How to unblock a clogged toilet with water bubbling up

Water bubbling up in a toilet after a flush can be a sign of a clog in the drain pipe of the toilet. Continued flushing can cause more water to enter the bowl without having proper drainage resulting in rising water levels. Quick action and proper unclogging techniques can save you from a messy overflow.

Quickly locate the water shut off valve for the toilet. For most toilets this is on the side of the toilet underneath the tank and slightly off to the side of the bowl itself.

Turn the valve clockwise until it will not turn any further to shut off the water flow. Do not flush the toilet.

Place the plunger, plunger end down into the toilet water slowly until it creates a seal between the plunger end and the toilet bowl drain. Grasp the handle with both hands and move it in an up-and-down motion.

Remove the plunger and wait a few seconds to see if the water goes down. If it does not, repeat Step 3 with the plunger. If after a second attempt the plunger does not clear the clog, proceed to Step 4.

Put on rubber gloves and insert the tip of the auger (plumbing snake) into the drain in the toilet bowl.

While holding the handle of the auger, slowly push the auger cable further down into the toilet bowl drain pipe. You may need to move it around a bit to get the cable past the bend in the pipe.

Turn the handle of the auger clockwise while gently pushing the cable further down until you hit the clog. Continue turning the handle until the clog is moved.

Pull out the cable slowly by turning the handle counterclockwise and remove any clogging material. Drop it into a bucket to dispose of it. Wait to see if the water drains. Use the plunger once more a few times to finish the process and allow the water to drain down the pipe before turning the water valve back on.


Don't flush the toilet as this can cause the water to overflow. If the water continues bubbling out or begins spewing out, the clog may be a backup in the septic or sewer system. In this case you should contract a plumber or the local public utility department.

Things You'll Need

  • Plunger
  • Rubber gloves
  • Plumbing snake (or auger)
  • Bucket
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Maxwell Payne has been a freelance writer since 2007. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. He holds a Bachelor of Science in integrated science, business and technology.