How to Unclog a Toilet Without a Plunger

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“Help! The toilet’s clogged!”

“Use the plunger…”

“There is none!”

“Uh…oh…”

Does this sound familiar? Don’t panic, YES there is a simple solution to unclogging your toilet without a plunger.

Toilet Science

You probably know there’s a science to toilets. They work on gravity pressure from liquid weight forcing solid waste around a restrictive bend. But you’ve probably never thought about the science as to why toilets don’t work.

Ninety-nine percent of the time, friction is the culprit behind clogged toilets. Between solid waste and wasted paper, there’s simply too much mass in the bottom of the bowl for the weight from the toilet tank’s water to overcome. The bowl fills but friction’s restriction overcomes gravitational force and the mess just stays.

A toilet plunger works by replacing gravity with a mechanical push that forces the messy mass around the bend and down towards its slide to the sewer. Without a plunger to amplify gravity, the simple solution is to reduce friction. That’s where common household items ride to the rescue and replace the pushy plunger.

Items Needed

What you need is three things:

  • A bucket
  • Dish detergent
  • Hot water

Your bucket accomplishes two tasks. First, make sure the tank has refilled and you’ve shut off the toilet tap. Then use the bucket to bail most of the liquid from the toilet bowl to an adjacent sink. Don’t worry about removing the solid matter. This’ll get broken down by the next steps. Now keep the bucket handy to transport hot water from the kitchen to the toilet.

Next, squirt an ample amount of dish detergent into the clogged toilet bowl and let it sit for about 15 to 20 minutes while science does its trick. The grease-cutting agents in detergent break down the solid human waste as well as the excess paper, reducing their specific gravity and loosening them into smaller particles.

Finally, heat water in a kettle to just under the boiling point and carry a bucketful back to the bath and dump the steaming solution straight into the soapy toilet. The hot water will cause the soap to suds and foam, possibly down the sides and onto the floor.

Give the hot water about 5 minutes to react with the detergent and the dissolving waste. Science is again at work as the heat effect on the soap creates a surfactant that severely reduces what friction forces are left in the porcelain prison. The clog no longer has the mass nor the grasp to hang onto the sides. It’s turned into little, lubricated lumps that slide right down with a flush from the tank.

Finally, turn the tap and refill the tank. It’s unlikely you’ll need to repeat the process as this time-tested toilet treatment works every time. Even without a plunger or plumber.

Author:Water Damage Advisor
Water Damage Advisor

The Water Damage Advisor content team is made up of multiple contributors, writers, and editors. We are your resource hub for anything related to water damage, mold and restoration needs that you may be challenged with facing.

3 Responses

  1. The hot water trick works for me every time but I’ve never tried adding dish soap. I will have to give that a try the next chance I get. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Wow! That is an awesome suggestion for that “uh oh” moment! Cuz ya know we’ve all been there. I like the dish soap and hot water solution. The preliminary preparations make sense, too. Just make sure to sanitize that bucket!! Thanks from Seattle

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