What can I pour down my toilet to unclog it?

Updated November 22, 2016

Clogged toilets are often simple to fix, but they are among the most disgusting and annoying household maintenance problems. If you are environmentally conscious, you may not want to use chemicals to unclog your toilet. Fortunately, you can use several common household items to resolve simple clogs. With some luck, you can unclog your toilet yourself rather than have a plumber make an expensive house call.

Hot Water

Planet Green says that hot water often unclogs toilets. It suggests filling a bucket with hot water and pouring it into the toilet. Pour quickly, but be careful not to burn yourself or splash water on the floor. After pouring a gallon of hot water, try flushing the toilet again. If it is still clogged, add a 1/4 cup of dish detergent into the toilet and boil more water. Pour the next batch of boiling water down the toilet and flush again.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Pour 1 cup of baking soda into the bowl and follow it up with 1 cup of vinegar. Wait about 30 minutes and flush the toilet again. This often loosens the clog enough that the toilet will flush properly. You may need to plunge the toilet after using this method to move the loosened clog down the pipe. If the toilet is still clogged, try following this method with the hot water or water and dish soap method.


Environmentally conscious sites such as Planet Green or Protecting Our Environment shy away from using chemicals to unclog toilets because the chemicals may not be good for the environment. If you use chemical uncloggers, add the exact amount listed on the back of the package and follow all directions. After using chemicals, pour hot water down the toilet to rinse the pipes and minimise damage to them or to the environment.

Other Methods

You can sometimes unclog a toilet using the "tap" method. After flushing the toilet, tap the backside with your shoes or your bare feet. Tap hard but do not kick the toilet or injure yourself. If this method does not work, try plunging the toilet. Some clogs also require you to use an augur, or snake. Open the toilet tank and insert the augur with its tip facing the drain. Crank the augur until the obstruction clears.

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About the Author

Jack Ori has been a writer since 2009. He has worked with clients in the legal, financial and nonprofit industries, as well as contributed self-help articles to various publications.