How to Unblock a Toilet

By Alex Beckwith

13th Oct 2022

5 mins read

DIY & Technical

A blocked toilet is an inconvenience that many of us will endure. We are coming to the rescue with a step-by-step guide on how to clear your blockage with or without a plunger.


How to Unblock a Toilet

A blocked toilet is something that can really ruin your day and getting a plumber out to look at it can be costly, especially when it isn't always necessary. Whether you have a plunger or not, there are many ways you can unblock a toilet with items that are commonly found in your home.

To save you the time and energy of brainstorming the different techniques, we have listed the best ways for how you can unblock your toilet!

Arezzo Matt Black Rimless Wall Hung Toilet
Arezzo Matt Black Rimless Wall Hung Toilet

Unblocking a Toilet with a Plunger

What you need:

  • Plunger
  • Bucket
  • Towel
  • Rubber Gloves

1. Prep Your Area

Make sure you prep around your toilet area for mess. Get some old towels or newspaper that will allow you to mop up any overspill. Don’t wear your best clothes either, get out those old shorts and tops and get some rubber gloves on. Protection is key!


2. Stop Your Toilet From Overflowing

In most modern toilets there is a shutoff valve that is made for situations like this as the shutoff valve allows you to unblock your toilet without the fear of overflowing. This is usually found on the pipe coming off the wall and can be turned clockwise to shut off.

If you're struggling to locate your valve or you have an old toilet, your next focus is the float. Take off the lid to the cistern and the float is the ball-like object that is used to fill the water back up once the water level drops. If you use a clothes hanger to keep this upright, it will also prevent the toilet from overflowing.


3. Get Plunging

Now it's time to get plunging. Once you place your plunger to the bottom of the toilet bowl, you will be able to seal it to create a vacuum, you can then pull it back up to try and unclog the obstruction. Repeating this movement will allow you to eventually have the water drain and become unblocked, usually taking around 10 minutes.

Wall Hung Toilet with Dual Flush Concealed WC Cistern + Wall Hung Frame
Wall Hung Toilet with Dual Flush Concealed WC Cistern + Wall Hung Frame

If you do not have a plunger to hand there’s no need to worry. Take a look below at our favourite methods that use household items effectively.


Unblocking a Toilet without a Plunger: Washing-Up Liquid Method

When using the washing-up liquid method, there are two things you need: washing up liquid (obviously) and hot water


1. The Washing-Up Liquid

Start by squeezing washing up liquid into your toilet bowl so that it covers around the water line and into the water itself.


2. Leave to Dissolve

Leave your liquid for around half-an-hour to help begin to dissolve and dislodge the blockage


3. Flush with Hot Water

Flush the solution with a bucket of hot water to help force the blockage along. Leave for another 10 minutes and with luck your blockage will have dislodged. If not, repeat the process.


Unblocking a Toilet without a Plunger: Soda & Vinegar Method

If the washing up liquid trick hasn’t been effective for you, then our favourite duo bicarb of soda and white vinegar might be your saviour.


1. The Solution

Pour into your toilet a cup of bicarb and a cup of white vinegar and leave for 15 minutes.


2. The Flush

Once this has fully dissolved, flush another bucket of water down the toilet to help move it along. Repeat if there has been some effect.


Unblocking a Toilet without a Plunger: Wire Hanger Method

If you have still had no luck fully clearing your blockage, a wire coat hanger could be the trick!


1. The Hanger

Find a wire ahnger out of your wardrobe and unwind your it until it is straight


2. Push

push through the pipe to force along any blockage. Using the previous methods before this is a big help with this to help break down any large parts of the blockage, making pushing it back slightly easier.

If the problem still persists, then I'm afraid it’s time to call in the experts, at least your call will be justified!

Arezzo Compact Concealed Cistern with Polished Chrome Flush Plate
Arezzo Compact Concealed Cistern with Polished Chrome Flush Plate


As always, prevention is more effective than a remedy. Here are some ways you can help prevent any blockages in your toilet:

  • Clean your toilet regularly to avoid buildup of limescale and other debris
  • Avoid flushing large amounts of toilet paper and any non-flushable items (especially kitchen roll)
  • Keep the lid closed at times when you can to avoid anything falling into the toilet bowl
  • Avoid flushing any food products

Well there you have it, hopefully your toilet is fully unblocked and you are doing everything you can to prevent it. If you need any tips and tricks on limescale removal, then take a look at our How to Remove Limescale From a Toilet blog.

Alex Beckwith

Alex Beckwith

Alex is one of our bathroom bloggers here at Victorian Plumbing. You'll find him regularly blogging about fun bathroom trends as well as writing DIY guides.

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