The Best Way to Unclog A Toilet When Nothing Works
Last Updated on May 18, 2022 by toilethaven
Have you tried unclogging your toilet but nothing seems to work? Unclogging a toilet can be a really easy task or a hard one, depending on what exactly is clogging it.
It is worse if the clog is something that cannot dissolve in water or disintegrate into small pieces, and is tightly stuck inside the toilet trap or drainpipe. So, how do you unclog a toilet that won’t unclog no matter what you do?
The best way to unclog a toilet when nothing works is by uninstalling it and physically pulling out the clog from the bottom of the toilet. Since toilet drain lines have a diameter of 3 or 4 inches, removing the toilet also gives you an easy access of the drain line for successful snaking.
Before you however come to the conclusion that you have tried to unclog a toilet in every way but nothing is working, let us see what you should have tried.
1. How to Unclog a Toilet With a Plunger
A toilet plunger has a long cup and a rubber cup at the front. It uses a suction and pumping action to unclog a toilet.
The first plunge should always be a gentle one to make sure the plunger has properly engaged the toilet outlet. After that you can then plunge more aggressively.
A toilet plunger works by pushing more water forcefully through the toilet trap. If a clog is lodged at the trap, it is forced down the toilet drain. More on how to plunge properly on this post.
2. How to Unclog a Toilet With a Toilet Snake
A toilet snake is a coiled wire with what looks like a hook at the front. It is fed through the toilet outlet and into the trap. The handle is then cranked mostly clockwise to try and break the clog into small pieces.
If you have a towel or rag clogging your toilet, the snake will hook it and you can bring it out to the surface.
Snaking a toilet is however not very easy especially if you have never done it before. I have written a whole article on how to snake a toilet like a plumber. Read it here.
3. How to Unclog a Toilet With Dish Soap
This is one of the ways to unclog a toilet without a plunger or a snake. Pour half a cup of dish soap in the toilet bowl. Hopefully the dish soap will lubricate the clog after some time, and it will move along the drainpipe.
Most people pour a bucket of hot water in the bowl after approximately 30 minutes to give the dish soap a bit of an oomph. If you have a clogged overflowing toilet then this method will clearly not work for you.
Dish soap works really well especially when combined with hot water. Read more on that here.
4. How to Unclog a Toilet Using Baking Soda and Vinegar
You will need your toilet bowl to be about half full to start with. Pour one cup of baking soda in the bowl followed slowly by another cup of vinegar. A reaction/effervescence/fizzling will follow. Hopefully this will extend into the clog which break into smaller pieces and unclog the toilet.
5. How to Unclog a Toilet Using Saran Wrap
How do you unclog a toilet full of water without a plunger? A saran wrap. Cover the entire bowl opening with saran wrap several times to make sure it is watertight.
Flush the toilet to force more water between the clog and the seal. Using your palms apply maximum force into the top of the bowl
The applied pressure will be way more than that in the drainpipe. This may force the clog to be sucked into the drain and thereby unclogging the toilet. It is another great way of unclogging a toilet without a plunger.
There are even more ways to unclog a toilet without a plunger. See more of that in this post.
If you have tried to unclog your toilet using all of the above methods and nothings works, you still have one more bullet to use.
How to Unclog When Nothing is Working
As mentioned, the best way to unclog a toilet when nothing seems works is by removing it, get the clog out and then installing it back. Some clogs are tightly held in the trap or way deep inside the drainpipe and no matter how much you plunge or snake the toilet it will not unclog.
Removing a Toilet is a simple task which you can comfortably do. Prior to removing the toilet, you will need to know how to drain the toilet. If you attempt to remove the toilet without draining the toilet your entire bathroom and maybe house will be one big mess.
When the toilet is clogged, you cannot flush the tank empty. The toilet will start to overflow. You therefore start by draining the toilet.
- A short hose pipe
- Empty bucket
- Adjustable wrench
- Flathead screwdriver
- Putty knife
- Old rag/towel
- Mini-hacksaw (optional)
- Wax ring/seal
- Toilet bolts and washers (optional)
- Rubber gloves
How to Drain a Toilet Tank
Step 1: Turn off water supply
To turn off water supply to the toilet, find the shut off valve located on the wall behind the toilet.
Turn this valve clockwise. If you have a push/pull valve, pull it outwards
Step 2: Siphon water out of the toilet tank
- Remove the toilet tank lid and place it away in a secure place.
- Fold the hose into a U-shape and fill it with water till both ends are overflowing. Remember to have your gloves on.
- Block each end of the hose with a thumb.
- Carefully introduce one end of the hose deep into the toilet tank with your thumb still firmly on its outlet.
