What You Should Do When a Toilet Gets Clogged

Updated October 5th, 2021

When a toilet clogs, it will not always break down on its own. Most of the time, the clog won’t clear by itself. If you do not address a clog, you will risk a messy overflow the next time you flush. We’ve all been there. You hit the flush and up rises the water. It’s an awful feeling.

If the clog is from organic waste or biodegradable material, it’s sitting in water and will certainly degrade. How much time it needs to do that, however, can vary. A lot of people don’t want to wait. It can take up to 24 hours for a clog to break down. It’s much more efficient and reasonable to try another method on this list.

When a toilet is clogging, again and again, it’s time to call a plumber. Sometimes, the clog is too far in the pipeline for you to address. Other times, the clog is not something that would normally be in the toilet, like a small children’s toy. In these instances, call a plumber.

Letting clogs happen isn’t recommended and could seriously damage your plumbing, depending on what’s causing it. Before things worsen, here are the solutions you can use as a guide for what to do when a toilet is clogged.

Do Not Flush Again

If this is your first clogged toilet, do not flush again. If you do, it will most certainly overflow. If the water is rising and is in the process of overflowing, a quick solution is to go into the toilet tank and push the flapper down. This will instantly cut off the flow of water into the toilet and is a way to immediately shut down a filling toilet while you plan out your next move.

Plunge Your Toilet

There are lots of ways to unclog a toilet. The fastest and certainly the cheapest way to do it is to just plunge. Take a plunger and plunge away a clog until what’s clogging the line has been pushed through. There are lots of reasons why a toilet can clog. If you’re comfortable knowing what it is and that it’s safe to push it through, a plunger is a fast solution.

Baking Soda & Vinegar

Sometimes in combination with plunging, you might use a natural toilet declogging method. Pouring a cup of baking soda and then a cup of vinegar into your toilet. Letting that solution sit for twenty minutes can help break down some types of clogs. You can use this with or without plunging. Though this works in some cases, with other clogs, it will not.

Hot Water & Dish Soap

Hot water and dish soap is another natural way to unclog a toilet. Pour some dish soap into the toilet. Then, heat up the water. You don’t want it boiling, but extremely hot waterworks. Carefully pour the water into the toilet bowl and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Combined with the dish soap, this should help soften the clog and hopefully allow it to go through.


Bleach is a risky method to try to solve a clogged toilet. How this is done is by pouring 3-4 cups of bleach into the toilet bowl and leave it for twenty minutes. While this can clear up some types of clogs, bleach is a chemical. It should never be mixed with other chemicals. If you try the bleach method and it doesn’t work, what else you can do is very limited because you don’t want chemicals to interact.

Wire Hanger

For decades, families have used untangled wire hangers as a cheap DIY way to unclog a toilet and truthfully, while it works, it can get a little messy. The downside is the wire can scratch the porcelain. Prodding the toilet hole with a hanger can loosen up whatever’s in the pipeline preventing a flush. However, an alternative is to buy a toilet snake, which does the same thing sans damaging the toilet bowl. Let this be your last resort.

Chemical Drain Cleaner

Chemical drain cleaners work by initiating a chemical reaction in the pipe. This can often cause heat which is why some plumbers ask for households to avoid them. With certain clogs, the chemical reaction will result in heat build-up in a specific area leading to the porcelain toilet cracking. This is rare, however. Chemical drain cleaners have come a long way in recent years. Many eco-friendly options can be used quite safely.

You will know you’ve cleared a clog through any of these all-natural toilet unclogging methods when the water goes down or when you hear a suction sound in the toilet. If you see water draining or a suction sound, you know there’s water travelling outward and presumably with whatever material that was clogging it. For some of these natural ways to fix a clog, you may want to repeat it a second time to ensure the clog is fully gone.

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