How to Fix a Clogged Toilet

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Proper plunging techniques help fix many toilet clogs.
Proper plunging techniques help fix many toilet clogs. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

A clogged toilet will often unclog relatively easily with a plumbing snake, a plunger and basic household supplies. Some severe clogs may require a plumber, but most clogs near the opening of the toilet drain do not. If a clog does not come out with a plumber's snake, the next step is to plunge it. If plunging does not remove the clog, a homemade drain cleaner should help loosen it. If none of these methods work, the clog might be deep in the house's pipes and require a visit from a plumber.

Things You'll Need

  • Plumber's snake
  • Toilet plunger
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Boiling water

Gently insert a plumber's snake, a clean-out auger or another flexible tool into the toilet to remove or loosen the clog. Most clogs are near the top of the toilet drain, close to the toilet bowl, so the tool should not have to go very far down the drain. Wiggle the tool to poke or loosen the clog. If you do not have a tool to stick in the toilet, or if a plumber's snake does not remove the clog, skip this step and try to remove the clog by plunging it.

Turn off the water flow to the toilet before plunging if the toilet seems like it might overflow during plunging.

Put a plunger into the toilet bowl and hold it so that the rubber end covers the drain opening in the toilet. Add water to the toilet, if necessary, so that water covers the rubber cup of the plunger.

Push the plunger down slowly to push the air out of the plunger cup. Push the plunger up and down, keeping the rubber part completely over the drainage hole in the toilet. The idea is to force water in and out of the drainage hole to loosen any clogs. Plunge the toilet until the water level drops, indicating a clear drain. If the water level never drops, move to Step 8 to create a homemade drain cleaner.

Flush the toilet to move the previously stuck material out of the pipes and to make sure that the toilet works properly.

Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda into the toilet if the toilet still does not work properly after plunging. Add 1 cup of vinegar to the toilet.

Let the mixture sit in the toilet and foam for at least five minutes. The foaming baking soda and vinegar should help dissolve the clog.

Pour 1 gallon of boiling water into the toilet. Let the hot water sit in the toilet for about a minute to loosen the clog even more.

Plunge the toilet again.

Tips & Warnings

  • Sterilize a plunger that has been in a toilet before using it on a sink or any other drains.

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