The Best Way to Unclog A Toilet When Nothing Works
Last Updated on July 8, 2023 by toilethaven
Have you tried unclogging your toilet, but nothing seems to work? Unclogging a toilet can be straightforward or complicated, depending on what is clogging it.
It is worse if the clog 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 easy access to 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.
5 Solutions to Unclog A Toilet
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 suction and pumping action to unclog a toilet.
The first plunge should always be gentle to ensure the plunger has adequately 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 correctly in 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 an 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 into the toilet bowl. Hopefully, the dish soap will lubricate the clog after some time and move along the drainpipe.
Most people pour a bucket of hot water into the bowl after approximately 30 minutes to give the dish soap some oomph. If you have a clogged overflowing toilet, this method will not work for you.
Dish soap works 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. Pour one cup of baking soda into the bowl and another cup of vinegar. A reaction/effervescence/fizzling will follow. Hopefully, this will extend into the clog, which breaks 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 to 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 the above methods and nothing 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, getting 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 that 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 your 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 the water supply
To turn off the water supply to the toilet, find the shut-off valve 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 until both ends overflow. Remember to have your gloves on.
- Block each end of the hose with a thumb.
- Carefully introduce one hose end deep into the toilet tank with your thumb firmly on its outlet.
- Direct the other end inside an empty bucket and remove both thumbs simultaneously.
- 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. You are in luck if your toilet is overflowing but with clean water. Use the same hose pipe to drain the toilet tank to drain the bowl.
If the clogged toilet is overflowing with toilet paper or even poop, you will not enjoy your next few minutes very much.
You will need to scoop out the waste with a small cup and empty it into a bucket. It would be best if you had your rubber gloves on. The faster you do it, the faster you are over and done with it.
Once most of the water had been removed from the bowl, a small amount was still left at the bottom of the toilet bowl. Use the sponge to mop it out and squeeze it into the bucket.
Remember, if you don’t remove all this water, it will spill 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 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 gently rock it 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 hands would be great.
- Look inside the drainpipe. If the clog is lying 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 lying on its side, removing whatever was clogging your toilet should be easy. You pull it out with your hand if it is being held in the trap.
If, unfortunately, you cannot find the clog, it is most likely 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 old wax from the toilet flange and outlet. Throw away the old wax ring. A wax ring cannot be reused.
- Examine the condition of the flange. It will need to be replaced if worn out or broken. 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, careful not to deform it. Some plumbers prefer setting the wax ring on the flange and installing the toilet. 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 the toilet off and bring it above the flange.
- Lower it gently, aligning the bolts to the two holes on the toilet’s base. Again, your work will be easier if you can get someone to help you with the alignment.
- Once the toilet is flush off the floor, hold the bowl with both hands, push it down gently, and rock it about to engage the wax ring fully,
- Feed a washer and nut into each bolt and hand tighten.
- Use the adjustable wrench to tighten the nuts further. Do not, however, tighten too much lest you crack the toilet.
- Remember also to 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 your toilet is unclogged and working fine.
Reconnect the Toilet Water Supply
- Open the toilet water supply valve and let the tank 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 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.