How to Unclog Toilet When Nothing Works:- Nearly everyone has dealt with a clogged toilet at some point, whether it’s caused by flushing toilet paper or something else. Clearing a clogged toilet can be an unpleasant task, and while some elbow grease might resolve minor issues, stubborn blockages require additional solutions. Here are several tips on how to unclog a toilet when nothing seems to work:
The main methods for unclogging a toilet when other approaches fail include:
- Use a plunger
- Use a baking soda and vinegar mixture
- Use dish soap and hot water
- Use a plumbing snake
- Use a wire coat hanger
- Use an enzyme product
- Suck out the clog with a wet and dry vacuum cleaner
- Use a chemical drain cleaner
Before delving into the details of each method, it’s important to understand how clogs form in the first place.
What Causes a Clogged Toilet: Identifying the Source of the Clog
If your toilet keeps clogging, there are several possible reasons for this issue. The problem could be with the toilet itself, your drain lines, or the items being flushed.
Typically, clogs are related to what goes down the toilet, the toilet design, or your plumbing system. Here are some common reasons your toilet keeps clogging:
- Your sewer line is clogged.
- The toilet vent is obstructed.
- The toilet trap is blocked.
- You use excessive toilet paper.
- You flush items that shouldn’t be flushed.
- Your toilet is an older model.
Here’s a brief overview of each cause and how to address them:
Older Low-Flow Toilets
If your home has an older low-flow toilet model, this could be the main reason for frequent clogs. Some older low-flow toilets don’t provide enough pressure to consistently push waste through the trap and drain. Insufficient flushing pressure leaves material behind, leading to frequent clogging.
Solutions for Unclogging Older Low-Flow Toilets
The most effective way to eliminate recurring clogs due to inadequate flushing pressure is to replace your older low-flow toilet.
First-generation low-flow toilets, introduced in the mid-1990s, are more prone to clogging issues. If your toilet is an older model, consider investing in a newer low-flow toilet to improve flush pressure and reduce clogs.
However, if a replacement isn’t within your budget, try minimizing the amount of material, such as toilet paper, being flushed to help prevent clogs.
Flushing Non-Flushable Items
Toilets are designed to handle only toilet paper and human waste. Flushing other types of paper or hygiene products can cause clogs, as they are not meant to be disposed of in toilets.
This common issue affects homes of all types. Many homeowners have misconceptions about what can and cannot be flushed. A prime example is “flushable” wipes, which are often disapproved of by plumbers.
Some people develop habits of flushing all bathroom waste, such as cotton balls and Q-tips, causing frequent clogs. Non-flushable items are typical clog hazards that homeowners should be aware of, particularly those with curious children.
Solution for Flushing Non-Flushable Items
If a clog forms due to flushing non-flushable items, you can use a flange plunger to address the issue. If that doesn’t work, try a toilet auger to break down materials and clear the toilet.
Remind your family members of what should and shouldn’t go down the toilet. Teach young children that the toilet is not a play area, and their toys and other belongings must never be flushed!
Excessive Toilet Paper Use
Toilet paper is designed to be flushed without causing clogs, but overusing it can still lead to problems.
Using excessive amounts of toilet paper prevents proper disintegration, causing it to stick to the toilet and create clogs.
Furthermore, some two-ply toilet paper varieties don’t disintegrate well, leading to clogging. Although toilet paper provides convenience, it can also cause issues if not used responsibly.
Solution for Unclogging a Toilet Trap
To unclog a toilet trap, begin by using a flange plunger. This type of plunger is specifically designed for toilets, featuring a unique shape that fits snugly into the toilet bowl’s opening. Apply forceful, focused plunges to help dislodge any blockage in the trap.
If plunging doesn’t work, you can try using a toilet auger. Insert the auger’s flexible cable into the toilet bowl and rotate the handle clockwise to break up any blockage. Be careful not to scratch the bowl’s surface.
Another option is to use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Pour one cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl, followed by one cup of vinegar. Let the mixture sit for at least 30 minutes before flushing to help dissolve any blockage.
Regularly clean your toilet to prevent buildup and clogs in the trap. Educate your family members about what should and shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet, and remind them to use a reasonable amount of toilet paper.
By addressing clogs in the toilet trap and practicing proper toilet usage, you can keep your toilet functioning smoothly and prevent frequent clogging.
Clearing a Blocked Toilet Trap
Firstly, if you suspect a blockage in your toilet’s S-shaped trap, attempt to plunge the toilet to dislodge the clog. For best results, use a flanged toilet plunger to push water through the trap and remove the blockage.
