No one wants to deal with a blocked toilet, but knowing how to quickly unblock it is a valuable life skill to learn. Just like changing a fuse or fixing a leaking tap, blocked toilets are something that you are likely to come up against at least once in your life.
First things first, don’t panic. There is often a simple explanation for the blocked toilet, and the reason behind it rarely causes damage to the system. It might be something lodged in the u-bend or a simple case of the wrong thing getting flushed. If you’re looking at a toilet bowl full of water and waste that won’t go anywhere, try these simple steps.
Grab a plunger
The simplest way to get rid of a blockage uses a simple plunger. Many people keep a plunger by the toilet for this exact reason. All you need to do is press the plunger into the base of the toilet and push down to force air into the u-bend. This should hopefully dislodge anything that is blocking the way and allow you to flush the toilet as normal. If you don’t have access to a plunger, or if you’re unable to dislodge the blockage, read on to discover a few more ways to get your toilet working again.
Unblocking a toilet without a plunger
Learning how to unblock a toilet without a plunger should be an essential life skill that everyone knows. There are a few different methods you can try, and they all use items which you probably already have around your house.
Use a coat hanger
A wire coat hanger is the perfect length, shape and strength to help dislodge any blockages. Simply unwind the wire and guide the hook end down the toilet. You should be able to move it around, pushing back and forth to try to dislodge any blockage. If the culprit is something like a child’s toy which has been flushed by mistake, this will often help to pull it out. Be ready with a bin bag so you can quietly get rid of any toilet-bound toys.
Use washing-up liquid
This method might take a little more time, but it’s a lot fewer hands-on. Start with a bottle of washing up liquid. Pour a generous amount around the outer rim of the toilet along the waterline. Next, criss-cross it across the top of the water to create a lattice pattern. Leave it for around 30 minutes to get to work. When you return, protect your floor with towels and then pour a bucket of water into the toilet. The washing up liquid helps to soften the blockage while the pressure from the water helps to get the blockade moving. Once the water level returns to normal, pour a kettle full of hot water down the toilet to help remove any final debris.
Use a plastic bag
This method can take a few tries to get right, but it can be very effective. Start by lifting the lid of the toilet and place a thick bin liner over the toilet bowl. Tape this in place under the toilet bowl lip to create a seal. Flush the toilet and you should see the plastic cover balloon upwards. The flushing mechanism increases the pressure in the toilet bowl. If you have sealed it correctly, the air will have nowhere to go but down the drain. When you push down on this plastic bag, this creates pressure which should move the blockage on its way. You might need to try a few times, but this is a highly effective method for unblocking a toilet.