- Direct the other end inside an empty bucket and remove both thumbs at once.
- The water in the tank will flow into the bucket until only a small volume remains.
- Use the sponge to mop out the remaining water and squeeze it into the bucket.
- Make sure the toilet tank is mopped dry.
How to Drain a Toilet Bowl
This is where it gets tricky and even gross. If your toilet is overflowing but with clean water, you are in luck. Use the same hose pipe used to drain the toilet tank to drain the bowl.
If the clogged toilet is overflowing and with toilet paper or even poop, you will not enjoy your next few minutes very much.
You will literally need to scoop out the waste with a small cup and empty it into a buckets. You must have your rubber gloves on. The faster you do it the faster you are over and done with it.
Once most of the water was been removed from the bowl, there is still a small amount of water left at the bottom of the toilet bowl. Use the sponge to mop all of it out and squeeze into the bucket.
Remember if you don’t remove all this water it will spill all over your bathroom once you remove the toilet.
How to Remove a Toilet
- The first thing is to remove the toilet bolts. A toilet has two bolts, one on each side. The bolts are hooked up to the toilet flange. A toilet flange is a circular pipe fitting that connects the toilet to the drain pipe and also offers a medium for toilet anchorage.
- Often, the bolts are covered with plastic caps. Use the flathead screwdriver to pry the caps off.
- Use the adjustable wrench to loosen the nuts. Sometimes the nuts are corroded and will not come off. Cut them off with the mini-hacksaw while being careful not to cut the toilet body.
- Once the toilet bolts are 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 on top of the newspapers now spread on the floor. Be careful toilets can weigh up to 80 pounds. Getting an extra pair of hand would be great.
- Look inside the drainpipe. If the clog is laying at the top of the drain pull it out. Plug the drainpipe off with the old rag/towel. This prevents sewer gases from coming up to your bathroom or house.
Now that the toilet is out and laying on its side, it should be easy to remove whatever was clogging your toilet. If it was being held in the trap you simply pull it out with your hand.
If unfortunately you are unable to find the clog, most likely it is deep inside the drainpipe whereby you need to snake it, which is very easy without a toilet. This is however not very likely to happen
The U-shape of the trap makes it very hard for clogs to negotiate through and enter the drainpipe. You are therefore almost sure to unclog your toilet after removing it.
Now that you have unclogged your toilet, it is time to install the toilet. Another simple task.
How to Install a Toilet
- Use the putty knife to scrape off old wax from the toilet flange and the toilet outlet. Throw away the old wax ring. A wax ring cannot be reused.
- Examine the condition of the flange. If it is worn out or broken it will need to be replaced. Replacing a toilet flange is an easy task especially now toilet you have the toilet removed.
- If you had initially cut off your bolts, slot the new ones in place.
- Gently slide the new toilet wax ring on the toilet outlet being careful not to deform it. Some plumbers prefer setting the wax ring on the flange then installing the toilet on top. The problem with that method is that you will not be sure if the wax ring has fully engaged the toilet once installed. It can also shift around while installing the toilet.
- Instead of using a wax ring, you could also use a rubber gasket seal which is less messy. The rubber gasket seal sits on top of the flange and is held in place by the two bolts. Fluidmaster’s Better Than Wax seal is a good choice. Find more on wax rings here.
- Once the wax ring/rubber seal is in place, lift off the toilet and bring it above the toilet flange.
- Lower it gently, aligning the bolts to the two holes on the base of the toilet. Again, if you can get someone to help you with the alignment your work will be easier.
- Once the toilet is flush off the floor, hold the bowl with both hands, push it down gently and rock it about to fully engage the wax ring,
- Feed a washer and nut into each bolt and hand tighten.
- Use the adjustable wrench to further tighten the nuts. Do not however tighten too much lest you crack the toilet.
- Remember to also tighten the two bolts alternatingly to keep the toilet level.
- Cut the protruding ends of the bolts above the nuts and cap them off.
With your clog removed and toilet installed, it is time to verify that indeed your toilet is unclogged and working fine.
Reconnect the Toilet Water Supply
- Open the toilet water supply valve and let the tank to fill up.
- Flush the toilet and watch what happens.
- Hopefully the toilet is working perfectly well.
- Put the toilet lid back on.
- Clean up all the tools and materials used.
- Thoroughly clean and disinfect your bathroom.
And that is how to unclog a toilet when nothing works. It is a long process but in most cases it works. The best thing is that you don’t even need to call in a plumber. Such a repair could set you back more than 200 dollars. Even plumbers don’t enjoy unclogging toilets with poop and paper in them.