toilet paper blocked toilet

How to Unblock a Toilet

Need to know how to unblock a toilet? Have a broken toilet? Don’t panic.

We know that toilet clogs can be a stressful disruption to your everyday life. We all take operational toilets for granted. Depending on the severity of the toilet clog though, you might be able to fix it with your tools at home. Read on to find out what you can do to unclog a toilet and have it flushing freely again. Make sure you’ve got some rubber gloves ready just in case!

Methods of Unblocking A Clogged Toilet

Ever wondered how to unblock a toilet without a plunger?

As it happens, there are several ways you can unblock a toilet and it’s not all about plungers. Though they are certainly a reliable and easy-to-use tool, sometimes your clogged toilet drain may require a little extra help. You can use:

  • store-bought drain cleaners
  • homemade drain cleaners
  • augers or plumbing snakes
  • DIY plumbing snakes
  • liquid dish soap and hot water

If you are going to attempt a DIY job, it’s important to first be aware of what you are doing and do your research accordingly. Most of the methods mentioned above come with risks attached. Some may damage your pipes and drains, or potentially only make the situation worse by pushing the blockage further down the pipes.

If at any stage you are unsure of your ability to clear the toilet blockage, you think you are only making it worse, or if the symptoms persist, call Metropolitan Plumbing for prompt blocked drains plumbers in your area.

What Is Blocking My Toilet Drain?

Before you start wondering how to unblock a toilet, it’s also a good idea to first be aware of what exactly is blocking your toilet. The most common culprits are things like overuse of toilet paper, wet wipes, tissues and essentially any other foreign object that is not meant to go in your toilet bowl and down the drain. For a better understanding, you can read more about what should never go down the drain on our blog.


Preparation is key, so make sure you have all the right equipment and set up before attempting to unblock a toilet. If you’ve flushed once and it is clearly blocked and not draining properly, DO NOT try to flush the toilet again hoping it will unblock.

This will only cause the toilet bowl to overflow and create an awful mess. To minimise the clean up, lay down some newspaper sheets or some paper towels to soak up any toilet overflow or splash. Prepare yourself by putting on some rubber gloves to protect your hands from the unsanitary toilet water.

How To Unblock a Toilet Bowl with A Plunger

Plungers work best to unclog a toilet blocked by a build-up of toilet paper. Ball-headed plungers and flange-headed plungers work best, not the cheap suction cup style that is often portrayed in cartoons and the like.

Run the plunger under some hot water before beginning to soften the rubber, helping to create a seal with the toilet bowl. Insert the head entirely into the water and make sure it covers the entire hole. If you need to add water you can do so from the tap.

You may now proceed to pump the toilet plunger back and forth to dislodge the blockage. It may not work immediately, but you’ll know it when it happens. Once you think you’ve unclogged the toilet, flush it to make sure it’s all draining properly.

How to Unblock a Toilet with Chemical Solutions

There are three kinds of chemical solutions you may use to unblock a badly clogged toilet.

  1. Enzyme products
  2. Homemade drain cleaner using baking soda and vinegar
  3. Drain cleaning chemicals

These have been listed in order of which you should attempt to use them. Enzyme products are by far the best way to clear a blockage. They contain a mixture of enzymes that break down and liquify solid waste and are often found in stores like Bunnings, in the plumbing supplies aisle.

They are a far safer alternative to your usual chemical drain cleaners. Enzymes won’t harm your pipes and are much better for the environment. With these store-bought solutions, simply follow the instructions outlined on the packaging for the most effective results.

The other option you can use is a homemade baking soda and vinegar solution, if you don’t want any chemicals in your pipes at all. To make this you will need:

  • 2 litres hot water
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 2 cups vinegar

For this homemade mixture, pour the very hot water back into the toilet bowl, followed by the vinegar and baking soda and leave overnight. The solution will fizz up a great deal, but should hopefully, safely clear the blockage by breaking it down.

Note: This, and other chemical solutions, will only work for organic matter blockages. If you’ve successfully done these steps but still find the blockage persists, it means you may have a hard obstruction.

Hot Water and Dish Soap

If your toilet is clogged, a simple remedy involves hot water and liquid dish soap. Firstly, squirt a generous amount of dish soap into the toilet bowl. Then, pour hot water — not boiling, as it may crack the porcelain — from waist height down the toilet drain to create pressure. The water helps the soap lubricate and break down organic matter. Let it sit for a few minutes. Afterward, flush the toilet. The combination of soap and hot water should have eased the blockage, allowing the toilet to drain normally. Repeat if necessary, but if problems persist, consider using a plunger or calling a professional.

Plumbing Snake

A plumbing snake, also known as a drain snake or an auger, is a long flexible rod with a head attachment that can snake its way deep down into the toilet drains. These are best used when the blockage is far down the pipes and solid in nature. Chances are if the situation is bad enough to need a plumbing snake, you most likely need a plumber to help.

However, if you’re determined to DIY it, keep on. It’s fairly self-explanatory – insert the rod into the drain until you feel the obstruction, then twist the auger to make the sharp head spin. This will break up the obstruction into smaller pieces, making it easier for it to flush away.

DIY Tools

You can also attempt to use a homemade type of auger by cutting a wire coat hanger and extending it out. Then wrap a rag or cloth around one end and insert it into the drain like you would a plumbing snake. Without the attachable sharp head of the toilet snake, all you can do here is push to try and dislodge the obstruction.

This is a risky one as you could potentially just move the blockage deeper into the drain hole without loosening it, so this is advised against.

If All Else Fails, We Know How to Unblock a Toilet

If you’ve tried all this and the situation isn’t getting better, or worse yet, it’s getting worse, it may be time to call a toilets and cisterns plumber. A blocked toilet can be a fairly serious issue, so it’s important, not to muck around with it too much. If your efforts with a wire coat hanger or baking soda and vinegar haven’t worked out, it’s time to bring in a professional.

Your local Metropolitan Plumbing blocked drain and toilet specialist is only an hour away*. We can provide a long term solution that will sort your toilet pipes and drains out for good. We have more advanced machinery and equipment that can make short work of even the most stubborn blockages. Call today!

Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.

Published: 2020-03-26

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