This first push will expel the air trapped inside the plunger, so you don’t want to push too hard and risk blasting a bunch of water out of the toilet bowl!)

Once you force out the air, continue plunging in and out about 15 to 20 times, making sure to maintain the seal. This will force water back and forth in the drain, effectively loosening most clogs. Stick with it, and your efforts will almost certainly pay off!

Do you have any tips or tricks for fixing a clogged toilet?

How to Unclog a Toilet (Step by Step)

Jill Nystul
Stuck in the bathroom with the toilet water steadily rising? Follow these steps to unclog a toilet quickly and easily!
Prep Time 5 mins
Active Time 5 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Cost $10
Yield 1 unclogged toilet

Equipment

  • Dawn Dish Soap
  • Bucket
  • Plunger

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup borax
  • 1 gallon hot water

Instructions
 

Using the Plumber's Trick

  • Remove the toilet tank lid and press the flapper down. This will immediately stop the water level from rising and potentially overflowing. You can also shut off the water supply to the toilet as an added safety measure. Look for a handle behind the toilet and close to the floor, and turn it clockwise to shut off the water.
  • Look for a bucket or wastebasket, empty it, and fill it with hot water from the tub or sink. Pour the water into the toilet bowl, wait a minute or two, then try either plunging the toilet or flushing the toilet again.
  • If the previous step didn’t completely take care of the problem, the next step is to try adding some soap. Dish soap, hand soap, or even shampoo can help get the clog moving through the pipes! Just squirt a few tablespoons of soap or shampoo into the toilet bowl, wait a couple more minutes, then flush.

Use a Clog-Busting Toilet Bomb

  • Add 2 cups baking soda and 1/4 cup Epsom salt to a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add 1/2 cup dish soap a little bit at a time, stirring after each addition, until the mixture feels like wet sand.
  • Divide the mixture evenly among the cavities of a silicone mold, pack them tightly, then set the mold aside to dry overnight. Once your toilet bombs are completely dry, remove them from the mold and store them in an airtight container.
  • To unclog a toilet, drop one of the bombs into the toilet bowl, pour in a quart or so of hot water, then let it sit for as long as possible (an hour is ideal). The ingredients and hot water will work together to break down the clog, and you should only need to flush to fix the clogged toilet!

Try Borax

  • Start by shutting off the water supply to the toilet. Pour about 1/2 cup borax into the toilet bowl, let sit for 5-10 minutes, then follow with a bucket of hot water. Try flushing again, then repeat with more borax and hot water if necessary.

Pull Out the Plunger

  • Aim the flange extension of the plunger into the toilet drain and push it in gently. (This first push will expel the air trapped inside the plunger, so you don’t want to push too hard and risk blasting a bunch of water out of the toilet bowl!)
  • Once you force out the air, continue plunging in and out about 15 to 20 times, making sure to maintain the seal. This will force water back and forth in the drain, effectively loosening most clogs.

Video


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    Hi, I’m Jillee!

    I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!

    Every day I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

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