How to Unclog a Toilet – DIY Tips for Homeowners

Save Money on a Plumber - Follow These 5 Best Methods to Unclog Toilets

As a builder and having worked with Plumbers for years, I know how frustrating it can be for homeowners to unclog a Toilet. It’s a common issue that can happen to anyone, and learning how to handle it properly is vitally important.

These are the 5 Best Methods to Learn How to Unclog a Toilet – Just like the Pros.

Common Causes of Clogged Toilets

Before we dive into the tips, it’s essential to understand the common causes of a clogged toilet.

These are the most common causes of toilet clogs:

  • Flushing too much toilet paper,
  • Flushing non-degradable items like baby or personal wipes and feminine hygiene products
  • Flushing items like cotton balls and Q-tip swabs can get caught in the pipes.

It’s also important to remember that toilets can become clogged due to plumbing or sewer line issues. So, it’s always a good idea to call a professional plumber if you’re experiencing frequent clogs or toilet issues.

The Best Tools to Use for Unclogging a Toilet

When unclogging a toilet, having the right tools is essential. These are the most important tools to have when you need to unblock your toilet:

  • Toilet Plunger
  • Toilet Drain Cleaner
  • Auger (plumbing snake)
  • Wet/Dry Vacuum

How to Unclog a Toilet:  The 5 Best Methods

1) Use Toilet Plunger to Unclog a Toilet

Using toilet plunger - best home gear
Using Plunger to Unclog Toilet

A Toilet plunger is one of the most common and practical tools for unclogging a toilet. From experience, we recommend the combo toilet plunger and toilet brush from Mr. Siga .

However, other tools, such as a Drain Auger (plumbing snake below), can be just as effective.

The Best Way to Plunge a Toilet:

Knowing the proper technique is essential when using a plunger to unclog a toilet. First, make sure the plunger is completely submerged in water.

Next, create a tight seal around the toilet bowl with the plunger. Then, push down and pull up on the plunger quickly and steadily but not too forcefully. Repeat this process several times until the clog is cleared.

Note: If 4-5 uses of the toilet plunger do not clear the obstruction, stop.  Wait 5 minutes and resume 4-5 plunges again. 

If you cannot clear the obstruction, use a Drain Cleaner overnight and try again. 

How to Unclog a Toilet “Without a Plunger”:

If you don’t have a plunger on hand, don’t worry. There are still ways to unclog a toilet without one.

The best method to unclog a toilet without a plunger is to pour Toilet Drain Cleaner into the toilet bowl – specifically designed to dissolve excess tissue paper and solid waste.

Another method is to use everyday household products such as hot water and dish soap. Pour hot water into the toilet bowl, followed by a few squirts of dish soap (we recommend Dawn Dish Soap). Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes or longer, then flush the toilet.

A third method to unclog a toilet is to use a Wire Coat Hanger. Straighten out the hanger and use it to loosen and remove the clog.

Note:  Be careful not to scratch the porcelain finish on the toilet bowl. To do this, secure a small piece of duct tape around the end you will fish into the toilet bowl.

2). Use a “Drain Auger” to Unclog a Toilet

Using Auger to Unclog a Toilet
Using a “Closet Auger” to Unblock Toilet –

A drain auger may be the solution if you have a stubborn clog that can’t be cleared with a plunger.

When using a manual closet auger, Insert the drill into the toilet bowl and turn the handle clockwise. Keep turning the handle until you feel resistance, then loosen the clog by turning the handle counterclockwise.

Continue this process until the clog is cleared.

An Auger is a long, flexible tool that can reach deep into the pipes to break up and remove clogs. Professional plumbers use more expensive motorized snake augers like Populo, including an electric motor and 25′ auger snake, to reach long expanses of toilet drain lines.

Electric Augers cost under $100 – Watch the Populo Drain Auger Video.


If you would like a less expensive “Closet Auger,” a shorter manual 3′-0 Auger, such as those offered by Cobra, can also be efficient for minor clogs.