However, if plunging proves ineffective, consider using a toilet auger as an alternative. Carefully insert the auger into the toilet drain and advance it until you encounter resistance.
In case you feel resistance just beyond the toilet bowl’s drain, a clog is likely present in the trap. Consequently, rotate the auger to break up the clog material and grasp it firmly to extract any excess debris.
Lastly, if these methods fail to unclog your toilet trap, explore the more effective techniques we’ll cover below. Alternatively, for a quick solution and if your budget allows, contact a professional plumber for drain cleaning services.
Clogged Toilet Vent Issues
Interestingly, your home’s toilets connect to a vent that typically exits through the roof. This toilet vent allows fresh air into the plumbing system, enhancing flush pressure.
However, when a toilet vent gets blocked, the toilet experiences reduced flushing pressure. Consequently, the toilet clogs frequently, and constant clogs become a problem. Moreover, a clogged toilet vent can lead to other household issues, such as indoor sewer odors, slow drainage in the entire home, and gurgling sounds from the toilet.
Clearing a Blocked Toilet Vent
Typically, toilet vents become blocked at the roof opening or where they connect to your home’s sewer line. If you suspect a clogged toilet vent causes persistent clogging, start by examining your roof.
Safely use a ladder and a spotter to access your home’s roof and locate the toilet vent, which is usually above your primary bathroom.
Next, remove the vent cap to check for any debris inside the vent. Reach in and carefully remove any accessible debris to clear the obstruction.
Nonetheless, if water overflows from the vent opening, it indicates that the blockage hasn’t passed through the line.
Additionally, consider using a toilet auger in your toilet vent. Ensure the auger is at least twenty feet long, or it might not reach the vent/sewer line connection. Rotate the auger to break up the blockage and then remove it.
Afterward, pour water down the toilet vent to verify if the obstruction is cleared. If water keeps backing up, it’s essential to contact a plumber to resolve the issue.
Blocked Sewer Line Issues
Occasionally, blockages may exit individual drain lines and plumbing fixtures but become trapped in the main sewer line. Sewer line clogs can cause drainage problems throughout the house and are challenging to resolve independently.
External factors like sewer line infiltrations, breaks, and tree root penetrations can also lead to clogged sewer lines. These issues often result in persistent clogging, as they affect the plumbing and drainage systems’ ability to remove waste from your home. Sewer line repairs are necessary in such cases.
Addressing Clogged Sewer Line
Unfortunately, dealing with sewer line clogs typically requires a plumber’s expertise. Neglecting these clogs can cause continuous toilet clogging and, eventually, more significant damage to your home’s plumbing system. If you suspect a sewer line clog, it’s crucial to contact a plumber and schedule drain cleaning services.
Essential Tools for Unclogging a Stubborn Toilet
A clogged toilet can be a significant inconvenience, but we have step-by-step instructions on how to unclog a toilet when nothing works.
Before you begin, gather the following tools and materials to unclog your toilet:
- Plumbing Snake
- Dishwashing Soap
- Wire Coat Hanger
- Enzyme Products
- Wet and Dry Vacuum
- Plunger or Suction Cup
- Chemical Drain Cleaner
- Baking Soda and Vinegar
- Hot Water or Boiling Water
Conveniently, you may already have many of these items at home. If not, don’t worry; we’ve included our trusted product recommendations throughout the article.
Before calling a plumber, give these tools a try, particularly if you’re on a tight budget!
8 Top Solutions for Unclogging a Toilet When Nothing Works
Clogged toilets are a common headache for homeowners. When on a tight budget, hiring a plumber can be costly. That’s why learning to unclog your toilet is crucial. Here are eight effective solutions for stubborn toilet clogs:
- Use a plunger
- Mix baking soda and vinegar
- Combine dish soap and hot water
- Utilize a plumbing snake
- Employ a wire coat hanger
- Apply an enzyme product
- Extract the clog with a wet and dry vacuum cleaner
- Use a chemical drain cleaner
- Unclog Toilet with a Plunger
A simple, inexpensive method involves using a toilet plunger or suction cup.
Unclog Toilet with Baking Soda and Vinegar Mixture
If a plunger fails, a baking soda and vinegar mixture might be an effective, inexpensive solution.
Step 1: Prepare the Materials
Gather vinegar, baking soda, cups, a bowl, or a container, and some water.
Step 2: Mix Water and Baking Soda
Combine one cup of baking soda with two cups of water in the bowl. Stir well and pour it into the toilet bowl.
