How to Unclog a Toilet Without a Plunger

drawing of overflowing toilet
You can clear a clogged toilet even without a plunger. Planet Flem/Getty Images

Toilets get clogged when foreign objects, like clumps of tissue, get wedged in the U-bend, causing a blockage. If you've got a plunger handy, you can use the traditional method.

However, if you find yourself without you, there are two popular methods for clearing blockages without using a plunger.


Method 1:

  1. Fill a bucket with hot water.
  2. Squirt generous amounts of dishwashing liquid, liquid soap or shampoo into the toilet bowl. You can also chop a bar of soap into small pieces and place it in the toilet bowl.
  3. Carefully pour the hot water into the toilet bowl to dissolve the liquid or bar soap. The soap should quickly begin to unclog the toilet drain by helping the clogged object start sliding down the pipes.
  4. Repeat the process, if necessary. When the water in the toilet bowl goes down, the blockage has been dislodged.
  5. Flush the toilet a few times after it's unclogged to remove any residue.


Method 2:

  1. Remove as much water from the toilet bowl as possible while wearing rubber gloves. You can do this by repeatedly filling a small container and pouring the water out into a bucket.
  2. Fill a large plastic bottle with warm water. Keeping your thumb over the top, fit the top of the bottle into the outlet at the bottom of the toilet.
  3. Remove your thumb and hold the bottle tightly with both hands. Squeeze the bottle so the water shoots out into the toilet drain. The pressure should dislodge the clog. It's a good idea to wear a mask and eye protection while doing this, in case the water splashes.
  4. Pour hot water into the toilet bowl; if the water level goes down, the clog has cleared.
  5. Repeat steps 2, 3 and 4 if necessary.
  6. Carefully pour about 3 quarts (2.84 liters) of boiled water into the toilet bowl to clean out the residue. Let the water sit for about 15 to 20 minutes, until it cools down. Now you're ready to flush the toilet [source: The Family Handyman].