3). Use A “Wet/Dry Vacuum” To Unclog Toilet

Use Wet Dry Vac for Toilet Clogs - BestHomeGear.Com
Wet Dry Vacuum for Toilet Clogs

While not our first choice, Another tool that can work in a pinch to remove stubborn toilet clogs is a Wet/Dry Vacuum. 

Important: when using a wet/dry vacuum to remove water, first remove the paper HEPA filter from the inside of the waste container.  It’s usually mounted to the motor.

Also, when using a wet vacuum to unclog a toilet, pay close attention to the sound of the motor.  If the engine is straining, you will hear it and need to shut it off immediately.

A laboring wet vac means it isn’t strong enough to remove the obstruction from the toilet, or there is an obstruction plugging the vacuum hose.

4). Use Baking Soda and Vinegar for a Clogged Toilet:

Baking soda and vinegar can be a powerful combination for unclogging a toilet. Start by pouring a cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl. Next, add a cup of vinegar. The mixture will start to foam and bubble.

Let it sit for 10-15 minutes, then flush the toilet. This method can be effective for mild to moderate clogs.

5). Use Safe Drain Cleaner (Liquid) For Clogs

should you use drain cleaner for toilet - best home gear
Using Drain Cleaner to Unclog Toilet –

When soap, hot water, vinegar, and baking soda don’t cut through your toilet clog, you can also buy safe and effective drain cleaners such as Green Gobbler drain dissolver, capable of dissolving hair, personal wipes, or other gunk in your toilet bowl.  

“never use extreme force While using a plunger. If you do, you risk forcing toilet water past the wax ring of the toilet bowl and onto the bathroom floor.

Quick Tips: How to Prevent Toilet Clogs

Prevention is vital when it comes to toilet clogs. Some tips to prevent clogs include flushing only toilet paper and human waste, avoiding flushing non-degradable items, and reducing the amount of toilet paper used.

It’s also important to remember to clean the toilet regularly with toilet bowl cleaner to prevent buildup.

When to Call a Professional Plumber for Help with Toilet Clog:

While many toilet clogs can be cleared with DIY methods, sometimes it’s best to call a professional plumber for help.

If you’re sure your household isn’t disposing of the wrong materials down your toilets, and you are experiencing frequent clogs, the issue may be with the plumbing system or sewer line.

A professional plumber can diagnose and fix the issue quickly and efficiently.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the Fastest Way to Unclog a Toilet? 

The fastest way to unclog a toilet is by using a Toilet Plunger.  Toilet plungers are handy, practical, and often kept near a bathroom.

Is Drain Cleaner Safe to Use in Toilets

Some drain cleaners are considered safe for use in toilets and sewer pipes. These are Eco-Friendly and Enzyme-based drain cleaners, such as Green Gobbler and Flow-Zymer. 

However, harsh drain cleaners can destroy PVC toilet plumbing, which is very costly to replace.

What Types of Materials Clog Toilets? 

Too much toilet paper is the most common reason for clogging toilets. Next, and perhaps more serious – is when flushing personal/baby wipes or feminine products down a toilet.


In conclusion, unclogging a toilet can be a frustrating (or disgusting) experience, but it can also be a simple process with the right tools and knowledge.

Fixing a toilet yourself can also be rewarding. Plumbers typically charge between $150 and $200 to unclog a toilet.

Remember to learn and understand the common causes of a clogged toilet, use the right tools for the job, and practice prevention to avoid future clogs. And if all else fails, don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber for help 🙂

References & Additional Resources

Kevin Carroll
Kevin Carroll
Kevin is the author and editor for Best Home Gear, and uses his 25+ years experience in Commercial and Residential Construction Management to author and publish the work for this website. In addition to publishing Best Home Gear; Kevin enjoys the outdoors in Michigan and Arizona, hiking, cycling, fishing, golf, and completing DIY projects at his Home and Garden.

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Author and Publisher for Best Home Gear

Kevin is the Author, and Publisher @ Best Home Gear, which he began In 2018.

As a Professional in Construction, Real Estate and Property Management, Kevin uses that experience to publish Useful Articles, and help homeowners improve (DIY) their own homes, lawns, and outdoor spaces.

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