Fixing a Clogged Toilet

Category Plumbing
When your toilet gets clogged, you don't necessarily need to call a plumber. There are ways you can remove the clog yourself. This is a page about fixing a clogged toilet.


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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.
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  3. 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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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

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
Best Answer

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
Best Answer

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, 20170 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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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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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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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.

By zyxwvu from NY


Clogged Toilet

Maybe the best bet would be to remove the toilet. Take it outside and and work on it. Also inspect the waste pipe. Not difficult to do. I have done it a few times when material gets stuck and nothing will remove the clog. (12/07/2009)

By judy

Clogged Toilet

I am very sorry. I am a great grandmother now, but was a single mom for many years and I did something similar to myself one horrible week.

First, I had to do all repairs, chores, etc on my days off.

So on day one I went to get a big bale of hay for my angora rabbits (I was learning to spin). It weighed 70 pounds and of course I tweaked my back as I maneuvered it out of the truck and up the stairs and into the back yard. Then a burglar came out of the house that evening, carrying my brand new sewing machine, still in it's box. I struggled with him (I did get it back), But in the tussle, he hit me with a heavy object which gave me a magenta "black" eye. Still, there was one more day off, and I decided to clean the fridge the next day and threw some leftover soup into the toilet, as we didn't have a disposal. You guessed it. I forgot there were little bones in the bottom of the pot (I was trying to make oxtail soup, not a hit, so there was so much leftover it hid the bones). I couldn't get that toilet to flush, no matter what. Called brother (at work, a fireman, on 24 hour shift, couldn't wait for him, needed the toilet) for directions.

You may as well learn how to fix a toilet. It's not too expensive.

Go to your local hardware/diy store and get a toilet seal appropriate for your brand/shape/type of toilet.
If you don't have a wrench, you will need the smaller type with the adjustable head. It's called a crescent wrench, and is 8-10 inches long, with a screw thingy you turn to adjust for different size bolts.

Turn off water under toilet: there's that small little handle, and flush a couple of times to remove every bit of water you can. Finish removing water using small cups and towels to soak up remaining water in tank first.Put soggy towels in tub, but have dry ones waiting on floor for porcelain parts, which are the tank and the seat parts of the toilet.
After emptying the tank as above, and removing any bolts underneath lifty carefully and set on floor on towels.

Carefully loosen bolts in floor, which told the seat, right to tighten, left to loosen [righty-tighty, lefty-Loosey]. Never apply over wrenching when dealing with porcelain [toilet]. Sufficient and no more.

Work toilet from base and place on rugs, having emptied it as much as possible before lifting.
Remove offending object. Scrape all old seal up, place new one exactly where old one was, replace toilet,
put on bolts, tighten enough but no more. Follow any directions on seal package, etc. Replace tank. Double check your work before turning the water back on. [Make sure tank is level, etc.

As i worked on my toilet, I caught a picture of myself in the mirror. Magenta face, pained expression from back tweak, etc...

I've used that episode to remind myself if I have to, I can function under almost any circumstances, though I try very hard not to repeat it...and I still have the sewing machine.



Clogged Toilet

Wow! The dish soap and hot (not boiling) water then using the plunger worked like a charm! I had been using the plunger to no avail, went to the auger but couldn't figure out how to use the darned thing, then went to the internet for a solution and found this one. Thank you! (02/16/2010)

By Sandy

Clogged Toilet

Tried the dish washing soap and hot water... amazing! Thanks to whoever posted.. and thanks to all who posted their success with the clogged toilet fix! i never would of believed if we didn't try. We won't be running 4 flights down to the buildings rec center to use their washroom. Thank goodness. (03/19/2010)

By imabeliever

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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. Is there any way to clear the toilet with out taking the toilet apart or calling a plumber? My husband is dreading the possibility of taking the toilet apart. Looking for some help.

By peggy from Cleveland


Clogged Toilet

If you can not reach the roller you will have to take the toilet apart. If your child is so young she doesn't know yet not to drop things into the toilet it isn't safe for her to be in the bathroom alone. GeT a toilet lid lock for the future. (08/20/2009)

By Linda L.

Clogged Toilet

Yes will have to take the toilet apart, but be sure to have another wax ring for sealing the bottom when you put the toilet back on the floor. (08/20/2009)

By Pam

Clogged Toilet

Use what is called a plumbers snake it has a coil wire that you crank down into the bowl until you find the blockage then just roll it back in and bring the blockage out. (08/20/2009)

By debbie

Clogged Toilet

My husband took a wire coat hanger and bent a hook on the end to use on a couple of occasions when our grandson put a toy or something in the toilet that we had to try to "fish out". It took quite a bit of time, and work, on the one toy, but he finally hooked it. (08/21/2009)

By emmamamie

Clogged Toilet

Do not use boiling water in a cold commode. My dad is a plumber and it will crack the bowl. It could even shatter it. Go to a hardware store and buy a snake or some kind of plumbing tool to "fish" out the clog or break it. (09/09/2009)

By Brenda Rebholz

Clogged Toilet

So, I frantically Googled "clogged toilet", after my husband tried relentlessly to get our pooper to break free. We had such a mess. I picked up an auger at Home Depot for $8, and thought it would do the trick. After 2 hours of plunging, an hour of cranking an auger and countless times flushing with our fingers crossed only to have the yucky water rise to the rim, I was about to give up and call that bathroom "off limits".

Then I read the posts about Dawn. Amazing. It really worked. I poured it down, followed it by hot water and my husband went to plunging. That beautiful gurgling sound was music to my ears. No more clog. Thank you. (10/10/2009)

By Lisa

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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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May 21, 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.

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July 5, 2005

My toilet gets clogged all the time. I plunge it and get it to empty slowly. Could really use some suggestions of what I could do to correct this problem.

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