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How to Unclog Your Toilet Without a Plunger (5 Examples)

Many of us have been there, but no one wants to find themselves trying to unclog a toilet with no plunger. It’s a problematic (not to mention embarrassing) issue that can seem impossible to solve. 

But don’t worry. We’ll share plenty of ways to clear those stubborn clogs without heading to the hardware store.

Let’s learn the dos and don’ts of unclogging a toilet without a plunger. 

What Causes a Toilet to Clog?

A toilet will clog when something prevents the free flow of water and waste through the toilet into plumbing and, eventually, the sewer system or septic tank. 

Excess amounts of human waste or too much toilet tissue can cause moderate clogs. More serious ones can result from larger items or things you shouldn’t flush. 

Remember, never flush anything that doesn’t come out of your body other than toilet paper, no matter how a company markets a product. For example, flushable wet wipes can still cause clogs.

Hand trying to unclog toilet with a plunger
No plunger? No problem! You can still unclog your toilet without a plunger on hand.

Will Bleach Unclog a Toilet?

In some cases, bleach can unclog a toilet. To try it, put on protective gloves and eyewear and pour a few cups into the bowl. Give it 10 or 15 minutes to work, and then flush the toilet. 

Bleach can degrade biological substances enough to allow the natural force of your toilet to clear the remaining clog. Still, this will likely only work on light clogs. More significant ones require a more involved unclogging procedure. 

Can I Use Drano in a Toilet?

Drano is generally not recommended for use in toilets. The primary reason is that it simply doesn’t work fast enough to dissolve toilet clogs, and long-lasting exposure to the harsh chemicals in Drano can damage your toilet. 

Even worse, introducing Drano into your toilet risks harming yourself or others if it splashes while attempting other unclogging methods. Generally, you should leave the Drano out of any toilet-clearing procedures. 

Pro Tip: We uncovered The Nasty Truth of RV Composting Toilets to help you decide what type of toilet is right for you.

Little boy sitting on toilet
If you don’t have a plunger on hand, try soap, baking soda, and even hot water to fix your toilet.

How to Unclog a Toilet Without a Plunger

While a good plunger is still the simplest way to unclog a toilet, you have many alternatives if you don’t have one on hand. Try one or more of these options that rely on things nearly everyone has around. 

Unclog a Toilet with Soap

Surprisingly enough, everyday soap can work to unclog your toilet. This method works with ordinary dish soap or soapy water created by bar soap that you pour into the toilet bowl. 

The substances in the soap will break down fats and other substances in the clog in the same way they cut grease on dishes or your hands. 

Next, pour in some warm water, and wait. After 20 to 30 minutes, flush the toilet and watch the clog disappear.

Use Hot Water

Hot water can also do the trick for some obstructions. The heated water helps soften and dissolve the clog, allowing it to pass through your plumbing system naturally. 

However, it’s crucial to avoid boiling water, which is too hot for porcelain toilets. In some cases, it may even crack your toilet, permanently damaging it.

DIY Drain Snake

You may have seen plumbers deal with the most serious clogs using their drain snake, a long device that reaches down pipes to dislodge obstructions. You can do the same at home with a wire clothes hanger. 

Unfold the hanger, so you have a long, thin piece of metal, and carefully insert it into your toilet. Be gentle — you can scratch the bowl in some cases. 

Once you’ve got the hanger to the clog, wiggle and push as needed to unclog the toilet. 

Baking soda product
Before you call the plumber, try using some basic home products to unclog your toilet first.

Baking Soda

Remember that old science class trick to create a volcano by combining baking soda and vinegar? You make the combination with basic pH (the baking soda) and an acidic pH (the vinegar). The same principle works to unclog your toilet. 

Pour a half cup to a cup of baking soda into your toilet, and add an equal amount of white vinegar. This foaming action will dislodge stubborn clogs and remove some stubborn stains. 

Increase Pressure with Plastic Bottle

This method can help even when others on the list have failed. Fill a two-liter or plastic bottle with warm water, and invert it into your toilet with the top pointing into the hole. 

Then, squeeze firmly on the bottle, pushing the water forcefully down the hole and against the clog. This pressure, combined with the loosening effect of the warm water, can help drive the most stubborn clogs right out. 

Pro Tip: We crunched the numbers to uncover How Much Water Does an RV Toilet Use Per Flush?

Don’t Panic if You Don’t Have a Plunger

Of course, a quality plunger is the easiest way to clear most toilet clogs. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only way. Even without the right tool, you have plenty of options to unclog a toilet with everyday materials you likely have on hand. 

Working to unclog a toilet may not be the most pleasant process, but hopefully, it won’t cause much trouble — plunger or not. 

Have you ever had to get creative to unclog your toilet? Tell us what technique you used in the comments!

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