toilet clog

How to Unclog a Toilet: Simple Steps for a Quick Fix

Dealing with a clogged toilet is never fun, but it happens more often than we would like. Whether it’s due to excessive toilet paper usage or flushing foreign objects, a clogged toilet can be a real headache.

Fortunately, with the right tools and techniques, you can easily unclog a toilet and have it working like new again.

In this section, we’ll provide step-by-step instructions on how to unclog a toilet quickly and easily. From assessing the situation to plunging the toilet and using a toilet snake or auger, you’ll have everything you need to get the job done right. So, let’s get started on learning how to unclog a toilet!

toilet clog

Key Takeaways

  • Excessive toilet paper usage or flushing foreign objects are common causes of toilet clogs.
  • Essential tools and supplies for unclogging a toilet include a plunger, toilet snake, or toilet auger.
  • Assess the situation and prepare for unclogging before attempting to plunge the toilet.
  • If plunging is not effective, try using a toilet snake or auger.
  • Test for proper drainage after unclogging and take steps to prevent future toilet clogs.
  • If the clog cannot be cleared or the toilet requires repairs, it may be necessary to call a professional plumber.

Common Causes of Toilet Clogs

There are several common causes of toilet clogs, which can range from minor annoyances to major plumbing issues. Understanding these causes can help you take steps to prevent clogs in the first place, or quickly address them when they occur.

Excessive Toilet Paper Usage

One of the most common causes of toilet clogs is excessive use of toilet paper. This is particularly true if you are using low-quality or thin toilet paper, which is more likely to break apart and create blockages in your plumbing system. If you or your family members are using a lot of toilet paper, consider switching to a higher quality brand, or encouraging everyone to use less paper per flush.

Foreign Objects in the Toilet

Another common cause of toilet clogs is flushing foreign objects, such as feminine hygiene products, cotton balls, or baby wipes. These items are not designed to be flushed down the toilet, and can quickly create blockages in your plumbing system. It’s important to dispose of these items properly, rather than flushing them down the toilet.

Old or Faulty Plumbing

If you have old or faulty plumbing, you may be more prone to experiencing toilet clogs. This is because outdated plumbing systems are more likely to have narrow or corroded pipes, which can easily become blocked by debris or waste. If you suspect that your plumbing system may be outdated or damaged, it’s important to have it inspected by a professional plumber.

toilet plumbing diagram

Other common causes of toilet clogs include hard water deposits, which can build up and create blockages over time, and tree roots infiltrating your plumbing system. By understanding these causes, you can take steps to prevent toilet clogs from occurring in the first place, or quickly address them when they do happen.

Tools and Supplies You’ll Need

To fix a clogged toilet, you’ll need a few essential tools and supplies. These include:

  • A plunger
  • Gloves
  • Bucket (optional)
  • Old towels or rags
  • Toilet snake or auger (optional, for stubborn clogs)

It’s important to wear gloves to protect your hands from any bacteria or germs in the toilet water. A bucket and old towels or rags may also come in handy to clean up any spills or messes.

If plunging doesn’t work, a toilet snake or auger can be used to break up more stubborn clogs. These tools can be purchased at your local hardware store or online.

Step 1: Assess the Situation

The first step in unclogging a toilet is to assess the situation. If the toilet bowl is filled to the brim and water is overflowing onto the bathroom floor, turn off the water supply valve located behind the toilet or towards the bottom of the tank. This will prevent further overflow and potential water damage to your bathroom.

If the toilet is not overflowing, but water is draining slowly or not at all, it’s likely that there is a clog in the drainpipe that needs to be cleared. In this case, it’s safe to proceed with attempting to unclog the toilet using a plunger, snake, or auger.

Assess the toilet unclogging situation


Always use caution and avoid flushing the toilet multiple times if it’s already clogged, as this can make the situation worse and potentially cause water damage to your bathroom.

Step 2: Prepare for Unclogging

Before you start plunging, it’s important to prepare for the unclogging process. First, put on a pair of gloves to protect your hands from bacteria or other unpleasant substances that may be present in the toilet.

Next, make sure you have a plunger that is designed for use on toilets. These plungers have a flange that fits into the toilet bowl’s drain opening, creating a strong seal that helps to generate suction and dislodge the clog. If you don’t have a toilet plunger, you can purchase one at your local hardware store, or online.

