How to unblock a clogged toilet

If your toilet is clogged and filled to the very top brim with water, here is a way to get the water down without flooding the bathroom. If you immediately flush the toilet or use a plunger, the bathroom may flood. The water may spill over the top of the toilet and get all over the bathroom floor.

Unblocking a toilet with a plunger

1. Turn off the water valve behind the toilet so no more water can enter into the toilet.
2. Wait a few minutes or as long as possible and the water in the toilet should go down a little.
3. Use a toilet plunger and slowly guide the plunger into the toilet making sure you don’t get water everywhere.
4. Plunge the toilet at the hole at the very bottom moving it gently up and down causing a vacuum and shots of water to unclog the toilet drain line.
5. Continue plunging until the toilet water begins to go down and drains out.
6. Flush the toilet to be sure the toilet will drain. (Water valve is off so in case of toilet still has a clog, the toilet will not flood)
7. Turn on the water valve behind the toilet and wait until you hear the water stop flowing into the toilet.
8. Flush the toilet again and make sure that water drains and enters the toilet like normal.
9. Wash the toilet plunger head in the clear clean toilet water and flush once again to clean it off, put the plunger back where you found it.

Unblocking a toilet without a plunger

If you don’t have a plunger to hand, grab a wire coat hanger, unwind it so you have one piece of long wire and bend it into a curve. Sometimes net curtain wires are also good at this job! Simply push the wire up into the toilet and wiggle gently to push the blockage clear. But make sure you are gentle - you don’t want to scratch your toilet. Essentially, you’re going to try to dislodge the blockage by threading something down the toilet. A drain rod or auger is ideal for this if you have one.

Dissolve the blockage

If you don’t think the toilet is badly blocked, you can try pouring hot water into the toilet bowl before using a plunger – this can help dissolve the blockage, pushing it hard through the pipe and is the more environmentally friendly way of unblocking your toilet. If this doesn’t work, you may need to recruit the help of some caustic soda or drain cleaner. Make sure you wear gloves for this step.

You can even try and use baking soda and vinegar if you do not have any drain cleaner at home. Simply premix four tablespoons of baking soda and white vinegar in a cup first. As soon as the mixture starts to react in the cup, pour it down the toilet and let it work on the blockage for about five minutes. If a subsequent flush doesn’t clear the toilet, try repeating again with more baking soda.

Do you still have issues? Don't be embarrassed, call us.

We deal with these type of issues on a daily basis, so please call us as most plumbers have seen and experienced far worse. Also, your plumber might be able to catch a deeper issue before it gets much worse, such as a tree root growing into your waste pipe outside.

Prevention over cure

Excessive use of toilet paper in a single flush is the main cause of blocked toilets. Try to cut down on the amount of toilet paper you use, or at the very least, flush the paper over several flushes. You should also avoid flushing the following items down your toilet: nappies, sanitary towels, cotton wool and cotton buds, cigarettes and cigarette ash, paper, plastic and cardboard, and fat (such as chip fat).