When most people find themselves faced with a clogged toilet, the first thing they do is reach for the trusty rubber plunger. Sometimes, however, we may find ourselves in a situation where a plunger just isn't available, in which case we'll need to take alternative measures to get the toilet working again. Fortunately, removing clogs can easily be done with just a few household items and a little patience.

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Homemade Toilet Plunger

Making a DIY Plunger

Plungers work by forming a seal around a drain to create suction, which clears the blockage. If you don't have a plunger on hand, you can create a temporary device with a string mop, a plastic grocery bag and a zip tie or rubber band. To make your DIY plunger, place a plastic shopping bag over the mop head so that all of the strings are covered. Then, use a zip tie, rubber band or something similar to tie the bag onto the handle, just under the base of the mop head. Flush the toilet so that water fills the bowl, and insert the bag-covered mop head into the hole at the bottom of the toilet. Use up and down motions to loosen the material, much like you would a regular plunger, and continue until the water gets sucked down into the hole.

You can also make a homemade plunger with a plastic bottle. Start by removing as much water from the bowl as you can, then fill a plastic bottle, such as a 1-liter, with warm water. Use your finger to plug the top of the bottle and insert it upside down into the bowl so that the tip of the bottle is inside the hole at the bottom of the toilet. Remove your thumb and allow the water from the bottle to create pressure, which can push the clog through the pipe.

Plunger Alternatives

If you don't have a plunger on hand, or can't make a homemade plunger right away, don't fret! There are plenty of home remedies for clogged toilets that don't involve plunging at all. One way is to straighten a wire hanger and push one end into the pipe to dislodge what's clogging it. Alternatively, create a science project to unclog your toilet. Simply add one part baking soda and two parts vinegar to the toilet bowl and allow it to fizz before flushing it through the pipe with hot water.

Things to Keep in Mind

If your makeshift plunger methods don't seem to be doing the trick after several tries, don't overdo it. Some clogs will require a plunger or an auger to get the toilet to properly function, so if your DIY tricks aren't getting the job done, head to the store at your first opportunity and get yourself the proper tools. If you can't rid your toilet of clogs with a store-bought plunger, call a plumber to asses the situation and prevent possible further damage.

Additionally, the best way to rid your toilet of clogs is to prevent them in the first place. Don't flush anything other than toilet paper down the toilet drain, and this includes paper towels, baby wipes and feminine hygiene products. Clean your toilet bowl regularly to ensure proper hygiene and health for you and your toilet bowl.