How to Unclog a Toilet That Won’t Flush

We’ve all been there—you flush the toilet, and instead of everything swirling down the drain as it is supposed to, the water level starts rising ominously. A clogged toilet can be a real headache, especially if you don’t know how to tackle it. Fortunately, unclogging a toilet is a skill anybody can learn. This guide from the plumbing authorities at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing will walk you through a few effective methods to unclog a toilet that won’t flush, helping you feel prepared the next time you face this ordinary household task.

The Trusty Plunger Trick

The most common means for unclogging a toilet is with a plunger. But don’t just reach for the first plunger you see in the aisle at the store. It’s essential to use a flange plunger that is specially made for toilet bowls. The rubber flange on the cup produces a better seal to build up the pressure needed to dislodge the clog. Here’s how to use a plunger correctly:

    1. Be sure there’s some water in the bowl. If there isn’t, add water from the sink using a cup.
    1. Place the plunger at an angle to make certain the flange goes into the hole at the bottom of the bowl.
    1. Push the plunger up and down several times, being cautious not to lose the seal.
    1. After several plunges, pause to see if the water starts going down. If not, resume plunging. But if so, remove the plunger and flush to see if the clog is gone.

No Plunger? No Problem!

While every home should have at least one plunger, you may not have gotten around to making this purchase yet after moving to a new place. Here are a few alternative methods to unclog a toilet if you don’t have a plunger.

Unclogging with Hot Water and Soap

Hot water and soap is a surprisingly great substitute for a toilet plunger. This approach works well for softer clogs that need a gentle push. Here’s what to do:

    1. Remove some water from the toilet bowl if it’s too full. Scoop the dirty water out of the bowl with an old cup and dump it in your tub or shower drain.
    1. Add a substantial amount of dish soap or liquid detergent into the bowl. The soap helps lubricate the clog, making it easier for it to push along the pipes.
    1. Carefully pour a bucket of hot (not boiling) water from waist height into the bowl. The force of the water coupled with the slippery soap should dislodge the clog.
    1. Let the soap and hot water sit in the bowl for about 20 minutes, giving it time to work its magic.
    1. Try to flush the toilet. If the water drains down the pipe, you’ve properly unclogged your toilet!

Use Baking Soda and Vinegar to Unclog a Toilet

Baking soda and vinegar is a powerful concoction. Here’s how to attempt this environment-friendly tool for unclogging toilets:

    1. 1Remove unwanted water from the bowl to avoid an overflow.
    1. Pour about a cup of baking soda right into the toilet bowl, then pour in two cups of white vinegar. The combination of baking soda and vinegar produces a fizzing action that breaks down the clog. Put in the vinegar slowly to reduce the chance of overflow from the fizzing reaction.
    1. Let the mixture sit in the bowl for at least 20 minutes.
    1. After waiting, give the toilet a flush. If the water flows easily, your problem is solved. If not, try a different method or call a plumber for help.

How to Unclog Your Toilet with a Coat Hanger

This strategy is particularly effective for clogs caused by foreign objects or heavy materials. It calls for making a DIY drain auger out of an old coat hanger. Follow these steps:

    1. Unwind a wire coat hanger until it’s fairly straight.
    1. Wrap a small cloth around the end of the hanger and attach it with duct tape to guard your toilet bowl from scratches.
    1. Place the wrapped end into the toilet and carefully push it down the drain hole.
    1. Maneuver the hanger in many directions to free the clog. Keep in mind you need to be gentle to avoid harming the porcelain or plumbing.
    1. After a few minutes of careful prodding and poking, take out the hanger and try flushing the toilet. If the water drains like it is supposed to, you’re right as rain. If the problem lingers, it may be time to call in the experts at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

Trust Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing for Your Plumbing Needs in the U.S.

While the strategies detailed above work for simple clogs, some circumstances call for professional support. If you’ve tried plunging or other methods without success, contact the pros at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing for help. We know how inconvenient a clogged toilet and other plumbing problems can be in a home or business. That’s why our highly trained plumbers provide speedy, long-lasting solutions. Leave the dirty work to us, and we’ll ensure your 100% satisfaction. To schedule our skilled plumbing services in the U.S. and neighboring towns, call 866-397-3787 today!

Savings For You

See All Offers Here >


  • Save $50 on a Paid Service
  • Written 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
  • Plus, ask how to save an additional 15% and waive your trip charge!


  • Prevent costly damage from water leaks, drain clogs and tank damage
  • Written 100% Expert Service Guarantee

© 2024 Service Experts, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, and the Service Experts logo and design are registered trademarks of Service Experts LLC and used under license by SE Canada Inc. All Rights Reserved. *Not applicable to the Advantage Program. See your signed Advantage Program Agreement for full details and exclusions. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is subject to certain restrictions and limitations as set forth in the applicable Terms and Conditions.

Chat with a Service Experts Professional