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How to Unclog a Toilet When a Plunger Doesn’t Work?

Dealing with a clogged toilet can be a nightmare, especially when the faithful plunger fails to do the job. Then how to unclog a toilet when a plunger doesn’t work?

There are several easy and effective ways to unclog a toilet without a plunger. To unclog the toilet, you can try hot water and dish soap, vinegar and baking soda, plumbing snake, chemical drain cleaners, etc.

But do you know how to use these alternative methods successfully? We’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of these techniques in the following discussion. So, let’s dive in!

unblock badly blocked toilet without plunger

How To Unclog A Toilet When A Plunger Doesn’t Work?

Fortunately, there are several methods you can try to unclog your toilet if the plunger doesn’t help. The methods are described below.

1. Hot Water And Dish Soap

If the toilet is clogged and the plunger isn’t working, the first method you can try is using hot water and dish soap tactic. Here’s what you need to do:

  • First, pour a few cups of warm water into the toilet bowl. Make sure you don’t add boiling water.
  • Now add a few drops of dish soap to the water.
  • Mix water and dish soap and allow the mixture to sit for at least 10 minutes to let the soap break down the blockage.
  • Use a toilet brush to gently agitate the mixture and see if the blockage starts to break up.
  • Next, pour a bucket of warm water into the toilet and let it drain.
  • Lastly, flush the toilet to see if the blockage has gone.

2. Vinegar And Baking Soda

This unclogging method is similar to the hot water and dish soap methods. But in this technique, baking soda is your powerful dissolving agent. Here’s how to use this method:

  • Add one cup of baking soda and two cups of vinegar to the toilet bowl. Be careful while adding vinegar, as it’ll create bubbles that may overflow the bowl.
  • Let the mixture sit for about 25 minutes to allow the reaction between baking soda and vinegar to break down the blockage.
  • Use a toilet brush and gently shove the mixture into the drain tailpiece if necessary.
  • After 25-30 minutes, pour a bucket of warm water into the toilet.
  • Lastly, flush the toilet and check whether the toilet is unclogged.

3. Plumbing Snake

Don’t worry if the above two toilet unclogging methods don’t work. Another option is to use a plumbing snake. A plumbing snake is a long, flexible tool that can be inserted into the toilet drain to help break up and remove clogs.

Besides, if the clog is deep inside the drain tailpiece, this method is more beneficial than the other two methods. Follow the steps below to use the plumbing snake efficiently.

  • Place a snake into the toilet drain.
  • Turn the plumbing snake handle to push it down the drain.
  • If you find any resistance, turn the handle to break up the blockage.
  • Keep turning and shoving the handle and moving the plumbing snake until the blockage is removed.
  • You may need to continue the process for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Finally, flush the toilet, and you should see the blockage is completely cleared.

4. Squirt Gun Drainer

This method is relatively easy and quick. A squirt gun drainer is a small plastic tool. It works by shooting water inside the drain tailpiece, which helps dislodge the clog. Here’s how to use a squirt gun drainer to unclog the toilet:

  • First, fill warm water into the squirt gun.
  • Now aim the tool at the toilet drain.
  • Squirt warm water into the drain. It releases water with a high pressure that helps to dislodge the clog.
  • Lastly, flush the toilet, and it should fix the clogging problem.

5. Chemical Drain Cleaners

Some chemical-based products are specially manufactured for removing clogs from draining systems. For example, Green Gobbler Main Drain Opener, Drano Dual-Force Clog Remover, etc.

However, you should keep chemical drain cleaners as the last method, as these cleaners can be harmful when not used accurately.

Also, you should always read the directions on the product label before using it. Make sure to follow the instructions precisely to avoid skin irritation and use it correctly. Here’s how to use it:

  • First, wear a pair of gloves and safety glasses (if possible) to protect your skin from irritation.
  • Read the label and slowly pour the recommended amount of chemical cleaner into the toilet bowl.
  • Let the chemical solution sit in the bowl for at least 20 to 30 minutes or the time recommended on the label.
  • After that, flush several times to make sure both the clog and the remaining chemical drain cleaner are removed.

Seek Help From Professionals

If the toilet clog is stubborn, you probably will not be able to unclog your toilet by implementing the above methods. You may need more effective and advanced tools for unclogging the toilet.

Generally, those advanced tools can be expensive and tricky to use. That’s why it would be wise to contact a professional to solve the problem without further damage.

They have the required tools, experience, and skills to do such kinds of tasks.


Here are some commonly asked questions by people regarding how to unclog a toilet if the plunger doesn’t help:

Q. How long can you leave a clogged toilet?

It’s okay to leave your clogged toilet overnight. However, water can leak from the pipe if you leave a clogged toilet for a long time. So it’s better to take action quickly.

Q. Is it OK to flush a clogged toilet?

You must avoid flushing a clogged toilet more than once. If you keep flushing, water can overflow the bowl. Consequently, you’ll end up having a messy and smellier toilet.

Q. What is the strongest thing to unclog a toilet?

Caustic soda is a strong chemical option for unclogging toilets. It literally burns the clogged elements and cleans the tailpiece. Make sure you use eye protectors and rubber gloves while working with this chemical soda agent.


So, how to unclog a toilet when a plunger doesn’t work? You have multiple methods to try before calling a professional and saving some money. These methods include dish soap, vinegar and baking soda, plumbing snake, squirt gun, and chemical cleaners.

However, remember that you should not use vinegar and baking soda methods after using chemical drain cleaners and vice versa. It can damage the drain tailpiece and cause health problems if you inhale these chemicals.