How to Clear Blocked Toilets

Written by ken parelius
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How to Clear Blocked Toilets
Modern gravity-fed toilets have narrow trapways. (toilet bowl painting Gzhel image by Vasily Smirnov from

Toilets can become blocked by toilet paper, bodily wastes and other objects. A blocked toilet can overflow and create an unsanitary mess that could cause damage to your home. It is imperative to have the proper tools and knowledge for unblocking a toilet, as this will save you time, hassle and money that you would otherwise spend on a professional plumber.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Chemical drain opener
  • Plunger
  • Toilet snake
  • Rubber gloves

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  1. 1

    Pour chemical drain opener down into the toilet bowl. Do this only if the toilet is not overflowing because the chemicals are very hazardous and corrosive. Leave the chemical in the toilet for 10 to 15 minutes. During this time, organic wastes will be broken down. The toilet may start to drain on its own at that point if the water level is high, which will initiate the siphon action of the trap way. Flush the toilet only if the water level is low; otherwise the toilet will overflow.

  2. 2

    Use a plunger if you'd like an alternative to chemicals. Place the plunger in the toilet, creating a seal between the base of the plunger and the entrance to the trap way. Firmly and sharply press down into the hole and force the blockage through. Do this repeatedly until the blockage is passed. Most toilet blockages are bodily wastes and toilet paper, and can be forced through the toilet. If you suspect that there is a foreign object in the toilet, start by pushing gently until the plunger is all the way down and maintaining a good seal, and sharply pull up, therefore pulling the object out rather than pushing it in. Repeat this process until the item resurfaces.

  3. 3

    Use a toilet snake if chemicals and plunging don't work. With the auger fully retracted, place the toilet snake down the drain of the toilet, making sure that the rubber sleeve is in place to prevent scratching of the porcelain. Hold the steel tube upright while simultaneously pushing and turning the auger with the handle. The snake will gradually work its way through the trap way of the toilet, clearing any blockage. Once the water has drained by itself, flush the toilet normally.

Tips and warnings

  • Always wear gloves when dealing with clogged toilets and bodily wastes. Touching bodily wastes can spread bacteria and viruses that may pose a serious health risk, and drain opener is extremely hazardous. Always wash yourself thoroughly after unblocking a toilet.

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