Last updated: 4/29/2022
Toilet clogged and don’t have a plunger at home? Don’t worry! Even toilet brands that are equipped with advanced plumbing have similar needs to their less-advanced counterparts, cleaning siphon jets and toilet clogs being chief among them. Don’t rush to the hardware store near you or start to panic.
While a plunger is extremely handy and the fastest way to unclog a toilet, some home remedies can also help tremendously. Most residential toilets can be easily unclogged with some alternatives available at home and some dish soap!
However, the one method that may be the easiest and most convenient is what we’ll be focusing on heavily in this article: unclogging your toilet with bleach.
The bleach method can be used to unclog a toilet without a plunger quickly and easily.
Liquid bleach, the best type of bleach for unclogging a toilet, is made primarily of sodium hypochlorite, a salt derivative. The sodium hypochlorite, which some people refer to as chlorine, is strong enough to break up organic materials, such as human waste and toilet paper. Bleach is especially effective at dissolving human hair. Bleach is a base that reacts with the acids in hair, breaking it down in the process.
If you have ever used too much bleach as a stain solution on clothes, you know that it dissolves fabric too. Bleach will eat holes through cloth if you use too much and leave it on too long. It will also break up toilet paper.
Steps for Using Bleach to Unclog a Toilet
If you want to try using bleach to help your toilet flush, take the following steps and precautions.
Firstly, get prepared. If you have a fan in your bathroom, I would recommend turning it on for any excess fumes. Then make sure you have the proper attire. Gloves, old clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty, and maybe even gloves if you want to be super precautious. Now your ready to get your hands…dirty? Hopefully not, but you get what I mean. Below are the two methods for removing a toilet clog with bleach:
Bleach Only Method
- Pour two to three cups of bleach into the toilet bowl.
- Allow it to sit for up to 15 minutes so that it flows into the trapway.
- Then, flush the toilet to check whether the clog has released.
Bleach and Hot Water (septic method)
- Add one to two cups of bleach to the toilet bowl.
- After it sits for 10 minutes, fill the toilet bowl halfway with water that has barely begun to boil.
- Allow it to rest for another 10 minutes. Assuming you’ve turned the water off previously, turn it back on, then flush the toilet.
We would recommend using the bleach and hot water method most times. If you have a septic tank, you need to limit how much bleach you’re using (we would suggest only two cups maximum). With this method, you can still try to unclog the toilet with bleach, but the water will help make the solution less volatile by diluting it. Bleach is fine to go into your septic, but only in small amounts. Otherwise, the chemical and bacterial balance that your septic system depends on to process the organic matter may be disrupted.
Does Bleach Actually Break Up Poop?
While hard poop may be the culprit of the clog, it’s not usually the sole problem. Feces tends to soften and dissolve while it sits in water. If the blockage is composed primarily of poop, it should flush down within a few hours if you let it be.
A clog that doesn’t go away easily is often caused by other materials taking up space in your toilet or sewage line. Therefore, it doesn’t really matter if bleach breaks up poop. It’s more important to dissolve the other materials that are obstructing the pipes.
Is Bleach the Best Option for Unclogging a Toilet?
The best times to reach for bleach for your toilet emergencies include the following:
- You don’t have a plunger
- The toilet is filled with poop
- You don’t have other clog-removing products
Bleach won’t work on inorganic clogs, like LEGO blocks, toy cars, synthetic wipes or feminine products. You will need to remove those manually or hire a plumber to tackle those unfortunate obstructions.
If you need to use bleach to unclog your toilet frequently, you should look into the source of the problem. Don’t let anyone flush anything but septic-friendly toilet paper down the toilets. Hire a plumber to inspect the pipes. You may need to install a toilet with an extra-large trapway and forceful flush to help you stay clog-free and save your pipes.
When you detect a stubborn clog, the easiest method to unclog a toilet is to fill a bucket with hot water and pour it into the toilet bowl. Make sure you pour at waist level so that the water doesn’t splash around the toilet and make the floor dirty.
Make sure that the water isn’t extremely hot, otherwise you may find yourself having to fix a cracked toilet bowl. After pouring the water, wait for some time to see if the clogged mass has passed through the pipe. After a minute or two, flush the toilet and check if the toilet is still clogged.
Now, if this method is not working, you must be asking yourself: what can you pour down a toilet to unclog it?
Using Dish Soap
If pouring hot water isn’t working, you can use some dish soap for the clogged toilet.
- Pour about a quarter of the dish soap into the toilet bowl. Allow the dish soap to sit for about 15-20 minutes so that it has time to move down from the bowl to the drain and near the clog.
- Add two liters of warm water and let it sit for about five minutes.
