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There's a lot to be said on the subject of a clogged toilet. All of them can be summed up as follows:
This is the sort of a problem no one wants on their hands; you're not alone in that. Also, it doesn't have to be a problem that ends up costing you a ton.
Now, before you consider calling a professional, someone most likely to charge you a lot of money, consider some alternatives.
I know I've seen a friend struggle with this issue, due to old piping posing a problem. It turns out that there's a lot more that you can do than simply use a snake or a plunger.
I'll tell you honestly, it was a very uncomfortable experience, witnessing such an event in my own friend's home. I'm sure he was glad I was there to help brainstorm.
Of course, you can always rely on someone else or the tried out and true methods. But before you do, why not consider giving something else a try?
There are very real, very numerous ways to fix the issue yourself. There's no need for a plunger or a snake, it can be very DIY, cheap and easy.
So, think about this:
In the age of the internet, there's no reason not to rely on the knowledge of others. With the wisdom of many, you can accomplish a great deal more, than you would be on your own.
So, let's get right into it. Here are some tried and true, proven alternatives to using a snake or a plunger.
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How to Unclog a Toilet without a Plunger or Snake
Some Things to Consider Before You Try These
This type of problem can create an epic mess. However, there's no need to worry, because these simple and easy steps can prevent that:
- Always make sure to remove anything you don't want to be dirty that's nearby. This is especially true for any bathroom mats.
- It's generally a good idea to close the toilet flapper (it's circular and looks like a drain), down at the bottom of the tank. This way, more water doesn't get into the bowl, causing a bigger issue.
- If you have anything disposable and absorbent to place all around the toilet, do that, right away. From old newspapers or magazines, all the way to towels you were going to throw away.
- In the same vein, wearing some gloves and old clothes you don't mind dirtying is the best when approaching this problem.
- Never use any method that involves actual boiling water. Water at that temperature can cause a porcelain fracture, which can lead to a lot of worse problems down the line.
- If the problem persists even with doing everything you possibly can, call in a professional. There's no shame in admitting defeat, sometimes an issue is just too big.
Now that those are out of the way, we can focus on solving the issue. Hopefully one of these ends up working out for you.
1. Use Warm Water and Dish Soap
This one is quite possibly the easiest and “DIYest” of them all. Who doesn't have some water and dish soap lying around? Even if you're without a plunger, you can still use these everyday items effectively.
You'll just need:
- A pot that you can comfortably pour about a gallon or so of water into. I recommend making sure it has handles because it's less unwieldy that way.
- Dish soap, preferably your strongest brand. About 4 ounces or half a cup will do.
Now, the steps are as follows:
- Pour a gallon of water into the pot. Make sure the water being heated never boils.
- While heating it, pour the dish soap in.
- Give it about 10 or so minutes, after the dish soap is poured in. Do not, however, take your eyes off it, because the water should not boil.
If the water boils, wait another 10-15 minutes for it to cool off a bit.
- Pour the water into the toilet. Be steady but let it pour in rapidly, in order to avoid it losing its effect.
- Give it a bit of time to do its thing. Usually, 5 to 10 minutes will do.
Hopefully, that has solved your problem and the clog has cleared up without even the need for a snake. If not, consider some alternatives after, perhaps, repeating the process once more.
Repeating the process is advisable if the clog is large enough or you're sure you see the improved. Sometimes a second dose can do the trick.
2. DIY Drain Cleaner with Baking Soda and Vinegar
Similar to the previous idea, but more potent, this method involves you doing a bit of chemistry.
What you'll need is:
- Half a gallon of water.
- 8 ounces (1 cup) of baking soda.
- 16 ounces (2 cups) of vinegar. White vinegar that's been distilled is ideal, but any vinegar will do.
- A pot with handles that can comfortably hold all of this.
Now, this is fairly similar to the previous method, so most of the same principles apply. However, be warned that this solution will require you to let it do its job overnight.
Here's how to go about using this method:
- Boil the water, ideally half a gallon, but more, up to 1 gallon, is acceptable.
- Let it cool down since you don't want to pour it in boiling hot. Remember, this cracks the porcelain.
- Pour the white vinegar and baking soda into the toilet bowl, while the water cools. If it starts to fizz, that's a good thing, because that's precisely what you want.
- Pour the water into the mixture. Ideally, the angle from which you pour is directly overhead and the force of the pour will aid the process.
- Let it stay like this overnight, without using the toilet. In the morning, your blockage should be gone and if not, you may have a solid obstruction (like a toy).
If this still doesn't do the trick, you might want to use some toilet drain cleaner.
3. Try Using Enzyme Products
Enzyme products are used to dispose of waste by breaking it down. You can find them in most stores, and certainly in those focused on home improvement (plumbing aisle) or even online.
These are the most potent ways to break up a clog if it's at all organic in nature. Anything more potent is not recommended, due to possible corrosion issues.
What you need to do is simply purchase the product and then follow the instructions on the back. They'll usually specify what amount to use and that you need to leave it overnight.
Some small tips:
- Be very careful about letting the liquid touch your skin. In fact, use gloves when pouring if you can.
- Inhaling the fumes is not advised, so cover your mouth and do not go in again until the following day. This is a precaution that might be unnecessary, but still safer to follow.
4. Do it Manually or with a Coat Hanger
This is the last step I recommend before you reach for more serious and potentially damaging solutions or call in a plumber. It means getting your hands dirty, but it should, without a doubt, show you that there are no other alternatives.
Generally, this is either the first thing you try, if you think you see the source of the clog, or the last. You do this when all the previous methods fail you, which probably means the problem is a physical blockage that cannot be broken down.
Doing it manually just requires a good pair of latex gloves and making sure you don't get dirty in the process. Here's how:
- Get the gloves and some clothes you don't mind making dirty.
- Reach into the bowl and feel around for any obstructions. Particularly plastic toys, miscellaneous hairpins, etc.
- If you find any, pull them out, if possible. You'd be surprised at how easily something can cause a problem, even if it seems harmless.
If this fails, go for the wire hanger method. Here's what you do:
- Get a wire hanger, one you can spare. Use some pliers to cut out a section and straighten it.
- Wrap the end of the straightened wire with a rag, securing it with something like duct tape.
- Insert the wrapped end into the toilet bowl slowly, and maneuver it so that you can slip as much of it as you can inside.
- Move it in circularly, pushing and pulling as needed, to make sure you hit any obstructions. If you do, push at them until you clear them.
- Do this until you either unclog the toilet or you're sure the problem can't be fixed like this.
Conclusion: How to Unclog a Toilet without a Plunger or Snake
As with many issues around the house, a clogged toilet may seem daunting. Hopefully, providing all these alternative methods, alongside the regular usage of a snake or plunger, has made it all more accessible to you.
If you ever find yourself bereft of options, never forget that you're discounting a whole bunch of them in your own home. Doing things on your own will be more rewarding and cheaper.
Still, never forget that it's okay to call in outside help if you need it. Everyone's dealt a bad hand sometimes.