Step 3: Add Vinegar
Pour two cups of vinegar into the bowl and wait for a few minutes. The vinegar will cause a bubbling reaction.
This chemical reaction helps loosen stuck materials, allowing water to flow freely. Unlike a plunger, this method can reach deeper sections of your toilet.
Step 4: Clear Residue
Boil a gallon of water and pour it into the toilet bowl to clear solution remnants. Avoid pouring hot water into the toilet tank, as it may damage the toilet flapper.
Step 5: Wait Six to Eight Hours
Allow six to eight hours before flushing the toilet. If this method doesn’t work, proceed to the next unclogging technique.
Unclog Toilet with Dish Soap and Hot Water
Surprisingly, an effective method for unclogging your toilet might be right in your kitchen: hot water and dish soap.
Step 1: Boil a Gallon of Water
Begin by boiling a gallon of water, then let it cool down until it’s warm.
Step 2: Add Dish Soap
Pour dish soap into the toilet bowl, followed by the warm water. Wait for a few minutes.
Step 3: Flush the Toilet
Flush the toilet, allowing the solution to push out any disintegrated clogs.
This straightforward method helps loosen clogs and clear the toilet pipe.
If this method doesn’t work, don’t worry; we have more options for you to try.
Unclog Toilet Using a Plumbing Snake
Having a plumbing snake, also known as a closet auger, is a useful investment for any household. It’s a flexible wire designed for cleaning toilets.
Step 1: Wear Rubber Gloves
To avoid unpleasant water splashes, wear rubber gloves.
Step 2: Insert the Closet Auger
Prepare the plumbing snake, then insert one end into the toilet. Push it down until you feel resistance.
Step 3: Push Further
Push the closet auger further while twisting it, helping to dislodge the clog. Continue until the blockage is cleared, and water flows freely.
Step 4: Flush
Flush the toilet and observe the water flow. If it’s faster, the obstruction is likely gone. If the issue persists, repeat the process or move on to the next method.
Unclog Toilet with a Wire Coat Hanger
A wire coat hanger is an inexpensive yet effective method for unclogging a toilet.
Step 1: Prepare a Wire Coat Hanger
Find a wire hanger in your house, loosen it, and straighten it out.
Step 2: Cover the Wire End with an Old Towel
To prevent scratching your porcelain toilet, cover the wire end with an old towel. Wrap the towel with duct tape to create a good seal around the hanger.
Step 3: Insert the Wire Coat Hanger
Insert the covered end of the wire hanger into the toilet, then push it into the drain while twisting it to dislodge any blockages and allow water to flow freely.
Step 4: Keep Pushing
Continue pushing, even if you don’t feel resistance. Stop when the water begins to flow again.
Step 5: Flush the Toilet
Flush the toilet to clear any remaining blockage inside the bowl.
Use an Enzyme Product
Enzyme products are designed to liquefy solid organic waste in toilets. They are an affordable option, available at local plumbing stores or online. Enzyme products are primarily used to break down waste in septic systems but can also work for toilet clogs caused by organic materials.
Here’s how to use an enzyme product to unclog your toilet:
Step 1: Read the Product Instructions
Before using an enzyme product, read the instructions to understand how to properly use it.
Step 2: Pour the Enzyme Product
Pour the recommended amount of enzyme product into the toilet bowl and wait for a few minutes for it to act on the clogs.
Step 3: Try to Flush
Flush your toilet to see if the organic waste has been broken down and the water flows easily.
If this method doesn’t work, move on to the next one!
Use a Chemical Drain Cleaner
Using a chemical drain cleaner should be considered a last resort when trying to unclog your toilet. Chemical drain cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can damage your pipes and potentially harm the environment.
Step 1: Read the Product Instructions
Before using a chemical drain cleaner, read the instructions carefully to understand how to properly use it and what precautions to take.
Step 2: Wear Protective Gear
Wear rubber gloves, a mask, and goggles to protect yourself from the chemicals in the drain cleaner.
Step 3: Pour the Drain Cleaner
Slowly pour the recommended amount of drain cleaner into the toilet bowl. Be careful not to splash it on yourself or the surrounding area.
Step 4: Wait for the Drain Cleaner to Work
Allow the drain cleaner to sit in the toilet for the recommended amount of time. This will usually be at least 15-30 minutes, but it could be longer depending on the product.
Step 5: Flush the Toilet
After waiting for the recommended time, flush the toilet to see if the clog has been cleared. If the water flows freely, the clog has been successfully removed.