- The dish soap will lubricate the drain clog and let the waste and paper pass smoothly. Flush the toilet once or twice to make sure that the toilet won’t clog again.
That is the process that is described in the video below.
Don’t have a plumbing snake? You can make your own! Grab a wire hanger from your closet and twist it into a straight line excluding the wire hook. A plastic-covered hook would be a better alternative so that it doesn’t scratch the porcelain, but you can also cover the hook with a rag instead. Wear some rubber gloves and evenly angle the hanger towards the drain till you reach the clog. Flush the toilet two times after the water starts to drain out to clear the contents of the toilet completely.
Baking Soda or Vinegar
A mixture of baking soda and vinegar is used to clean a lot of surfaces in the house. For example, baking soda can be used to clean pillows, dirty pans, your dishwasher, and yes, it’s even one of the best home remedies for clogged toilets.
The first step is to take one cup of baking soda and spread it evenly in the toilet bowl so that it spreads around. Next, take two cup measures of vinegar and pour it slowly over the baking soda so that it mixes well. You’ll see some fizzing start to happen in the toilet bowl, which will further break down the drain clog. Let the vinegar sit for two hours and flush the contents afterward. If it still doesn’t work, repeat the same process, let it sit overnight, and flush the toilet the next day.
If time is of the essence, Epsom salts and bath bombs are your friends. They are not very easy to find, but if they’re available in your house, you can give it a go. Place the Epsom salts or the bath bomb in the toilet bowl. Wait for it to react with the water in the bowl. Leave it for ten minutes and check if it helped to unclog the toilet.
This might be the worst-case scenario if you are looking to unclog a toilet without a plunger, but a toilet brush can help. It will be unpleasant to work with and absolutely soil the brush, but just angling the brush towards the drain, thrusting it towards the drain hole, and pumping it down and up will do the trick. Flush the toilet to see if it worked and repeat the process if it didn’t. Have some cleaning supplies on standby to clean up!
You can make your own drain cleaner by combining half a gallon of water with one cup of baking soda and two cup measures of vinegar. Pour and spread the baking soda and vinegar into the toilet bowl slowly. Pour the water into the toilet bowl with ease and see some fizzing in the toilet start to happen. Let the mixture sit overnight and flush the toilet the next day.
There are three types of commercial drain cleaners available in the market. They depend on the different types of clogs and drain pipes. Find out what your drain’s clog type is by opening the drain cover in your bathroom and checking the drain. There might be different kinds of clogs, like toilet paper-based or hair-based.
The Three Types of Drain Cleaners:
Caustic drain cleaners convert the clogged content into a soap-like substance so that it dissolves with water. It is the best cleaner type for removing grease, food, and soap scum. One of the best caustic drain cleaners is the Professor Amos Superfast Drain Cleaners.
Acidic drain cleaners are extremely powerful and remove clogs made up of hair, food, toilet paper, grease, and soap residue. In this category, the best drain cleaner is the Liquid Lightning Buffered Sulfuric Acid Drain Cleaner.
Enzymatic drain cleaners help prevent clogs that include soft materials like hair or paper but cannot deal with hard substances like grease and soap scum. Here, one of the best drain cleaners is the Green Gobbler Drain Clog Dissolver. This method has turned out to be the best way to unclog a toilet for many people.
You often don’t really need a plunger to unblock the toilet. Whether you use dish soap, vinegar, or bleach to unclog the toilet, the above methods are very easy and effective. However, some are best for highly clogged toilets, while others may only work for small clogs. The best thing is that all the materials required to unclog your toilet in the above methods are readily available and affordable. However, if the problem persists, you can call a professional plumber.
De-clogging a toilet without a plunger can sometimes get pretty messy and inconvenient. Most of the above alternatives are available in all households and are quite inexpensive too. If all of these alternatives seem to fail, the only option is to consult a plumber and/or buy a plunger.
33 thoughts on “8 Ways To Unclog a Toilet Without a Plunger”
Why not buy a frickin plunger and be done with it
Well, Kathie, This is for those who want to do it without a plunger.
Sometimes even a plunger isn’t enough. So before you call a plumber. You want to try Everything. This is why. I asked the question, will bleach help to unclog a toilet. I have one toilet that keeps getting clogged and needs a plunger a bit to often. So I was happy to see this article
Well not only is this for people without a plunger it is also for people who have tried using a plunger but it still wont unclog.
Plunger rubber dried up (kept in a garage in Florida). We’re in the middle of a pandemic. Immune system is compromised and my doctor advised me to stay home. That’s why I didn’t “buy a fricken plunger”. Is this satisfactory for you?
The above comment about the dried out plunger was meant for “Kathie”.
