How to Unclog a Toilet With Dish Soap and Hot Water

Last Updated on August 3, 2023 by toilethaven

Can You Use Dish Soap to Unclog a Toilet?

You cannot stay in a house with a clogged toilet, especially if your home has only one bathroom. Fortunately, there are many ways to unclog a toilet without a plunger or a toilet auger. Dish soap can and has been used successfully to unclog a toilet.

Due to the genius design of a toilet, most clogs are normally not too far away from the toilet bowl outlet. If you have checked the side of a toilet bowl, you must have noticed a U/S-shaped piece of pipe that joins the bowl to the drainpipe.

Niagara Stealth

This is called a toilet trap. After flushing the waste in the bowl, it moves up and then downwards in the trap. This is where the siphoning or suctioning of the toilet occurs.

Most toilets clogs are, however, unable to maneuver through the trap and are therefore stuck there, resulting in a clogged toilet.

When you pour dish soap inside the bowl, it will contact this clog. The dish soap will penetrate and lubricate it, making it easy to flow down the drainpipe.

To unclog a toilet using dish soap, start by completely draining the bowl, then pour half a cup of dish soap and wait for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, boil a gallon of water and dump it in the bowl. While the soap lubricates the clog, hot water breaks it down and flushes it out.

Just like the many other methods of unclogging a toilet, this method is not foolproof, and it, therefore, does not guarantee results.

How to Use Dish Soap to Unclog a Toilet

This is a step-by-step guide on how to unclog a toilet with dish soap and hot water. The water should, however, not be boiling. Too hot water can cause the toilet to crack.

1. Drain the toilet bowl

You want to introduce the dish soap as close as possible to the clog for fast and effective results. A clogged toilet will be full of water or even overflowing. It is also not unusual to have a clogged toilet with poop or toilet paper.

I know this sounds gross, but you will need to drain the bowl. The faster you do it, the faster you get over and done with it.

Use a cup to scoop and empty the water from the bowl into a bucket. Do your best to remove as much water as possible. Please remember to have on rubber gloves.

2. Pour the dish soap


Pour half a cup of dish soap into the toilet bowl and let it sit for about 20 minutes. The dish soap will slowly flow up the toilet trap, penetrating and lubricating the clog. This will make it easy for the clog to flow down the drain.

3. Add the hot water

How to unclog a toilet using hot water

As you let the dish soap sit in the bowl, go to the kitchen and heat about 2 gallons of water if you can get the hot water from a bathroom sink, the better.

After 20 minutes, quickly dump the water inside the toilet bowl. Do not, however, dump it so fast that it splashes on your face. It is always a good idea to face away from the bowl while dumping the water.

Hot water is more effective in softening and dissolving clogs than cold water. After dumping the hot water, the toilet will either unclog immediately, or it might take some time for it to work with the dish soap. You should, therefore, give it about 10 minutes to see if the water in the bowl will drain.

If the Dish Soap Does not unclog a Toilet

If the dish soap did not manage to unclog your toilet the first time, you may decide to repeat the process. Some toilet clogs are more stubborn than others.

If, even after the second time, your toilet remains clogged, it is time to explore other methods. Here are other methods you can also use to unclog a toilet.

1. Use a Toilet Plunger

You may be surprised that the dish soap has done all the hard work, and all that is remaining is for the plunger to give the clog a slight push to dislodge it. A toilet plunger works by creating a pressure differential in the clog.

For best results, you should use a bell-shaped plunger. Unlike the flat-cupped plungers, bell-shaped plungers have a flange at the front, which helps to seal around the toilet bowl outlet tightly.

Before starting to plunge, make sure that the water level in the bowl is at the half-full mark. This prevents it from splashing as you plunge and also makes sure air does not enter the plunger.

Plunge the toilet for about 5 minutes; hopefully, the clog will be dislodged. If you do not have a plunger, here are several ways to unclog a toilet without a plunger.

2. Use a Toilet Auger

A toilet auger is a long (3 to 6 feet long) cable with a spring-like head and a cranking handle used to unclog toilets by hooking and pulling the clogs out. It also shreds them into smaller pieces that can easily flow down the drain.

If dish soap could not unclog the toilet for you, most likely, the clog was very solid and very far from the toilet bowl (in the toilet drain), making the toilet auger the only viable option.

Using a toilet auger the first time may be challenging if you have never used one before. Here is a detailed guide on how to use a toilet auger.

3. Call in a Plumber

Plumber unclogging toilet

If you have tried to unclog a toilet unsuccessfully using dish soap and anything else, it is time to call in an expert. Although I always encourage people to unclog a toilet to save on the plumber’s fee, some toilet clogs will only cede ground to a plumber.

How to Unclog Toilet Rim Holes Using Dish Soap

If you live in an area with hard water and especially calcium, your toilet bowl rim holes will, after some time, get clogged as the calcium gets deposited around them. This will lead to a toilet with a weak flush or a slow flushing toilet.

Such a toilet is a prime candidate for clogging. You should frequently use dish soap to keep the siphon jet and rim holes open at all times.

Remove your toilet tank lid and place it away in a safe place. Pour a small amount of dish soap down the overflow tube. The overflow tube is the large tube in the middle of the toilet tank.

The dish soap will dissolve the calcium and therefore open the rim holes. I suggest that you do this at least once a month. You could also use vinegar in the place of dish soap.

To prevent your toilet from constantly clogging, use minimal toilet paper, don’t flush anything that should not be flushed, and pour hot water down your toilet bowl often.