If the chemical drain cleaner doesn’t work or if you’re uncomfortable using harsh chemicals, it’s time to call a professional plumber for assistance. They have the necessary tools and expertise to handle stubborn clogs and can help prevent further damage to your plumbing system.
Use Chemical Drain Cleaner to Bust the Clog up
If you have tried all the other methods mentioned above and still have a clogged toilet, it might be time to call a professional plumber.
A plumber will have the necessary tools, expertise, and experience to handle stubborn clogs and can help prevent further damage to your plumbing system. They can also provide advice on maintaining your toilet and preventing future clogs.
Remember, prevention is always better than cure. To avoid clogged toilets in the future, make sure to:
- Only flush human waste and toilet paper down the toilet.
- Do not flush items like sanitary products, baby wipes, or paper towels.
- Keep a small wastebasket near the toilet for disposing of non-flushable items.
- Regularly clean your toilet to prevent buildup and clogs.
- Educate your family members and guests on proper toilet usage and what not to flush.
By following these tips and maintaining your toilet, you can avoid dealing with clogs and keep your bathroom running smoothly.
What is the strongest thing to unclog a toilet?
The strongest method to unclog a toilet would be using a plumbing snake or closet auger. This tool is specifically designed for removing stubborn clogs in toilet drains. While it is strong and efficient, it is important to use it with caution to avoid damaging the toilet or pipes. If the clog persists after trying various methods, it is recommended to call a professional plumber to address the issue.
How do you force a toilet to unclog?
To force a toilet to unclog, try the following steps:
- Use a plunger: Place the plunger’s rubber cup over the drain hole in the toilet and apply gentle pressure. Push down firmly and pull up quickly. Repeat several times to create enough suction to dislodge the clog.
- Use a toilet snake or closet auger: Insert the auger’s end into the toilet bowl and gently push it down the drain until you feel resistance. Crank the handle to break up the clog and push it further down the drain.
- Dish soap and hot water: Pour a generous amount of dish soap into the toilet bowl, followed by a gallon of hot (but not boiling) water. Let it sit for a few minutes, then try flushing the toilet.
- Baking soda and vinegar: Pour one cup of baking soda into the toilet, followed by two cups of white vinegar. Allow the mixture to fizz and work on the clog for about 20-30 minutes. Then, pour a gallon of hot water into the toilet and try flushing.
- Chemical drain cleaner: As a last resort, use a chemical drain cleaner specifically designed for toilets. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and always take proper safety precautions, such as wearing gloves and eye protection.
If none of these methods work or if the clog persists, it’s best to call a professional plumber to address the issue.
What is the quickest way to unblock a toilet?
The quickest way to unblock a toilet is usually by using a plunger. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
- Make sure there is enough water in the toilet bowl to cover the plunger’s rubber cup. If there isn’t, add water manually until the cup is submerged.
- Place the plunger’s rubber cup over the drain hole, ensuring a tight seal is formed around the hole.
- Apply gentle pressure and push down on the plunger handle to create a vacuum, then pull up quickly. The suction created by this motion can help dislodge the clog.
- Repeat the plunging motion several times until the water in the toilet bowl starts to drain.
- Once the clog appears to have been dislodged, flush the toilet to ensure it is functioning properly.
Remember that using a plunger designed specifically for toilets (a flange plunger) is more effective in creating a proper seal and generating the necessary suction to dislodge the clog.
What chemicals unclog a toilet?
Chemical drain cleaners can be used to unclog toilets, but they should be used with caution as they can damage pipes and pose a risk to your health. Common chemicals used in drain cleaners include:
- Sodium Hydroxide (Caustic Soda): This alkali can break down clogs by turning grease and other organic materials into soap, which can then be flushed away.
- Sodium Hypochlorite (Bleach): Bleach is often mixed with caustic soda in some drain cleaners. It helps to dissolve and break down organic materials, as well as sanitize the drain.
- Hydrochloric Acid: This strong acid is capable of dissolving mineral deposits, proteins, and other organic materials, making it effective in breaking down clogs.
- Sulfuric Acid: This is another strong acid that can dissolve organic materials like grease, hair, and paper products through hydrolysis and dehydration reactions.
While these chemicals can be effective in unclogging toilets, they can also be harmful to your health, the environment, and your plumbing. It is crucial to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take proper safety precautions, such as wearing gloves, goggles, and a mask. Consider using chemical drain cleaners as a last resort, after trying mechanical methods like plunging, using a toilet auger, or natural solutions like baking soda and vinegar.