How to Unclog Toilet When Nothing Works: 7 Effective Methods

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Written by: Mohammad Sameer

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Dealing with a stubbornly clogged toilet can be incredibly frustrating. Sometimes, using a plunger or a plumbing snake can help clear the blockage.

However, if these methods don’t work, it may be time to call in a professional plumber who can assess the situation and potentially fix the issue by repairing or replacing the drain pipe.

You’ve tried everything, but nothing seems to work. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Sometimes, even plungers and drain cleaners can’t tackle the challenge of an unyielding clog.

In these cases, it may be necessary to call a professional plumber who can use a plumbing snake to clear the blockage in your sink or any other hole in your plumbing system.

That’s where our expert tips come in handy. We’ll provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to deal with a clogged toilet that refuses to budge using a plunger, plumbing snake, and the assistance of a professional plumber if needed.

Whether it’s a simple obstruction or a more complex issue, our professional plumber will use the plunger or plumbing snake to help you get your toilet back in working order in no time, even if it’s clogged with poop.

So, if you’re tired of struggling with a stubborn clog and want to find solutions that work, keep reading! Whether it’s a toilet plunger or a plumbing snake, there are various tools you can use to unclog your pipes.

However, if all else fails, don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber.

Table of Contents

Causes of a Clogged Toilet: how to unclog toilet when nothing works

To understand how to unclog a toilet when nothing works, it’s important to first identify the common causes of a clogged toilet.

The plunger and plumbing snake are the solutions for unclogging a toilet, especially when dealing with poop. By understanding these culprits and having a plunger or plumbing snake on hand, you can take steps to find a solution for any blockages and keep your toilet functioning properly.

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, nothing seems to work, but don’t worry, there are still options available.

Understand the common culprits behind toilet blockages

Several factors can contribute to a clogged toilet, but there is a solution. If your toilet is clogged and nothing seems to be working, try using a plunger or a plumbing snake. Some of the most common culprits include:

  1. Using too much toilet paper at once can overwhelm the plumbing system and lead to a clog. In such cases, you may need a plunger to clear the blockage. If this doesn’t work, there’s nothing else you can do but call a professional plumber.
  2. Flushing Non-Flushable Items: Flushing items like baby wipes, feminine hygiene products, or paper towels down the toilet can cause blockages. If you encounter a blockage, you may need to use a plunger or plumbing snake to clear it.
  3. Low Water Flow: If your toilet has low water flow, using a plumbing snake may help clear any blockages and improve flushing.
  4. Hard Water Deposits: Over time, mineral deposits from hard water can accumulate in pipes and create obstructions. Using a toilet plunger can help remove these deposits.
  5. Tree Roots: In some cases, tree roots can infiltrate sewer lines and cause blockages in toilets.

Identify potential reasons why your toilet is frequently getting clogged

If you find that your toilet is frequently getting clogged despite taking precautions, there could be underlying issues contributing to the problem. Some potential reasons for frequent clogs include:

  1. Faulty Flapper Valve: A malfunctioning flapper valve can disrupt the flushing mechanism and lead to inadequate waste removal.
  2. Partial Blockage: Even if you have successfully cleared a previous clog, there may still be remnants or partial blockages in the plumbing system that contribute to recurrent issues.
  3. Incorrect Toilet Installation: If your toilet is not installed correctly or if there are issues with its design or components, it may be more prone to clogging.

Explore the various factors that can lead to a backed-up toilet

In addition to the common causes mentioned above, other factors can contribute to a backed-up toilet. These include:

  1. Sewer Line Issues: Problems with the main sewer line, such as clogs or damage, can cause toilets to back up.
  2. Septic Tank Problems: If you have a septic system, issues with the tank or drain field can result in toilet backups.
  3. Plumbing Vent Blockages: Clogged plumbing vents can disrupt the proper flow of air and water in your plumbing system, leading to toilet clogs.

Understanding these various factors can help you troubleshoot and address the underlying causes of a clogged toilet. By taking preventive measures and addressing any potential issues, you can minimize the occurrence of future blockages and keep your toilet functioning smoothly.

Testing Efforts: Is the Toilet Still Backed Up?

To determine if your attempts to unclog the toilet have been successful, it is important to assess whether your efforts have resolved the issue or not. After trying different methods, you need to verify if the blockage persists.