If you’re not sure how to use a plunger, here’s a quick guide:

  1. Place the plunger in the toilet bowl, making sure that the flange is completely covering the drain opening.
  2. Start by pushing down gently to create a seal, then begin pumping the plunger up and down forcefully to generate suction.
  3. Continue plunging for a minute or two, or until you feel the clog break up and the water in the bowl begins to drain freely.
toilet plunger

Remember, plunging can be a messy process, so be sure to wear gloves and protect your clothing to avoid any unexpected splashes or drips.

Step 3: Plunge the Toilet

Now that you’ve assessed the situation and prepared for unclogging, it’s time to get down to business and plunge the toilet. Here’s how:

  1. Position the plunger: Place the rubber end of the plunger over the toilet drain and ensure it forms a tight seal.
  2. Apply pressure: Push down on the plunger with force but be careful not to accidentally break the seal. Apply an equal amount of pressure with each plunge.
  3. Plunge: Begin plunging vigorously up and down, pulling the plunger up after each plunge to create suction. Continue plunging for about a minute.
  4. Test for drainage: After plunging, flush the toilet to see if the clog has been cleared. If the water drains properly, the clog has been successfully cleared. If the water is still backing up, repeat the plunging process or use a toilet snake or auger.

Remember to apply steady pressure and keep the plunger straight to create a proper seal. Plunging can be messy, so make sure to wear gloves and protect the surrounding area with newspapers or towels. If you’re having difficulty, don’t be afraid to take a break and try again later.

For a visual guide on plunging a toilet, refer to the image below.

toilet plunger

Step 4: Use a Toilet Snake or Auger

If the plunger method doesn’t work, you may need to use a toilet snake or auger to break up the clog. These tools are designed to reach further down the drain to dislodge the obstruction.

The toilet snake is a long, flexible wire that can be maneuvered through the toilet’s curvy plumbing to push the clog through or pull it out. Insert the snake into the toilet bowl, push it in until you feel resistance, and then turn the handle clockwise to spin the snake and move it further down the drain. Once you’ve reached the obstruction, twist the snake back and forth to break it up or hook onto the clog and pull it out.

If you’re using a toilet auger, insert the curved end into the toilet bowl and turn the handle clockwise to move it through the drain. Once you’ve reached the clog, push and pull on the auger to break it up and clear the drain.

Be sure to use these tools carefully and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid damaging your toilet’s plumbing.

If these methods do not work, it may be necessary to call a professional plumber for further assistance.

toilet snake and plunger with gloves

Step 5: Test for Drainage

Once you’ve successfully cleared the toilet clog, it’s important to test for proper drainage to ensure that the problem has been completely resolved.

Start by flushing the toilet a few times to see if the water drains smoothly. If the water drains slowly or not at all, you may still have a blockage further down the drainpipe. In this case, you may need to try plunging or using a toilet snake or auger again, or consider calling a professional plumber.

If the water drains normally, turn on a nearby sink or shower and let the water run for a few minutes. Keep an eye on the toilet bowl to make sure it doesn’t start to fill up with water. If the toilet bowl remains empty and the water drains properly from the sink or shower, your toilet clog has been successfully cleared.

Remember that if you continue to experience toilet plumbing issues even after successfully unclogging the toilet, it may be a sign of a more serious problem with your plumbing system. In this case, it’s best to call a professional plumber to assess the situation and make any necessary repairs.

toilet clog prevention

Preventing Future Toilet Clogs

After successfully unclogging your toilet, the last thing you want is to have it happen again. Here are some tips to help prevent future toilet clogs:

  • Use less toilet paper: Excessive use of toilet paper is a common cause of toilet plumbing problems. Try using less paper to avoid creating blockages in the pipes.
  • Avoid flushing foreign objects: Only flush human waste and toilet paper down the toilet. Flushing anything else, like feminine hygiene products, dental floss, or wet wipes, can lead to serious toilet clogging.
  • Regular cleaning: Clean your toilet bowl with a brush regularly. This can help prevent build-up and potential blockages in your toilet plumbing.
  • Test your toilet: It’s always a good idea to test your toilet periodically for any signs of potential toilet plumbing problems. Simply flush the toilet and ensure it drains properly. If you notice any issues, address them promptly to avoid more significant problems down the line.

