We’ve all been there: you’ve finished in the bathroom and go to flush, but nottiing happens. You look for a plunger, but you don’t find one. As panic sets in, you wonder if you can unclog a toilet without the use of a plunger. This may sound crazy, but it is actually possible! Better yet, you can do it in only 5 steps.
Here’s what to do:
STEP 1: STOP THE WATER FLOW TO THE TOILET
The most important step is to stop the flow of water into the toilet. Remove the lid and pull the float up to stop the flow immediately. Then, shut off the water using the valve at the wall near the base of the toilet.
STEP 2: SLOWLY POUR HOT (NOT BOILING!) WATER INTO THE TOILET
If the toilet is close to overflowing, find a bucket to remove some of the water. If you were able to shut the water off quickly, fill the bucket or cup with very hot (but not boiling) water from the sink or tub. Pour it in the toilet a few cups at a time and wait a couple of minutes. The hot water should help break up the clog.
STEP 3: TRY SURFACTANTS (DISH SOAP OR SHAMPOO) AND HOT WATER
If hot water doesn’t work, try adding a surfactant. Dish soap, shampoo or even bar soap can help. Remove as much water as you can from the toilet bowl, then squirt a large amount of soap in the toilet (break the bar soap up into small pieces), and repeat pouring hot water in. The soap should help lubricate the clog and pipes so things get moving.
STEP 4: PHYSICALLY MOVE THE CLOG WITH A WIRE HANGER
If none of those work, you’ll need to try to physically move the clog using a wire hanger. You can also attempt to “plung·e” the toilet with the toilet brush. If the clog is close to being cleared, a few forceful pumps can generate enough pressure to move it through the pipes.
STEP 5: TURN THE WATER BACK ON (AND BUY A PLUNGER!)
Once the water you’re pouring into the toilet is draining freely, turn the water back on at the valve and flush the toilet again. If you used soaps, flush several times to remove residue. Also, you should probably go out and buy a plunger!
If, even after buying and using a plunger, your toilet is still clogged.