How to unblock a toilet – the quickest and easiest ways to unclog a WC

Unblocking a toilet, simple ways to job the job without a plunger
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  • How to unblock a toilet – that dreaded phrase you type into a search engine every few months. Sorry you had to find this page. We feel your pain. But thank goodness you have found it, because we have all the advice you need to get the job done.

    It might be the dirtiest, smelliest and most unglamorous bathroom job ever, but it’s really easy to do once you know how. Save yourself the costs of a plumber because this is one care and cleaning job you can tackle yourself, and with relative ease. It’s important every homeowner knows how to unclog a blocked toilet, because it can happen to anyone.

    Follow our handy guide for how to unblock a toilet, bookmark the page and you’ll have all the info you need whenever you find yourself reaching for the plunger.

    How to unblock a toilet

    How to unblock a toilet

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole

    First up you need to identify the type of blockage you’re dealing with, slow water drainage is the most common and easiest blockage to resolve. A more sever blockage may call for tougher measures.

    Don’t be tempted to keep trying the flush

    If you try it once and it doesn’t flush properly, it’s blocked and no further flushing is going to help you out. In fact flushing when it’s blocked can cause the water levels to rise and then you’re in bigger trouble. If you know there’s something stuck in your toilet (a child’s toy, a bottle of something that’s fallen in, you know the drill), reach for your gloves and pull it out. Although, if it’s something a bit, well, smellier, then it’s time to flex your plunger muscles.

    How to unblock a toilet with a wire coat hanger

    If you don’t have a plunger to hand, grab a wire coat hanger,

    • Unwind the metal coat hanger so you have one piece of long wire
    • Bend it into a curve to allow the length of metal to navigate the curves within the waste pipe.
    • Push the wire up into the toilet and wiggle gently to push the blockage of toilet paper clear. The key word here is gently – you don’t want to scratch your toilet.

    How to unblock a toilet with clingfilm

    Yep, that’s right this kitchen staple comes in handy for unblocking toilets – in place of a plunger! To try this handy hack do the following:

    • Lift the lid and ensure the surface of the toilet rim is completely dry – use paper towels for easy disposal.
    • Once dry place layers of clingfilm over the top of the toilet bowl. Due to the width and length of a toilet bowl you will need to repeating this step to add at least two or three layers to cover the whole surface area. Ensure it is properly adhered either side so the clingfilm is pulled tight. Building a strong barrier, produces better suction for this handy hack.
    • Flush the toilet, and wait for an air bubble to rise.
    • Gently press down on the bubble to force the pressure to encourage the blockage to travel further down the waste pipe.

    How to unblock a toilet

    How to unclog a toilet with hot water

    If you don’t think the toilet is badly blocked, you can try pouring hot water into the toilet bowl from a bit of a height before using a plunger. This can help dissolve the blockage, pushing it hard through the pipe and is the more environmentally friendly way of unblocking your toilet.

    Unblocking a toilet with white vinegar

    ‘White vinegar as a cleaning product really knows no bounds’ says  Ivan Ivanov from End of Tenancy Cleaning. ‘Simply mixing a small amount with water will start a chemical reaction. This reaction can dissolve any gunk and grime that is lurking beneath your pipes.’ Try this natural cleaning hack first, before you result to harsh chemicals because it’s better all-round. If this doesn’t work, you may need to recruit the help of some caustic soda or drain cleaner. Make sure you wear gloves for last resort step.

    monochrome bathroom with white wall tiles and black floor tiles

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole

    Unblock a toilet with a plunger

    Use a plunger that is shaped to seal the opening in the toilet bowl to create the correct vaccum and pressure needed, and also to prevent mess. An auger is a flexible rod that reaches far into the toilet controlled by a crank handle. Once the blockage is located, the auger will pull or push the item to remove it. Try the flush again and watch the beautiful sight of a flushed toilet before your very eyes.

    Top tip: Run the plunger under hot water before starting work. This softens it up a treat.

    If these more simple methods aren’t working you may need to do some further investigation, to discover where the problem is.

    Locate the blockage

    Lift the drain cover to see if the chamber is full of water. If so, the blockage is further along the soil pipe. If the chamber is empty, the blockage is in the soil pipe between the loo and the chamber, or in the pan. You can try and clear any blockages in the pipes by using specialist drain rods or makeshift devices, such as a wire clothes hanger. Failing that, a drain company is the answer.

    Hopefully this has done the trick. Once unblocked and flushable, give your toilet a really good scrub and clean using strong bleach, then air your bathroom well. The key to a well-functioning toilet is regular cleaning and flushing to ensure there’s no build up of paper to cause blockages.

    How to unblock a toilet

    Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles

    ‘The best way to make sure that your toilets don’t get blocked in the first place is thorough and regular cleaning’ advises Ivan Ivanov from End of Tenancy Cleaning. ‘Make sure you are cleaning your toilet with a decent toilet cleaner with chemicals that aren’t too harsh at least once a week, as this will keep any grime at bay as well as keeping it smelling fresh.’

    He goes on to advise, ‘If after a few attempts to unblock your toilet, it is still blocked, it is important to get expert help such as a plumber, as you may have a deeper issue within your pipes that you cannot fix yourself!’

    Good luck unblocking your toilet!

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