By following these tips, you can help prevent future toilet clogs and keep your toilet plumbing operating smoothly.

preventing toilet clogs

When to Call a Professional

If you have attempted to unclog your toilet using the methods outlined in this article and it remains blocked, it may be time to call in a professional plumber. Trying to force the issue can result in further damage to your toilet, pipes, or plumbing system, leading to expensive repairs.

If you notice any of the following signs, it’s best to leave the task to a professional:

  • The toilet is clogged frequently or remains blocked even after multiple attempts to clear it
  • There is a foul odor coming from the toilet
  • The water level in the toilet bowl is rising or overflowing
  • There are strange gurgling sounds or bubbling noises coming from your toilet or plumbing system
  • You have attempted to use a toilet snake or auger, but it has not resolved the issue

A trained plumber has the knowledge, experience, and specialized equipment required to diagnose and repair complex toilet plumbing issues quickly and safely. They can also advise you on effective measures to prevent future clogs, such as regular maintenance and proper toilet usage.

toilet plumbing

Remember, when it comes to toilet plumbing problems, prevention is always better than the cure. By taking proper care of your toilet and avoiding common causes of clogs, you can save yourself time, money, and frustration in the long run.


Unclogging a toilet may seem daunting, but with the right tools and a little bit of know-how, it can be a simple fix. Remember to assess the situation and prepare for unclogging before plunging the toilet. If the clog is stubborn, try using a toilet snake or auger.

After clearing the clog, test for proper drainage and take preventative measures to avoid future clogs. If all else fails, don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber.

With these simple steps, you can quickly and easily unclog a toilet and prevent any further plumbing issues. Don’t let a toilet clog ruin your day – tackle it head-on and get back to enjoying your clean and functional bathroom!

Additional Resources

Unclogging a toilet can be a messy and frustrating experience, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be tackled quickly and efficiently. If you’re still experiencing difficulty unclogging your toilet, or if you’re looking for more in-depth information on toilet plumbing and maintenance, the following resources can help:

The Spruce

The Spruce is a leading home improvement website with comprehensive guides on everything from unclogging your toilet to replacing your entire plumbing system. Their articles are written by industry experts and are designed to be easy to understand, even for beginners.

Family Handyman

Family Handyman is a popular DIY and home improvement magazine with a wealth of information on all aspects of home repair and maintenance. Their website features articles on toilet plumbing and unclogging, as well as expert tips and advice on preventing future clogs.

Plumbing Basics

For a more detailed look at toilet plumbing and maintenance, the Plumbing Basics website provides detailed guides on all aspects of plumbing, including toilet repair, installation, and prevention of clogs. Their articles are written by licensed plumbers and are ideal for those looking to learn more about the technical aspects of plumbing.

With these resources, you can tackle any toilet clog with confidence and ensure that your plumbing remains in top condition for years to come.


Q: How do I unclog a toilet?

A: To unclog a toilet, follow these simple steps:

Q: What are the common causes of toilet clogs?

A: The common causes of toilet clogs include excessive toilet paper usage and flushing foreign objects.

Q: What tools and supplies do I need to unclog a toilet?

A: You will need a plunger, toilet snake, or toilet auger.

Q: How do I assess the situation when unclogging a toilet?

A: Start by assessing the situation, especially if the toilet is overflowing.

Q: How do I prepare for unclogging a toilet?

A: To prepare for unclogging, put on gloves and make sure you have a plunger.

Q: How do I plunge the toilet to unclog it?

A: Follow step-by-step instructions on how to plunge a toilet to dislodge the clog.

Q: When should I consider using a toilet snake or auger?

A: If the clog is stubborn and cannot be cleared with plunging, consider using a toilet snake or auger.

Q: How do I test for drainage after unclogging a toilet?

A: Learn how to test for proper drainage to ensure that the clog has been successfully cleared.

Q: What can I do to prevent future toilet clogs?

A: Follow these tips to prevent future toilet clogs, such as using proper toilet paper usage and avoiding flushing foreign objects.

Q: When should I call a professional for toilet unclogging?

A: Find out situations where it may be necessary to call a professional plumber for toilet unclogging or repairs.

Q: What is the importance of addressing toilet clogs promptly?

A: Learn why it’s important to address toilet clogs promptly and ensure proper functioning of your toilet.

Q: Where can I find additional resources on how to unclog a toilet?

A: Check out these additional resources for further information on how to unclog a toilet and related topics.

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