How to unblock toilets

Updated April 17, 2017

Having relieved yourself, you flush the toilet only to realise that the water isn't draining at all. In fact, it's rising. Hurriedly, you take off the lid and lift up the chain to stop the water from overflowing. You're tempted to flush the toilet again in the hopes that another good flush might unblock it. Don't. Unblocking a toilet usually isn't difficult.

Put on cleaning gloves. Your hands are likely to be splashed a little by the dirtied water in the toilet bowl as you strive to unblock the toilet.

Plunge the toilet with a plunger. The vast majority of unblocked toilets are caused by a blockage in the bend in the pipe just behind the toilet itself. A plunger creates a sucking action that can force the blockage out of this bend. Plunge 8 to 10 times in succession. If the blockage is successfully plunged, go on to Step 3. If the blockage doesn't come out, proceed to Step 4.

Remove the plunged item that had been blocking your toilet from the toilet bowl using your gloved hands.

Allow the water to slowly drain from the toilet bowl. This may take up to an hour. In the meantime, fill a large pot with water and heat it up to a boil on a stove.

Pour the boiling hot water into the toilet. The hot water should be able to soften up or even dissolve some of what is blocking the toilet. After you've poured the entire contents of the pot into the toilet, begin plunging, again 8 to 10 times in succession. If the plunged item is sucked back into the toilet bowl, use your gloved hands to remove it.


Do not flush the toilet over and over. This may result in a nasty overflow of all toilet bowl contents onto the bathroom floor.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Plunger
  • Pot
  • Stove
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About the Author

William Jackson has written, reported and edited professionally for more than 10 years. His work has been published in newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, high-level government reports, books and online. He holds a master's degree in humanities from Pennsylvania State University.