The Most Effective Methods to Unclog a Toilet

The best method to unclog a toilet depends on what caused the clog and how bad the clog is. If you can take care of the clog yourself, you can save money by not having to call a plumber. Unclogging a toilet isn't difficult, but it may be unpleasant and time consuming.


For simple clogs, using a toilet plunger is the most simple method of unclogging. Just place the plunger in the bowl at an angle so no air gets trapped underneath and form a solid seal with the plunger against the hole in the bottom of the toilet. Plunge firmly, anywhere from 1 to 20 times depending on how bad the clog is. take care not to use excessive pressure while plunging, as this can damage the toilet bowl.

Dish Soap and Hot Water

If you don't have a plunger handy, put a couple of squirts of biodegradable dish soap into the toilet bowl. Let the soap sit in there for several hours, then pour hot water in the toilet and flush. The soap should help loosen anything causing the clog and the hot water will wash it away.

Wire Hanger

For tougher clogs, use a wire hanger. Simply unbend a wire hanger and slowly inset one end into the toilet, gently pushing it until it meets with resistance and either pushes the clog along or use the end of the wire to pull whatever is clogging the toilet out. Be very careful when using a wire hanger for this purpose, however, as it could scratch your toilet bowl.

Toilet Snake

In some cases, a toilet snake may be needed. These can be found at many home supply stores. It is used in much the same way as the wire hanger, except that it can reach farther. To use, insert the end of the snake into toilet and unwind it. When the snake hits something, wind the snake up and remove the clog, then repeat of necessary. Toilet snakes work especially well for removing items accidentally flushed down the toilet. For example when a toddler flushes a sock or toy.

When to Call a Professonal

If you have tried all of the methods above and the clog still persists, it may be time to call a plumber for help. It's also a good idea to call if you are nervous about doing this yourself or you're worried about the condition or age of your pipes.