How To Unclog A Toilet

A blocked toilet leaves dirty flush water in the bowl. The water can even overflow when it doesn’t flow at all. When it clogs and overflows, the floor becomes messed up with wastewater.

If your toilet is blocked and overflows, or maybe the gorge has risen, or the toilet canyon walls have lapped but are yet to top the rim, then it’s time to act.

plumber repairing a clogged toilet with a plunger

You may attempt to flush again, but this will be an unnecessary gamble. When having a clogged toilet, the first thing you should do is controlling the damage. Start with mopping up any water that may have spilled.

Next, assess the blockage to determine its nature. It might be a natural clog or congested by a foreign item. A natural clog can be removed by pushing the blockage through the drain using a plunger.

Foreign items are best removed with the help of a closet type of auger. Pushing foreign objects deeper into the drain may block it further and create a bigger problem.

In case the toilet, sink, and tub are all clogged at the same time, then the drain line serving all bathroom fixtures might be blocked. Your best bet would be seeking the services of a professional drain clearing company.

The trap tends to be the main area prone to clogs in a toilet. When a clog develops, flushing your toilet might not generate enough pressure to remove the clog.

Thus, flush water will back up and overflow. Modern traps on toilets with a water capacity of 1.6 gallons are usually designed with larger diameters. As such, it’s not easy for them to become clogged.


You may use a plunger to unclog your toilet. However, different plungers perform differently. A standard plunger basically consists of a rubber cup which is inverted in design. It is typically used for plunging showers, tubs, and sinks.

You can also find a flanged plunger/force cup, which is basically made to get into the toilet drain trap. A flanged plunger can be used as a regular plunger by folding the flange.



  • Closet auger
  • Plunger with a force cup/ foldout skirt
  • Towels

Required Skills: Working with a closet auger / Vigorous plunging

Difficulty Level: Relatively easy (It will take 15-30 minutes to complete this job)


NOTE: A flanged type of plunger will fit into the trap’s mouth and create a very tight seal. The seal will create pressure that’ll dislodge the clog, thereby sending it down the drain.

plumber placing towel around clogged toilet

Step 1:

Using a plunger is an easy way of removing “natural” clogs. First, lay some towels around the toilet base.

Remove any objects around the toilet to a safer and dry location. Plunging might splash wastewater and you wouldn’t want the wastewater to splash on other items.

It’s also advisable to allow a full toilet bowl to settle for 20-30 minutes for the flush water to flow to a lower level. You can as well remove the water with a small container.


A plunger should never be used to unclog a toilet that has been blocked with a washcloth or diaper or any object that can easily get pushed deeper into a drainpipe. Doing so might worsen the problem. You can use a closet type of auger to remove such objects.

Step 2:

The bowl should have enough water to ensure the plunger is completely covered. Fold the skirt of the plunger from inside.

This will create a tighter seal at the bottom opening of the toilet bowl.

Once you’re done folding the skirt, use the plunger to pump the bowl opening at the bottom vigorously.

Do this for about six times. Take some rest and pump again for another six times. Do this for around 10-15 cycles.

plumber placing towel around clogged toilet
create suction using plunger to unclog bloacked toilet

Step 3:

In case you’ve forced enough water through the bowl and you’re still unable to create a good suction with a plunger, then you can control the water amount in the toilet bowl by simply lifting the toilet flush valve from inside the tank.

Then try plunging again. Upon thinking that the clog has cleared, try flushing the toilet again.

Be ready to manually close the toilet flush valve with your hand in case water threatens to spill over the bowl.

If the clog has cleared, pour a 5-gallon bucket of water all at once into the bowl to get rid of any residual items that may have clogged the toilet.


NOTE: A closet type of auger features a semi-rigid cable in a tubing. The tube is usually bent at one end for easy snaking through the toilet trap to snag any blockages without scratching the trap.

plumber using closet auger on toilet

Step 1:

Take the end of your closet auger and put it at the bottom opening of the bowl. The tip of the auger should be fully withdrawn.

It usually has a rubber boot/sleeve that protects the porcelain. The tip should face backward and upwards, that’s the direction that the trap takes.

Step 2:

Rotate the auger clockwise by the handle while pushing the rod downwards into the trap. Then work the auger back and forward.

The rubber sleeve should be kept firmly pressed in the toilet bowl. If you feel any resistance, it means you have snagged the clog.

Now rotate the auger in a counterclockwise direction by the handle while withdrawing the cable alongside the clog.

plumber rotating closet auger to unblock toilet
plumber retracting closet auger after clearing toielt clog

Step 3:

Withdraw the auger fully upon recovering the object.

Although this might be a little bit frustrating, it’ll be easier than removing the entire toilet to unclog it.

By |2020-03-28T19:54:28+10:30May 14th, 2019|DIY Plumbing, Toilet|0 Comments

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