Determine if Your Attempts Have Been Successful

Start by checking if the water level in the toilet bowl has gone down. If it has decreased significantly or returned to its normal level, this could indicate that your unclogging efforts were successful. However, if the water level remains high or continues to rise, it suggests that there is still a blockage in the toilet.

Assess Whether Your Efforts Have Resolved the Issue or Not

Flush the toilet and observe how it reacts. If flushing results in a smooth flow of water without any signs of backup or overflow, then you can conclude that your efforts have resolved the clog.

On the other hand, if flushing causes water to rise and spill over onto the floor or into the bowl itself, this indicates that there is still a blockage present.

Verify If The Blockage Still Persists After Trying Different Methods

If you have attempted various methods such as using a plunger, pouring hot water into the bowl, or using a plumbing snake but are still experiencing a clogged toilet, it is essential to verify if the blockage persists.

This can be done by observing how quickly (or slowly) water drains from both sinks and tubs connected to the same drainage system as your toilet.

If these fixtures also exhibit slow drainage or backup issues, it suggests that there might be a larger problem within your plumbing system.

When determining whether your unclogging efforts have been successful or not, take note of any unusual sounds coming from pipes when flushing or draining water from other fixtures.

Gurgling noises often indicate air pockets caused by blockages in pipes.

Alternative Methods for Unclogging Without a Plunger

If you find yourself faced with a clogged toilet and don’t have a plunger on hand, don’t panic! There are alternative methods you can try to clear the blockage effectively.

Let’s explore some unconventional approaches that can help you unclog your toilet without using a plunger.

Hot Water and Dish Soap

Hot Water and Dish Soap

One method you can try is pouring hot water mixed with dish soap into the toilet bowl. Start by heating a pot of water on the stove until it’s hot but not boiling. Then, add a generous amount of dish soap to the hot water.

Carefully pour the mixture into the toilet bowl, aiming for the centre of the drain. The combination of hot water and soap may help break down any grease or debris causing the clog.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Another non-traditional method involves using baking soda and vinegar to create a chemical reaction that can loosen up stubborn clogs. Start by pouring about one cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl.

Follow this by adding two cups of vinegar slowly. Allow the mixture to sit in the bowl for about 30 minutes before flushing it with hot water. The foaming action created by combining baking soda and vinegar may help dislodge the blockage.

Wire Hanger or Plumbing Snake

If you’re comfortable using tools, you can fashion a makeshift plumbing snake out of a wire hanger or use an actual plumbing snake if available.

Straighten out the wire hanger or insert the plumbing snake into the drain opening, gently pushing it through while twisting and turning it to break up any obstructions in its path.

Be careful not to scratch or damage your toilet bowl while attempting this method.

Wet/Dry Vacuum

Wet/Dry Vacuum

Using a wet/dry vacuum is another option worth considering when dealing with stubborn clogs. Ensure that there is no liquid inside before starting; otherwise, you may damage the vacuum.

Set the vacuum to the wet setting and create a tight seal around the toilet drain with the hose attachment. Turn on the vacuum and allow it to create suction, which may help dislodge the clog.

Caution: Chemical Drain Cleaners

While chemical drain cleaners are readily available, they should be used with caution as they can be harmful to both your plumbing system and the environment. These products contain harsh chemicals that can corrode pipes over time or cause injury if mishandled.

It’s best to exhaust other methods before resorting to chemical drain cleaners.

Remember, these alternative methods may not work for all types of clogs, especially severe ones or those caused by larger objects stuck in the toilet drain. In such cases, it is recommended to seek professional assistance from a plumber.

DIY Solutions: Baking Soda and Vinegar, Dish Soap, Coat Hanger

Baking Soda and Vinegar

One effective DIY solution for unclogging a toilet is by using a combination of baking soda and vinegar. Begin by pouring one cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl. Make sure to distribute it evenly around the bowl.

Next, pour two cups of vinegar into the bowl on top of the baking soda. Allow the mixture to sit for about 30 minutes.

After the waiting period, flush the toilet to see if the clog has been cleared. The chemical reaction between the baking soda and vinegar creates a fizzing action that can help break down stubborn clogs. This method is safe for most toilets and can be an environmentally friendly alternative to harsh chemicals.


  • Simple ingredients are readily available in most households.
  • Environmentally friendly option compared to chemical cleaners.
  • Can be effective in breaking down tough clogs.


  • May not work on all types of clogs or severe blockages.
  • Requires some time for the mixture to sit before flushing.

