If you need to unblock a toilet, you usually don't want to hang about. Ideally, you'll have a plunger or a plumber's rod to do the job, but there are ways to unclog a toilet without a plunger, too. And would you believe, you can use our trusty friends vinegar and baking soda, too?
Use this guide to find out how to unclog a toilet, then find out how to clean a toilet to finish the job (excuse the pun...). And for more bathroom cleaning hacks, don't miss our guide.
1. How to unblock a toilet with hot water
Boil the kettle, pour the hot water into the boil and leave it to sit for three minutes. Then flush. This might be enough to soften and push through any blockage.
2. How to unclog a toilet without a plunger
If you've tried the hot water and flushed the toilet once and it's filled the bowl but the blockage has remained, your next option should be to don rubber gloves and see if you can deal with the blockage by hand. That might range from hooking out the toy your child has stuffed down there to lifting out excessive clumps of toilet paper they've used into a waiting plastic bag. We hate to say it, but it might also mean taking an old knife to a large (let's call it 'organic', sounds better) deposit and slicing it up a little. Try the flush again and keep fingers crossed.
3. How to unclog blocked toilet pipes
If you suspect the blockage is in the toilet pipes, just beyond where you can see, you can try to clear them with a plumber's rod or auger toilet unblocker (sold at DIY sheds or on Amazon). A wire clothes hanger might do the trick, too. If that doesn't work,
4. How to unblock a toilet with a wire hanger or rod
A wire coat hanger or long piece of stiff wire can be bent into a wide curved and pushed into the toilet if you don't have a drainage rod. Move it about gently, ensuring it doesn't get lodged or scratch the ceramic. This might be enough to clear the blockage. Flush gently to check.
5. How to deal with blockages in a soil pipe
If you can't see the blockage in your toilet, and the drain (usually sited at the front of your house, just on the property line with the pavement) isn't full of water, the blockage might be in the soil pipe. In this case you'll need to call in a professional to jet the pipe clean. If the blockage seems to be in the soil pipe between your property and the drain beneath the road, you'll need to call your local water company.
6. How to unclog a toilet with a plunger
First of all, the plunger you use should be a toilet plunger – in other words, big enough to cover the hole and create a vacuum. Plug the plunger over the opening in the toilet bowl and pump it backwards and forwards. If your plunger is small or not designed for a toilet, and doesn't fit the hole exactly, you can still use it, but flush the loo as you pump the plunger as this will create the necessary force to push the blockage through.
7. How to unclog a toilet with baking soda and vinegar
Pour a cup of baking/bicarbonate of soda into the toilet bowl. Follow it with a cup of white vinegar. Allow it to fizz for 20 minutes. Flush; this should have cleared most blockages.
8. How to unblock a toilet with caustic soda
First, ensure your eyes and hands are protected because caustic soda is extremely damaging if it comes into contact with either. Then pour the caustic soda into the toilet bowl, leave for two minutes (but always check the manufacturer's instructions for full details), then flush with hot water from the kettle or hot tap. Flush the toilet, then give it a clean.