How to unclog a toilet without plungers or augers

Written by jen anderson
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How to unclog a toilet without plungers or augers
Several methods can be tried to unclog a toilet. (toilettes 3 image by Nathalie P from

When your toilet is clogged, plungers and augers -- also called pipe snakes -- are the first tools to try. But if those methods fail, or you don't have a plunger or an auger, there are other things you can try to unclog the toilet. A toilet-paper clog may be easily fixed. A solid object, such as a toy, will require more work and specialised tools. You can tell that a solid item is the culprit if the toilet flushes with only water, but clogs with toilet paper. This happens because the toilet paper catches on the object, causing a blockage.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Expandable bladder
  • Garden hose
  • Bolt grabber
  • Bent coat hanger
  • Fishhook remover
  • Old towel

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  1. 1

    Break up a visible toilet-paper clog with your toilet cleaning brush or a bent coat hanger. If it doesn't budge, move to Step 2.

  2. 2

    Dislodge the obstruction with an expandable bladder and hose. The bladder blocks off the toilet opening and forces a high-pressure stream of water into the toilet's inner waterway. If you can get a garden hose into the bathroom from an outdoor faucet, attach it to the expandable bladder. Otherwise, attach one end of a hose to the sink faucet and the other end to the bladder.

    Insert the bladder partway into the toilet's opening and turn on the water. The bladder will expand as water flows through it into the waterway. Be wary of overflows, as the water may back up around the edges of the bladder.

  3. 3

    Try to grab the blocking object with a bolt grabber or bent coat hanger, then pull it out. If the toilet is still clogged after using the expandable bladder and hose, the blockage is certainly a solid object, like a toy.

  4. 4

    Remove the toilet and try to the object from the other end. Drain the toilet bowl and tank, disconnect the water line, pull out the toilet and gently turn it over. If you see the item in the back opening of the toilet, grab it with a fishhook remover and pull it out. If the item is hidden, insert a bolt grabber, which has a longer reach, and retrieve the object.

Tips and warnings

  • When you lay the toilet on its side, put an old towel underneath it so that it is not scratched by the floor.
  • Bolt grabbers are available at auto parts stores.

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