Dish Soap

Another household item that can come to your rescue when dealing with a stubborn toilet clog is dish soap. Start by squirting a generous amount of dish soap into the toilet bowl. Let it sit for about 15 minutes.

The soap’s lubricating properties can help loosen up the clog, making it easier to flush away. After allowing enough time for the soap to work its magic, try flushing the toilet again.


  • Easily accessible and commonly found in most kitchens.
  • Gentle on plumbing fixtures compared to harsh chemicals.
  • Can effectively lubricate and break down certain types of clogs.


  • May not be as effective on more severe or solid blockages.
  • Requires patience as it may take multiple attempts before fully clearing the clog.

Coat Hanger

If you don’t have access to a plunger or the above DIY solutions, a simple wire coat hanger can be transformed into a useful tool for unclogging toilets.

Straighten out the hanger and create a small hook at one end. Put on a pair of dish gloves to protect your hands.

Insert the hooked end of the hanger into the toilet drain and gently manoeuvre it around, trying to dislodge the clog. Be careful not to scratch or damage the porcelain surface of the toilet bowl while doing this.

Once you feel some resistance, carefully pull out any debris that may have been causing the blockage.


  • Can be an effective solution for physically removing clogs.
  • Requires minimal tools and materials.
  • Can save money by avoiding professional plumbing services.


  • May require some physical effort and patience.
  • Not suitable for all types of clogs or blockages.

Prevention Techniques: Mindful Flushing, Double Flushes

Prevention Techniques: Mindful Flushing, Double Flushes

To prevent future toilet blockages, it’s essential to adopt mindful flushing habits. This simple technique can save you from the hassle of dealing with clogged toilets in the long run. Mindful flushing involves being cautious and aware of what you’re flushing down the toilet.

One of the key benefits of implementing double flushes as part of your prevention techniques is that it helps ensure everything gets properly flushed away.

Sometimes, a single flush may not be sufficient to clear all waste materials, leading to potential blockages. By using a double flush approach, you can significantly reduce the chances of clogs occurring.

Here are some proactive measures you can take to avoid recurring clogs in your toilet:

1. Be mindful of what you flush:

  • Only flush human waste and toilet paper down the toilet.
  • Avoid flushing items such as feminine hygiene products, baby wipes, cotton balls, or any other non-biodegradable items.
  • Dispose of these items properly in a trash bin.

2. Educate household members:

  • Teach everyone in your household about proper flushing practices.
  • Explain why it’s important not to flush anything other than waste and toilet paper.
  • Encourage them to be mindful when using the toilet.

3. Install a dual-flush system:

  • Consider installing a dual-flush system in your toilet if it doesn’t already have one.
  • Dual-flush toilets offer two options for flushing – one for liquid waste and another for solid waste.
  • This allows you to use less water when appropriate and reduces the chances of clogs.

4. Regular maintenance:

  • Perform regular maintenance on your toilet by inspecting it for any signs of damage or wear.
  • Check for any leaks or cracks that could potentially lead to blockages.
  • If you notice any issues, address them promptly before they worsen.

5. Use caution with disposable wipes:

  • If you use disposable wipes, make sure they are specifically labelled as flushable.
  • Even so, it’s best to dispose of them in a trash bin to avoid any potential clogs.

By following these prevention techniques, you can minimize the occurrence of toilet blockages and save yourself from the frustration and inconvenience they bring.

Remember to be mindful of what you flush, educate household members about proper flushing practices, consider installing a dual-flush system, perform regular maintenance on your toilet, and exercise caution when using disposable wipes.

Prevention is always better than dealing with clogged toilets after the fact. By implementing these proactive measures, you can keep your toilet running smoothly and avoid the need for unclogging methods altogether.

Dealing with Severely Blocked Toilets and Frequent Blockages

Standard plunging techniques may not always do the trick. In such cases, it’s important to employ specialized techniques and tools to unclog the toilet effectively.

Tackle severely blocked toilets with specialized techniques and tools.