I have the same issue as you
And my doctor said that toilet plungers
Collect toxins and chemicals that are harmful I never use plungers for that reason
Sometimes the plunger and the auger don’t work so a person wants to try other stuff in addition to the plunger and auger. I agree that it is easiest to try a plunger alone first though as in most cases it works by itself.
if plunger doesn’t always work, the others do. I have used two of the abovce mentioned and it didn’t cost me a penny, had them in my house
I have a question not a comment-my toilet is flushing very slowly-I have plunged it as well as using hot water and the bleach method. It still is flushing very slowly. Should I continue these methods to unclog it or do I have a deeper problem that requires a plumber to clean a pipe?
Because a plunger doesn’t work on the new style toilets with two holes. With them all a plunger does is splash the water and make a mess.
That has certainly been what happens when I try using a plunger and I even bought a second plunger and still same result.
For times like right now, when I moved into a new house about two months ago and neglected to move the plunger with me…
Great tips. Visiting family and store is 30 min away and its 10:39pm.
what is the purpose of neutralizing the vinegar with baking soda before you flush? i thought that you’d want the acid to open the blockage then add baking soda.
y Well Kathie some peoples bowel movements are very hard & a plunger won’ work unless it sits overnight & then sometimes it’s still difficult to flush it down.
Add to that the fact that the water is too high to flush the toilet – after attempting to plunge the toilet unsuccessfully – something needs to be done about the toilet to get it to where it CAN be flushed
Can you add baking soda and vinegar if bleach is still in the toilet?
No, use it without bleach
Kathie do you realize its a pandemic right now how is ANYONE supposed to buy a frickin plunger in these times?
When you mention powdered soap, does it matter if it is laundry, dish, or body?
I tried mixing 1 cup of baking soda with 1.5 cup(because that’s all I had at home) of vinegar and poured it. Nothing happened. So I went to the store and bought bleach and poured 3 cups of bleach. It still has not gone done. I can’t flush as the water is high. Can I add a cup of dishwasher soap powder? Will it help? Please let me know. Thanks
Never mix vinegar and bleach together. Do one treatment or the other.
I had diarrhea and so didnt remember to flush the toilet after using 2 wads of toilet paper. When i flushed of course i had a really bad clog with lots of paper.
Too messy to use my plunger
You posted to use liquid soap. I poured that in and when water level was low i flushed. But just raised water level to very high.
I poured bleach in the toilet and walked away
To my surprise i heard a loud noise. Checked my bathroom. The whole mess in my toilet had gone down the drain. I was shocked how quickly it worked.
I will always use bleach now if i ever have a clog again.
Thank you for this wonderful tip
Well what if if someobe didnt relize cause he forgot he had a pork chop bone in the soup he dumped in the tiolet. Been plunging after every movement for a year now. Landlird an ahole i want to avoid.
Hmmm, maybe switch to chicken noodle?
Kathie I have a plunger In fact I have 3 different plungers BUT I can’t get my toile to plunge due to no strength from breaking my arm 5 days ago in 4 different spots ( IV tried plunging it since my grandkids love to throw toilet paper in the toilet and (as they told me tonight ) watch it go bye bye like magic while I was busy with their littlest sibling I want to get it unclogged before my husband.gets home( from work and has to deal with this before he can relax he works 2 jobs and needs to come home and just relax ) so these ideas may help me so please don’t be so judgemental until you know their situation
Isn’t bleach bad for the septic system?
Great question. Your septic system depends on a chemical and bacterial balance to break down the organic matter in it. While too much bleach could throw off this balance, a small amount is fine. A cup of bleach or less should be perfectly fine.
Thanks for your comment Michaela. We haven’t accounted for septic systems in the paragraphs about bleach as of yet. I will remedy that shortly!
Thank you, thank you! After plunging and plunging for hours, I tried your liquid dish soap and warm water trick. I let it sit for about 1/2 hour, and it worked like a charm! Sure didn’t want to call Roto-Rooter and Christmas time, so you are appreciated more than you know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I tried the liquid soap, didn’t work. I just put a bunch of Epsom salt down both toilets, but nothing so far. I have a septic system, so I can try a cup of bleach next, but is it OK if the Epsom salt is still in the toilet? (Yes, I tried plunging it first, as I do have a plunger!)
Many problems that appear to be complex can be handled with a straightforward hack, thank you for sharing how to unclog a toilet with dish soap.
Maybe you’re in a hotel and it’s 11:45pm and you’re in your nightgown and don’t want to get dressed to go downstairs to the front desk and ask for one…. Then I’d have to leave it outside my room door for everybody on my floor to walk past to get to the elevator. Not to mention, there’s only ONE plunger in this fancy shmancy hotel. I know this because I had to go get out the other day. So. Bad bowls and all. I will not just go buy a freaking plunger. But thanks for the tip!