How to Unclog a Toilet Without A Plunger or Snake

Last Updated on July 28, 2023 by toilethaven

Clogged toilets are normal occurrences in many homes. They are especially common if you have young kids who tend to throw just about anything down the drain.

A toilet plunger is normally sufficient to dislodge most toilet clogs. What if you don’t have a plunger? How else can you unclog a toilet without a plunger?

There are 8 ways to unclog a toilet without a plunger that works. The idea here is to use what you have in accordance with the state of the clogged toilet.

The first thing you do is drain your toilet bowl. This is not always easy, especially if the toilet is clogged with poop and toilet paper. Just drain everything into a bucket and get going. For more details on how to drain a toilet, check this post.

These are the different ways you can unclog a toilet without a plunger:

  • With your bare hand
  • Using hot water
  • With dish soap
  • Baking soda and vinegar solution
  • With saran wrap
  • using a wire hanger
  • With a plastic bottle
  • Using Epsom salt

1. How to unclog a toilet using your hand

Yes, guys! It is the first and easiest method you should try. If, for instance, someone was mopping the house and dumped the dirty water with the rag inside the toilet, the clogging rag will most likely be at the toilet trap.

This is where it helps to have small hands. Try and insert your hand through the bowl outlet and feel if there is anything you can touch. Remove as much of it as possible if it is just toilet paper clogging your toilet.

Try plunging with your bare hand as you would if you had a plunger if you can feel anything. The idea is to force as much water as possible down the drain forcefully too.

If you are visiting someone and happen to clog their toilet or are just trying to unclog a hotel toilet without a plunger, this is the first method you should think of.

2. How to unclog a toilet with dish soap

Why dish soap, you may ask? The idea is to lubricate the surface of the toilet trap and drainpipe as much as possible, and hopefully, with time, the clog will slide along and unclog the toilet. Pour about half a cup of dish soap into the bowl and give it about half an hour to work. Make sure the bowl has been completely drained out prior.

How to unclog a toilet with dish soap

If you are, however, running low on dish soap, you can always use a bar soap. Shred it into small pieces and drop it in the toilet bowl. Alternatively, you can dissolve the small pieces in warm water and pour the solution into the bowl.

For more information on this method, check out this post.

3. How to unclog a toilet using hot water

How to unclog a toilet using hot water

If the dish soap method doesn’t work, you can try a bucket of hot water. Using both dish soap and hot water works even better than using the 2 methods separately.

We are using hot water as it is easy and very effective in breaking down toilet paper, which causes toilet clogs most of the time.

Pour the water gently from the waist level, and face away from the toilet bowl. You don’t water anything from the toilet or the water splashing back on your face. The force of the water will also help in pushing down/dislodging the clog.

It is important that you don’t use water that is too hot. The toilet bowl is made of ceramic. Very hot water could make the bowl expand suddenly and hence crack.

4. How to unclog a toilet with baking soda and vinegar

Pour 1 cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl, then add two cups of vinegar. Pour the vinegar slowly as it reacts very fast with baking soda. Vinegar is an acidic substance, while baking soda is an alkaline substance.

The fizzing reaction between vinegar and baking soda will hopefully break down the clog unless it’s solid. Give the solution 30 minutes to work out its magic.

If time lapses and this solution doesn’t work, dump a bucket of hot water inside the bowl and see what happens. Sometimes it takes more than one method to unclog a toilet without a plunger.

For more information on this method, check out this post.

5. How to unclog a toilet with a saran wrap

For this method, you will need water in the toilet bowl. The idea is to completely seal off the toilet bowl with saran wrap and apply as much force as possible from the top. Hopefully, this will help to push the clog down the drain. Follow the steps below.

  • Ensure your toilet has water up to the ¾ mark.
  • Lift the toilet seat and lid.
  • Cover the toilet bowl with plastic wrap. Make sure it is airtight.
  • Flush the toilet.
  • As the flush water fills the bowl, use your palm and push forcefully downwards on the plastic wrap.
  • Always face away from the toilet bowl.