If you find yourself faced with a severely blocked toilet that just won’t budge, don’t panic. There are several methods you can try to tackle the obstruction:

  1. Toilet Auger: A toilet auger is a specialized tool designed specifically for clearing clogs in toilets. It features a long, flexible cable with a corkscrew-like end that can navigate through the curves of the toilet drain pipe. Insert the auger into the toilet bowl, rotate it clockwise, and push it gently until you feel resistance. Then, crank the handle to break up or remove the blockage.
  2. Chemical Drain Cleaners: Chemical drain cleaners can be effective in breaking down stubborn clogs in toilets. However, they should be used with caution as they contain harsh chemicals that can be harmful if not handled properly. Follow the instructions on the label carefully and use protective gloves when handling these products.
  3. Hot Water and Dish Soap: Sometimes, a combination of hot water and dish soap can help loosen a stubborn clog in your toilet. Start by pouring a generous amount of dish soap into the bowl, followed by hot (but not boiling) water from waist height. The heat from the water combined with the lubricating properties of dish soap may help dislodge or break up the blockage.

Learn how to address frequent blockages by identifying underlying issues.

If you frequently experience blockages in your toilet, it’s essential to identify any underlying issues that may be contributing to this problem:

  1. Low-Flow Toilets: Low-flow toilets are designed to conserve water, but they can sometimes be more prone to clogging. Consider upgrading to a more efficient model or adjusting the water level in your current toilet to improve flushing power.
  2. Improper Flushing Habits: Educate yourself and your household members about proper flushing habits. Avoid flushing excessive amounts of toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, wipes, or other non-flushable items down the toilet.
  3. Sewer Line Issues: If you’ve ruled out any issues with your toilet, the blockage may be occurring further down the sewer line. In such cases, it’s best to consult a professional plumber who can perform a thorough inspection and address any underlying plumbing issues.

Explore advanced methods for dealing with stubborn clogs that require extra attention.

For particularly stubborn clogs that resist standard techniques, there are advanced methods you can try:

  1. Hydro Jetting: Hydro jetting is a technique used by professional plumbers to clear severe blockages in plumbing systems. It involves using high-pressure water jets to blast away obstructions and clean the pipes thoroughly. This method is highly effective but should only be performed by trained professionals.
  2. Mechanical Snaking: A mechanical snake is a tool that plumbers use to reach deep into drain pipes and break up or remove stubborn clogs. The rotating head of the snake helps navigate through bends and twists in the pipe while dislodging any obstructions along the way.

Remember, if all else fails or if you’re unsure about how to proceed, it’s always best to seek help from a professional plumber who has the expertise and tools necessary to tackle even the most challenging toilet blockages.

Successfully Unclogging Your Toilet

We started by discussing common causes of a clogged toilet and then moved on to testing efforts to determine if the toilet was still backed up.

Next, we provided alternative methods for unclogging without a plunger, such as using baking soda and vinegar, dish soap, or a coat hanger.

We shared prevention techniques like mindful flushing and double flushes to avoid future clogs. Finally, we addressed more severe blockages and frequent issues.

To ensure that you can confidently tackle any toilet clog in the future, remember these key takeaways: identify the cause of the clog before attempting any solutions; don’t be afraid to try alternative methods if a plunger isn’t available; practice preventive measures to minimize the occurrence of clogs; and seek professional help for severe or recurring blockages.

If you found this information helpful in resolving your toilet clog issue, please share it with others who may benefit from it. Remember that regular maintenance and proper usage can go a long way in preventing future problems with your toilet.


How do I know if my toilet is clogged?

If water starts rising when you flush or drains slowly after flushing, your toilet is likely clogged. Another sign is when water levels remain high even after several attempts to plunge.

Can I use bleach to unclog my toilet?

Bleach alone is not recommended for unclogging toilets as it doesn’t break down solid waste effectively. It may also damage the components inside the tank.

Is it safe to use hot water to unclog a toilet?

Hot water can sometimes help loosen minor clogs in toilets but should be used with caution. Avoid using boiling water as it could crack the porcelain bowl. Always pour hot (not boiling) water slowly into the bowl from waist level.

Can I use a drain snake to unclog my toilet?

Yes, a drain snake can be effective in clearing stubborn clogs. Insert the snake into the drain and rotate it while applying gentle pressure to break up the blockage.

What should I do if none of the methods work?

If all your attempts fail to unclog the toilet, it’s best to call a professional plumber. They have specialized tools and expertise to handle more challenging clogs and ensure that your toilet is functioning properly.

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About Mohammad Sameer

My name is Mohammad Sameer, the founder of SoundproofGears. My hypersensitive hearing turned me into a lifelong seeker of silence. After years of research, I've become an expert on soundproofing techniques and materials. In November 2022 I launched this site to share my knowledge and help others find acoustic sanctuary. About More