Fixing a Clogged Toilet

August 20, 2013

I had a clogged toilet that I could not fix! I tried the dawn soap, an auger, taking off the toilet and snaking the drain, vinegar and baking soda, drain cleaner; nothing worked, until . . .


I shut the water off of the toilet (not the main water line), stuck my wet vac in there and boom! Gobs of toilet paper were sucked out, unclogging the brand new toilet I just purchased (American Standard 4).

To make sure you've completely unclogged the toilet, turn water back on and dump 1 gallon of hot water (not boiling, it can crack porcelain). If it flushes, your clog is gone!

I think I will do monthly maintenance by using vinegar and baking soda just to ensure no more horrible clogs. Definitely saved a few hundred bucks. If you don't have a wet vac, you can rent one at Home Depot.


  • 1 Wet Vac
  • 1 gal Hot (not boiling) water


  1. After you wet vac toilet, take it off the wax ring and wet vac the inside of the toilet. Do not wet vac the drainage pipe, as you could possibly extract sewage, or even worse, your neighbors sewage.
  2. Re-snake the toilet, if you wish, but I used the wet vac to BLOW out the remains of the clog. Turns out, it was massive wads of either toilet paper or feminine products (the latter of the two is my guess, as TP is made to dissolve).

The annoying part is I just purchased the toilet and haven't had this problem before. Therefore, I strongly advise against this model. Had I read the reviews, I would not have purchased this model. Be sure to put new wax ring on and then put hot water down the toilet. If it still has a clog, sorry, it's your plumbing.

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15 Questions

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July 16, 2010

I had the same nagging question many others did; how do I unclog this toilet? It happens to me routinely, without any paper.

By Denise M. from Eaton, CO


July 17, 20101 found this helpful
Best Answer

Get yourself an auger, aka a snake. You just need to crank it until it extends itself into the plumbing, and then reel it back in (with whatever is plugging). Sometimes it will also push whatever is causing the backup too. Most chemical drain openers are not for use in a toilet-just so you'll know. Good luck!

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July 21, 20101 found this helpful
Best Answer

You most likely got some tree roots going on. They plug the outlet going to the street. Tree roots can burrow into many things, pipes, brick. Just spent $4,000 on digging up son's yard (rents from us) as tree roots live a long time under ground even when the on ground trees are gone.

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December 17, 20104 found this helpful
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After 2 days of plunging I was at my wits end looking for answers. I came across this site, saw the 1/4 cup of Dawn dish detergent, followed by a few gallons of hot water remedy, tried it & after two goes, it worked! I wouldn't have believed something so simple would actually work. After reading the other posts, I too would recommend hot tap water, not boiling water, and would wait for the porcelain to cool to room temp. before flushing the toilet with the cooler water in the tank.

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January 6, 2012

What can I try to unclog a toilet? I have plunged it for two days, but the water still just fills up.

By Bonita


January 8, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

If you've been trying a plunger without success, it usually means there is something attached to the walls of the piping, like accumulations of fats and hair, other debris, for example, creating a partial blockage. The plunging is enough to force the water to drain, but only under the applied force of the plunger-once you stop the force action everything starts to back up again.

Have you tried pouring boiling water following by a tablespoon of Dawn Dishwashing liquid down the drain to dissolve whatever is blocking the pipes? There are several different home brews you can try, hopefully someone will post a few-using a drain opener fluid like Liquid Plumber or Draino works too but trying a more eco/budget-friendly method first is best.

If a home brew doesn't clear the blockage completely, you can try the commercial preparations, or you can buy a drain snake.

Follow the directions with the drain snake, and try clearing the blockage that way.

A drain snake is a good thing to have in your tool box and they aren't that expensive to buy anymore. There are very cheap ones in the dollar stores (USA) but for a very few dollars more you can get a good one from the D-I-Y centre. I've always had one, renter or homeowner, it came in handy with two children at home. They're grown now and have children of their own-guess what each has in their took box, lol!

I live in the UK now, and have convinced my new husband that we need one of these in our tool kit:)

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February 13, 2014

My toilet is clogged. I have no problems with the other drains in my house, but when I wash the dishes and the laundry, there are bubbles that come up through the toilet. After the bubbles come up through the toilet, we're not able to flush the toilet. If we do flush the toilet after we see the bubbles, the toilet will immediately back up. If we stop running the water for the dishes and the washing machine, then we'll see the water decrease in the toilet. Sometimes it takes almost half an hour for the toilet to begin flushing normally again.

Can anyone help me with my dilemma? I can't afford a plumber. And I just want to know if there is a chemical liquid out there that I can pour down the toilet and get on with my day.

By Tiffany S. from Gary, IN


February 15, 20140 found this helpful
Best Answer

I don't think that chemicals are the way to go with this clog. Have you tried vigorous plunging when you have sealed off all the other drains? That is worth a try. If that doesn't work, you might have to use a snake to unclog the drain. I have never done this, but I believe it is something that a home handyperson can handle. You can buy them at hardware stores, and someone there MAY be able to explain how to use it. Perhaps you can google for info on how to use one.

