Home Remedies for Unclogging Toilets

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Did Junior toss a toy into the toilet, again? A clogged toilet is a disaster waiting to happen. Once you get an accumulation of gunk, paper, and other substances in the pipes – the water will flow onto your bathroom floors – literally causing quite a stink. To stop the problem before it gets any worse, you may want to try home remedies for unclogging toilets before calling a plumber.

What’s in a Toilet Tank?

The major plumbing in your toilet takes place in the tank, which holds the water needed to flush the toilet and accommodate the plumbing apparatus that fills and empties the tank. The components inside of the tank differ from one toilet to the next. The two major components of a toilet that you may encounter are a fill valve and flush valve.

The fill valve is the mechanism responsible for filling the tank with water. It is also called a ballcock valve or refill valve. There are four different variations of the fill valve: plunger, float cup, diaphragm, and floatless. The flush valve is what releases the water that has been stored in the tank. It closes the flow of water into the toilet and make sure the tank is refilled for the next time you want to use it.

To make sure the toilet tank and other parts of the system work properly, it is important to note the things that can actually go into a toilet. Toilet paper, human waste, water, rock salt, and chemicals for drains are the other things you should put into the toilet.

Clogged Toilet Home Remedies

A professional plumber may charge you an arm and a leg for fixing your toilet if it gets jammed with baby wipes, paper toilets and other materials not meant for the pipes of your plumbing system. In an attempt to save money, you can try some of the following home remedies for a clogged toilet before making that expensive call:

a) Turn Off the Water:

If flushing once reveals that you have a clogged toilet – turn off the water at the source so no more water has a chance to fill the tank or bowl. Some people will also tap the backside of the bowl to jostle the clog.

b) Boiling Hot Water:

Fill a bucket with very hot tap water or boil a pot over the stove. Pour the hot water quickly into the bowl. Sometimes, the hot water will dissolve enough of the clog so that it becomes loosened. Other times, it is the change in water pressure that can force a clog through – the motion of the poured water into the bowl can jostle the clog.

c) Metal Coat Hanger [1]:

To unclog a toilet with a foreign object, use a straightened out coat hanger to fish out the damage. Untwist the end of a metal coat hanger and unbend it until you have a long piece of metal. Insert the hanger into the drain of the toilet – bending into the shape you need, if necessary. Move the hanger around to dislodge any items that may have become trapped in the toilet.

d) Plunger:

One of the most common ways to solve a clogged toilet is to use a plunger. Put the plunger cup directly over the drain hole, and push down repeatedly using the handle of the plunger. If the drain unclogs, pour a cleansing agent down the drain to help flush out any remaining particles.

e) Small Plastic Container:

To lessen the splishes and splashes of plunging a toilet, empty excess water in the bowl using a small plastic container. Don’t forget to leave enough liquid at the bottom to completely cover the opening. Place the plunger right over the hole and press down to create good suction. Thrust down the plunger five to ten times, and then release to see if the water goes down the drain. If needed, repeat the process.

f) Baking Soda and Vinegar:

A good way to remove lingering particles that can reclog a toilet, pour a mixture of ½ cup baking soda and ½ cup vinegar down the clogged drain. Let the mixture sit in the drain for several minutes, and then rinse with hot water. Repeat the process if necessary.

g) Hydrogen Peroxide:

You can use hydrogen peroxide to unclog a drain by pouring ¼ cup down the toilet. Let the peroxide stand for a couple of minutes before pouring a pot of boiling hot water down the drain. For stubborn cblogs, you may need to repeat or use the wire method to loosen contents stuck in the drain.

h) Dish Detergent:

After adding 1/3 cup of dish soap into the toilet bowl, bowl a pot of boiling water into the bowl. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes to one hour, and then flush the toilet. Before attempting this remedy, you need to turn off the water source and remove excess water from the bowl. You may have to repeat for stubborn clogs.

i) Rubber Gloves:

Depending on the substance or object clogging your toilet drain, it could be as simple as putting on a pair of very long rubber gloves and pulling out the culprit. You never know when a child’s toy within your reach is causing all the problems. Before trying this home remedy, remove excess water until it is barely covering the drain. This will create less of a mess.

j) Baking Soda, Table Salt and Cream of Tartar:

To unclog a toilet, a mixture of ½ cup baking soda, two tablespoons cream of tartar, and ½ cup table salt can help. Pour this remedy down the toilet bowl. Add two cups of boiling water, and shut the lid of the toilet. Wait at least two hours before flushing.


[1] Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things by Reader’s Digest; pg. 129.