How To Unclog A Toilet Without A Plunger

How To Unclog A Toilet Without A Plunger

Ashley Poskin
Sep 12, 2015

Most homeowners and renters are aware of the fact that no matter how new the plumbing might be, it's a good idea to have a plunger in the house. In the rare instance that you find yourself in a residence... up a creek without a plunger, we've got a trick that will keep the, ahem, crap from hitting the fan/floor.

What You Need


  • Dish soap
  • hot water
  • bucket

A few tricks to try:

  • First, try to locate a bucket and use it to pour some hot (but not boiling) water from the sink or tub into the toilet and let it sit for a few minutes. (If you can't find a bucket, improvise with the toothbrush holder or your hands, adding at least 10-12 cups of hot water). The water should help break up the "brown" you're attempting to flush down, but if not, proceed to our next tip.
  • Pop into the kitchen and grab the dish soap. Squeeze a generous amount into the bowl — the soap will seep around the clog and act as a lubricant to help get things going. Add more hot water and let it sit for a while. Things should start moving around and breaking up in a half hour or so, but in more extreme cases, you should be prepared to let the soap do its thing overnight.
  • If you are at a friends' place and you're too embarrassed to leave the bathroom before things are taken care of, peek in the shower or under the sink and see what you can find. A spare bath bomb or some epsom salts dropped in the bowl could help to get things a'movin'. Just remember to stop by the store and replace whatever you used after you get the clog taken care of. And maybe pick up a plunger for your friend as a belated housewarming gift...
  • Last resort? Use the toilet brush. Use it in the same way you would a plunger: holding the handle, push the bristles into the drain hole, give a few quick, forceful pumps, and step away. Gross, yes, but sometimes you just have to do what you can to keep that toilet from overflowing. I know I'd much rather clean up a brush than mop brown stuff up off a bathroom floor...

We want to know- what methods have worked for you in the past?

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Originally published 9.18.09 by Grace Shu

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