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February 15, 20140 found this helpful
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I would call your city sewer department and they will come out and check the main line leading to your house. They won't charge you anything. That may not be the problem but I would give it a dry.

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My toilet is running slowly and is resisting all attempts to clear it. I have thus far tried: white vinegar and baking soda with hot water overnight, a plunger designed for toilets, repeatedly, and the one that used to always work for me when I owned a house using a snake (plumber's toilet augur), several times. That lattermost is the one I know best how to do, and I bought a brand new one.

I just moved to this otherwise nice apartment in November after selling my home. I suspect this is an older low-flow toilet on pipes built for high-flow, and the water is somewhat hard here, but I didn't see any sign of mineral buildup. There isn't a wad of paper stuck in there as I didn't hook anything on the augur. The tank fills the bowl properly.

I am physically disabled and over 50. I am not capable of taking up the toilet and I'd rather avoid calling in my landlord if possible. Does anyone have any other suggestions or do I need to call him?


March 13, 20171 found this helpful

You said it is "running slowly". Is it flushing slowly or filling up slowly? Is there a chance that the water to it is turned down so slow that it lacks the water pressure to flush and fill more quickly? Have you tried to adjust the valve at the water pipe where it comes in from the wall to the toilet?

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March 13, 20170 found this helpful

Look under the rim of the toilet. Some of the holes may be blocked. Use a wire coat hanger to unclog them. One of the benefits of renting is that this is not your responsibility. Why wouldn't you call the landlord?

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March 14, 20171 found this helpful

Contact the landlord would be my first suggestion but you must have some reason for not wanting to do this - so -on to other suggestions.
Are you saying the toilet is slow draining and also slow filling?
If that is the case then you may need to increase the water flow and that is easily done with the faucet found on the pipes near the back of the commode.
If that is not the problem then it is possible the holes under the rim may be clogged and these can be opened with a straightened paper clip or wire of some sort.
If that is not the problem then here are some suggestions for trying the plunger again (from my neighbor - plumbers helper)
1. Make your first plunge a gentle one. Initially the bell is full of air. A hard thrust will force the air back around the seal and blow water all over the bathroom and you!
2. Once you force out the air, plunge vigorously in and out, maintaining the seal. You'll be forcing water both directions in the drain, which will effectively loosen most clogs. Stick with it, plunging 15 to 20 times if necessary.
3. Be patient. Try alternating between steady strokes and occasional monster heaves.
4. Keep enough water in the bowl so the plunger stays covered. Trying to force air through the toilet trap won't generate much pressure.
Good luck but you may still have to contact your landlord.

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October 20, 2016

My toilet has been clogged and I tried snaking it down and even used a plunger. I couldn't fix it and the water seems to back-up. Does anyone have help with suggestions and comments?


October 23, 20160 found this helpful

Try squirting about 1/4 cup of dish detergent into the toilet. Wait about 15 minutes or so, and see if that clears it up. Works for us! Good luck.

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March 12, 2010

I had a rather large BM, but only used a small amount of toilet paper. At first the paper appeared stuck near the bottom of the toilet. I flushed a bit and tried hot water with dish soap. Now the bowl looks clear, but when I flush, the water drains extremely slowly. Help. Please.

By Macie from Sacramento, CA


February 18, 20150 found this helpful

There are five things that can cause a slow-flush toilet, so be sure to check all of them. (1) tank isn't filling completely, so not enough water in the bowl (2) clogged drain (3) clogged rim holes (4) clogged siphon jet (in low-flow toilets), or (5) blocked up air vents (on the roof). You can find solutions for each of these online

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May 1, 2014

I have a dual toilet. How can the toilet be fixed from flushing solids down the liquids drain?

I have already noticed the problem is that the solids are clogged, but the entire toilet still flushes and bowl stops when full of water. The tank won't stop filling with water, so I turned off the water to the toilet currently, to stop wasting water.

By Fronz D. from Toronto, ON

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May 22, 2017

Mouthwash can be effective for helping unclog certain types of toilet clogs. This is a page about mouthwash to unclog a toilet.


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April 27, 2019

If you have trouble getting your toilet to flush even after plunging, check out the technique here to clear the flow. This is a page about using dish soap to unclog toilet.

Hand in a rubber glove holding pink dish soap.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

July 16, 2010

Please help me out. My commode has clogged because of baby diaper. I tried to clear the clog with soap and hot water and with a toilet snake. Nothing has work out, please save me from this trouble.

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December 6, 2009

My daughter dropped half the plastic toilet paper roll holder down the toilet. Now of course the toilet will not flush.

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August 16, 2009

My 3 year old flushed a banana down the toilet. Now when I flush it, it drains down slow and it will back up. If any one has any ideas on how to unclog it please let me know.

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