Whether you flushed too much hair or too many cigarette butts, or something else, even with the best plumbing available, toilet clogs can happen. If possible, it is always recommended to have a plunger or a toilet snake on hand for those very moments. It’s certainly one of the easiest ways to eliminate a toilet clog.
Fortunately, if you find yourself without a plunger, there are plenty of alternative methods for clearing the clog without one. This article will take you through some of the best methods in doing so without any horrible messes.
5 Best Ways to Unclog a Toilet Without a Plunger
Without further ado, let’s jump into the five recommended substitute methods.
#1 Pour Plain Hot Water in the Bowl
For this method, the only things you’ll need are hot water and a large bucket. Slowly fill the toilet with the hot water and the heat combined with the movement of the water should help to break up and remove the clog.
However, keep in mind that while the water should be hot, it should not be boiling. If you pour boiling water into your toilet bowl, it can cause it to crack, which will leave you in a much worse situation.
#2 Use Dish Soap With Hot Water
If just plain hot water isn’t cutting it, you can try using hot water with the help of some dish soap. Dish soap is made to break down grease, dirt, and grime, so it is perfectly usable to break down most materials that can cause a clogged drain.
Put about a cup or so of dish soap right into the toilet bowl, then add the hot water and let the mixture sit for a while. In some cases, it can take about 30 minutes or longer to work depending upon the clog.
If you don’t have any dish soap available, shampoo can also work as a substitute. They essentially do the same task in breaking down dirt and grime and will not harm your toilet in any way.
#3 Use Baking Soda and Vinegar
This mixture is an incredible cleaner and has a good ability to break down grease and dirt. It is commonly used to clean different kinds of surfaces. It is also perfectly usable to unclog a toilet for basically the same reasons.
First, you should pour about a cup of baking soda directly into the toilet bowl. Then, spread it around so that it covers as much surface area as possible and let it sink. Next, add about two cups of vinegar and pour the vinegar slowly in a circular motion so that it disperses more evenly around in the toilet.
As the vinegar begins to mix with the baking soda, you will see it start to fizz, and hopefully the clog will start to break up.
Let the mixture sit for about an hour before you try to flush. If this doesn’t work on the first try, use the same amounts of baking soda and vinegar and let it work overnight.
#4 Break It Up Using a Wire Hanger
If you are not one for chemical solutions and are willing to sacrifice one of your wire hangers, fashioning a makeshift toilet snake out of one of these hangers can work just fine.
Start by unfolding the hanger and straighten it out. If it has a rough edge, wrap and tie a rag around the end you’re going to use to unclog the toilet to prevent the wire from scratching the inside of the bowl and drain.
Then, stick the wrapped end down the drain and prod the clog to loosen it. You may have to use some force, but be careful not to use so much that you end up causing damage to the toilet or pipes.
Afterwards throw away the wire hanger in a place that it will not smell too much. Once you successfully snake the clog, that wire hanger will certainly have some residue of the clog that will likely smell terrible.
#5 Use Drain Cleaners
This isn’t the most recommended method but can be used if you’re in a pinch. These chemicals can be dangerous and can cause damage to your plumbing or yourself. Not to mention, they are not very eco-friendly.
Mix two cups of bleach with a cup of powdered detergent into the bowl and wait about 30 minutes before you attempt to flush.
Be particularly wary of this method though, as putting bleach down your drain can absolutely damage your plumbing system. Only use this if you truly have no other options and are in an emergency situation.
#6 Wait It Out
Sometimes, the only thing you have to do to unclog a toilet is just wait. This method will require nothing but patience and a second bathroom.
The water in your toilet exerts pressure on the clog in the drain as it attempts to leave and with time, the pressure could dislodge the clog on its own. This could be the safest method for your toilet depending on the clog.
Be prepared to wait for a long time though, perhaps even overnight. Furthermore, you should be ready to stop the flow of water when you try to flush the clog out of the toilet the next day.
This is, of course, the riskiest option and should only be used if you have the time to spare and the stench of the clog is not too unbearable.
What If None of the Above Works?
If you’ve tried everything you can and the clog is still there it may be time to head to the hardware store and get a plunger or toilet snake. They are worthwhile investments, and if you have no other options, now is as good of a time as any.
If not even the plunger or snake is working consider calling a plumber. At this point, it could be a pipe or toilet issue and will need to be handled by a professional.
Be sure to tell the plumber you tried all these methods, if it comes down to this, for it may give them some hints as to what could be wrong with your toilet.
Now that you have these methods in mind, give them a try if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation that is a clogged toilet.
You would be surprised at how often they work and how they can be just as effective as using a plunger, despite only using basic household cleaning materials and a little extra effort.
However, keep in mind that getting a plunger is a worthwhile investment and can get you through plenty of clogs without having to do too much DIY. If you find yourself without the aid of one though, hopefully, you now have the knowledge to power through that pesky clog.
You should also read about how to unclog a toilet with poop still in it if you are in that situation. Lastly, if rather than being clogged, something is simply trapped in your toilet plumbing, read this article.