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5 Ways to Unclog a Toilet Without a Plunger

If you don't have a plunger, you can sometimes get things in working order with a few common household items.

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How To Unclog the Toilet Without a Plunger

The best way to handle a clogged toilet is to use a plunger but there might be situations where you don’t have access to one. If If the toilet is clogged and you don’t have a plunger handy, have no fear. There is more than one way to clear out the toilet and some of these ways include common household items that you likely already have.

If a clog is particular troublesome, you may need to use a drain snake to unclog it. But these home remedies will help push through some of the more minor clogs you’re likely to encounter.

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Unclog a toilet with dish soapFamily Handyman

Dish Soap

Plunging a clogged toilet is no fun, but there’s a better way. To unclog a toilet without a plunger, head to the kitchen for some dish soap. The slippery soap can help lubricate the clogged pipe and allow the lodged debris to slide down more easily.

Pour about a half-cup into the toilet. If you’re out of dish soap, chop a bar of hand soap into small chunks and drop the pieces into the toilet.

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bucket of hot soapy water to unclog toiletGWImages/Shutterstock

Add Hot Water

If dish soap alone doesn’t do the trick, adding water might move things along. Fill a bucket with hot bath water (boiling water could cause a porcelain toilet to crack) and pour the water into the toilet from waist level. The force of the water could dislodge the cause of the clog.

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DIY a Drain Snake Using a Wire Hangerndquang/Shutterstock

DIY Wire Hanger Drain Snake

A more severe blockage could require manually moving the item. To do this without a plunger, unravel a wire coat hanger until it’s straight. Push one end of the wire into the clogged area. Prod the debris until it becomes free and flows down the drain. A drain auger is a better choice, but the wire hanger will work in a pinch.

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vinegar baking soda cleaning supplies to unclog toiletShutterstock/JPC-PROD

Baking Soda Mixture

As an alternative to using dish soap for those situations where you’re without a plunger, try this all-natural solution. Pour one cup baking soda and two cups vinegar into the toilet. Allow it fizz for a half hour. If clog doesn’t dissipate, try the hot water trick.

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plastic water bottles empty unclog a toiletiamshutter/Shutterstock

Use a Plastic Bottle to Create Water Pressure

This unclogging trick could get messy.

Start by removing as much water from the toilet bowl as possible; you can do this by repeatedly filling a small container with toilet water and pouring the water into a bucket. Next, fill a large plastic bottle with warm water.

Place your thumb over the top of the bottle and fit the top end of the bottle into the outlet at the bottom of the toilet. (You’ll want to wear rubber gloves for this step.) Remove your thumb and squeeze the bottle so the water inside shoots down the pipe. The added pressure could dislodge whatever was causing the clog.

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squirt gun toilet drainerFamily Handyman

Squirt Gun Toilet Drainer

If you decide to drain your toilet bowl before dealing with the clog, here’s a unique tip to get the water out.

“When you’re repairing or replacing a toilet, you need to remove all the water. Simply shutting off the water supply and flushing won’t do it. A sponge works, but it’s kind of slow. So I use an old squirt gun to suck the water out and squirt it into a bucket, leaving just the last few drops to sponge out.” — reader Dale Conklin.

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