Alternative to a Toilet Snake

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Unplugging a clogged toilet can sometimes be done with common household items.
Unplugging a clogged toilet can sometimes be done with common household items. (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

If you have a seriously clogged toilet, a toilet snake is one of your best options to resolve the problem. However, toilet snakes are messy, take up a lot of room and can be difficult to use if you're not used to them. Try these alternatives to help you resolve your plumbing emergency before you turn to the snake.

Plunger

Sometimes, a plunger is all you need to unclog a toilet. The problem is that if you don't use it correctly, it will not be effective. Make sure the plunger creates a good seal around the toilet. You should feel resistance when you push down on it. Push down slowly until the plunger is pushed down as far as it can go. Next, pull up swiftly to try to unclog your pipes.

Boiling Water

Hot water is useful for clearing out clogged pipes. Start by trying a bucket full of hot water that you get from the tub or tap. If that doesn't work, boil some water and try that instead. Be careful to avoid splashing water when you pour hot water into the toilet. To increase the odds of this method working, try squirting some dish soap into the toilet and allowing it to sit for a few minutes before you pour in the boiling water.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

That trick students use for creating volcanoes in science class also helps to unclog toilets. Pour the better part of one box of baking soda into the bowl. Next, slowly pour in vinegar. Let the reaction occur, and add more vinegar over time to make sure all the baking soda reacts. Leave the vinegar to sit for approximately eight hours. If the clog isn't clear on its own after this, try plunging again, as the vinegar and baking soda can make a clog easier to unplug.

Commercial Products

Compressed-air drain unclogging products force clogs out of drains. These products have a handle similar to a plunger and a charge of compressed air that fires down the drain in an effort to blast the clog out, and they can be quite effective. Alternatively, liquid drain cleaning products can also be poured down the drain and will dissolve many clogs made of biodegradable material. Foreign objects such as toys that children have thrown into a toilet will not be affected by a liquid drain cleaner.

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