Three Tips for Unblocking a Stubborn Toilet
If you’ve tried everything to get your toilet unclogged and nothing has worked, it’s time to get more creative. There’s plenty of advice on how to unblock a toilet using a plunger, but what if even a plunger isn’t getting the job done? Here are four other tips to try when faced with a stubborn toilet.
Vinegar and Baking Soda
This combination of basic household products works like a charm to unclog a toilet, especially if you don’t have a plunger handy to help. Vinegar and baking soda are both nontoxic items that have numerous practical uses, one of which is clearing drains. You probably have these two items in your kitchen, but if not, one of your neighbors will. Plus, they are inexpensive and readily available at a grocery or big box store.
To begin unblocking your toilet, add a cup of baking soda to the water in the bowl and wait for about five minutes. Then, add two cups of vinegar to the baking soda and water mixture in the bowl. When the vinegar merges with the baking soda, the solution creates bubbles, which are necessary to dissolve the clog. Give the concoction a few minutes to work and as you see the bubbles lessen, flush the toilet. It’s possible you’ll need to try this technique twice before the clog fully clears.
Dish Soap and Hot Water
Another way to clear a clogged toilet with items you already have around your house is to use hot water and dish soap. This process can be dangerous, so be very careful when transporting the hot water and soap mixture from your stove to your toilet. Heat up a gallon of water in a pot on your stove. While it’s heating up add a few ounces of dish soap to the water. Just before the water begins to boil (do not pour boiling water in your toilet), remove the pot from the stove and pour the water carefully into the toilet.
The hot water and soap will soften the clog and allow it to slip from its lodged position down the pipe. You’ll need to wait about 15 minutes for the solution to work its magic, and then flush the toilet. If you don’t have any dish soap available, shampoo will work just as well, but usually, dish soap is cheaper than shampoo, so if you have the option, you can save some cash by using dish soap.
A toilet snake is extremely valuable in the event that a plunger can’t remove a clog from a toilet. They cost about $25, but you won’t regret having one on hand if you need it. Thread the auger end of the metal cable down the opening in the bowl until you feel it hit the clog. Snakes are usually around 25 feet in length, so they can reach clogs that are fairly deep, but usually, most clogs are right at the first bend or floor flange.
When you reach the clog, push the auger back and forth to dislodge the clog. Your goal is not to bring the clog to the surface, but to get it loose enough to flush down the pipe. When you think you’ve cleared the clog, or at least moved it past the bend, pull your snake out, making sure to contain any clinging debris in the toilet (or put it in a bucket beside the toilet). Flush the toilet to verify the clog is gone.
There are just some toilet clogs that resist the typical plunge and flush unblocking technique. Try these three proven methods to get rid of a stubborn clog, but if they don’t work, it may be time to call in a professional plumber to take care of the problem for you.