A blocked toilet is never fun to deal with, and that goes double when you find you don’t have a plunger to hand to unclog it. It also doesn’t help when you live in a small home with not much distance between your bathroom and living room. However, unclogging a toilet without a plunger isn’t so hard a feat to achieve, and here we’re going to rundown the many different ways on how to unclog the toilet. These are actually doubly effective when used alongside a plunger.
Baking Soda & Vinegar
One of the easiest and most effective ways of unclogging a toilet without a plunger is a mixture of baking soda (any brand will do, Arm & Hammer, Duzzit) and vinegar. These items are sold on most high street shops and are easy to acquire. You most likely have some tucked away in a cupboard somewhere within your home.
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To start with, you’ll need to check how much water is in the bowl of your toilet. If the water is above the watermark, try to reduce it by removing it with a container. Don’t flush, as the blockage will stop water moving down the pipe and cause the bowl to flood. If it is too low (nowhere near the watermark), add small amounts to bring it up to the watermark.
Next, pour one standard cup of baking soda into the water in the bowl. Now pour one standard cup of vinegar into the water in the bowl, but do so slowly. Pouring vinegar into baking soda causes a chemical reaction, and doing so rapidly will cause bubbles to rise and slop over the sides of the toilet, causing a right mess.
The chemicals in the mixture will dissolve the blockage over a period of twenty minutes. If you see bubbles forming, this means that the water pressure is changing, as it does if the water level has reduced in the bowl. Both are a sign that the blockage has either cleared or reduced in intensity, and that you can now flush to clear the residual blockage. Sometimes you may have to do this more than once, but it is a good way of unclogging a toilet without a plunger.
If you find yourself without baking soda and vinegar, another way of unclogging a toilet without a plunger is to pour hot water into the bowl. Don’t use boiling water, though, as the heat can cause the porcelain to crack. It’s simple thermodynamics: heat coming into contact with a cold material causes it to expand and since porcelain is a brittle material, and instead of expanding the porcelain cracks. Definitely not something you want to happen, so really you want the hot water to be about the same temperature as a coffee that’s been sat for about 20 to 30 minutes.
For this method, it’s best to equip yourself with a bucket or a kitchen sink bowl. Fill the bowl or bucket with hot water and slowly pour it into the toilet bowl from close to the toilet rim to avoid slopping it on the floor or creating splashing from pouring at a height.
The hot water creates pressure and pushes clogged tissue and other matter down the pipes, essentially breaking it up. Having poured hot water down the bowl a few times, wait to see if the water level decreases. If it does, it means the blockage has cleared, and it’s safe to flush.
It may not be the top of anyone’s list as a tool for unclogging a toilet without a plunger due in part to the state the brush ends up in, but when in need it is a feasible substitute.
To use a brush to unclog a toilet, use it in the same way you would a plunger and mimic the same thrusting motions. Put the head of the brush in the bottom of the bowl close to where the pipe begins and keep thrusting until you a see visible reduction in the water level. When this happens, you can flush without fear of flooding the bowl.
Afterwards, in the name of hygiene and sanitation, it’s best to clean the brush or throw it out altogether. Bacterium doesn’t stay in the same spot as it multiplies meaning it will spread from the bristles and up the handle over time.
Wire Coat Hanger
A wire coat hanger is the go-to substitute for a toilet auger (or water snake as they are more commonly known) when it comes to unclogging a toilet without a plunger. It’s handy for getting into the pipe further down when removing stubborn blockages that hot water and or a brush won’t fix.
Straighten the wire hanger out with a slight curve at its centre and slip the end through the mouth of the toilet bowl and into the pipe. Don’t use the wire hook as the end that goes into the pipe. Push the end until you meet the blockage, and then thrust at the blockage until you feel it give. Also, pay attention to the water level. When you see the water level recede, you’ve made an opening in the clogging, and a flush should remove the rest. If it doesn’t, repeat the process until the flushing goes through as it normally should do.
Take care when using a wire hanger as it can lead to scratching of the surface, which can be quite difficult to remove
Epsom Salt & Bath Bombs
If you’re really in a crux, the magnesium sulphide in Epsom salts can help in unclogging a toilet without a plunger. The magnesium sulphide helps degrade the wastage trapped in the pipe much in the same way baking soda and vinegar does.
Pour about a standard cup into the bowl and leave it for ten minutes. When you come back to the toilet, flush it and the Epsom salts should have broken down the blockage enough that flushing shifts the rest of it.
Unclogging a toilet without a plunger is never ideal, but is sometimes required. With these methods, you should have a clear pipe in just half an hour, but if the problem persists after many attempts it’s best to call a plumber because the blockage could be further down the pipe and require advanced clearing techniques. Take heart that these solutions often work and anyone can do them.
If this problem occurs more and more often, it might be time that you look into getting the pipe work looked at by a qualified, professional plumbing and heating installer in your local area. Toilets and most of all the waste pipe leading from it, aren’t something that a have a go DIY’er can take a jab at. So if your toilet is regularly being blocked one way or another, call your local plumber to get it looked at.
If you want ways to expand the space within your home, especially in your bathroom. Read our post detailing Top Hacks For Maximising Space In A Tiny Home. Or perhaps you’re heading out for a stay-cation? Read or post of the 5 Ultimate Storage Camping Hacks.