What this method does is build up a big pressure differential between the top of the clog and the drain pipe, forcing the clog to be sucked into the drain pipe.

6. How to unclog a toilet with a wire hanger

Another clever way of unclogging a toilet without a plunger is to use a wire hanger. Get a wire hanger from your closet and straighten it with a pair of pliers.

In this method, the wire hanger will simulate how a toilet snake/auger works. The most important thing here is to make sure that you do not scratch the toilet bowl.

Hold one end of the wire and push the other one through the toilet drain. Twist and push it the way you would a plumber’s snake. This will most likely shred the clog into smaller pieces, making them move further down the drain.

You should always be extra careful while using this method. It is very easy to scratch the inside of the toilet bowl. This can leave very ugly marks on the bowl.

7. How to unclog a toilet with a plastic bottle

This method works the same way as a plunger, only that it is not as effective or fast. You will need a plastic bottle, preferably 2 liters or larger, rubber gloves, a sponge, a bucket, and, if possible, eye goggles. It can get very messy.

Wear your gloves, and using the sponge, mop out as much water as possible from the bowl and drain it in the bucket. Next, fill up the water bottle with warm water.

Placing your thumb on top of the bottle opening, insert it into the toilet bowl outlet, and remove your thumb. Push it down and squeeze it hard.

The idea is to build pressure above the clog and force it down the drainpipe. This works well when kneeling beside the toilet and as soon as you insert the bottle opening in the toilet outlet face away from the toilet.

8. How to unclog a toilet using salt

Epsom salt is your best bet here. Just like baking soda and vinegar, it creates a fizzy reaction when it comes into contact with water, helping to break down whatever is clogging the toilet.

You should therefore make sure the toilet bowl is ¼ full of water, preferably warm water. If Epsom salt is not available, go with the common table salt.

Mix about 1 cup of table salt and 6 cups of hot water and dump into a bowl that has been completely drained. It is important to have the bowl drained so that the solution acts on the clog directly.

How to Unclog a Toilet When Nothing Works

how to unclog-a-toilet-without-a-plunger

This might look like a drastic move, but most often than not, it is the correct one. Sometimes even when you have a plunger, the clog won’t go away, and you are left with no option but to remove the toilet. Removing a toilet is a rather simple process.

  • Check on either side of your toilet base; you will see two bolts. If they are covered with plastic caps, pry them off with a flathead screwdriver.
  • Using an adjustable spanner, loosen the nuts from the bolts and take them out.
  • Hold the toilet by the bowl and rock it a little to break the wax seal.
  • Lift off the toilet and lay it on its side.

From there, it is easy to see what is clogging your toilet. You can push your hand into the toilet from underneath the bowl to make sure it is not clogged. You can also check inside the drain pipe.

Once you have removed the clog, follow the steps above to install the toilet. Be sure to use a new wax ring since wax rings cannot be reused.

For more information on this method, check out this post.


All the above methods are great tips for unclogging a toilet without a plunger. Because of the nature of clogs, there is no one method to fit all toilet clogs. This is why it is important to follow them sequentially until you get to the one that works for you. If, unfortunately, you didn’t manage to unclog your toilet, there is no shame in failing. Feel free to call a professional plumber.


1. Do toilets eventually unclog themselves?

If the toilet is clogged by water-soluble items like toilet paper or soap, it will unclog itself after some time. A toilet clogged by solid and insoluble items like toys will not unclog itself no matter how long you wait.

2. What can you pour down a toilet to unclog it?

Vinegar and baking soda solution or hot water are quite effective in unclogging toilets. What you don’t want to pour down a toilet is chemical drain cleaners as they are bad for the plumbing, not eco-friendly, and unsafe for a septic system.

3. How do you unclog a toilet when the water is high?

The first thing you do is drain the water bowl. Scoop the water and toilet paper/poop into a bucket before unclogging the toilet to avoid splashing.