You’re on vacation and staying at a rental house with your future in-laws.
They head out to do some shopping in town and you figure it’s a great time to take care of your daily constitutional.
Once the deed is done, you flush the toilet. But the water starts going up instead of down.
Uh-oh. You’ve gone and clogged the toilet. This isn’t the impression you were hoping to make.
“No problem,” you think. “I’ll just use the plunger to get things unstuck.”
You look to the left of the toilet. You look to the right. You do several 360 spins and look in every corner.
Uh-oh. There’s no plunger.
You’re not entirely out of luck though. With some other household supplies, you may be able to solve this dilemma without having to tell everyone that you put their toilet out of commission.
Below you’ll find 6 ways to unclog a toilet without a plunger.
While these methods can be used to unclog a toilet without a plunger, they’re also handy when you’ve tried to unclog a toilet with a plunger, but it didn’t work. Consider these your plan B back-up options.
Pour Hot Water Into Toilet Bowl
Fill up a pot or pitcher with hot water from the tub. Don’t use boiling hot water! If you do, it may crack your porcelain throne.
From waist level, pour the hot water into your toilet bowl.
The pressure of the falling water, combined with its heat, can help loosen and dislodge the clog.
Add Dishwashing Detergent
If the hot water trick didn’t work, add some liquid dish soap to the bowl. The soap will make the clog slippery, hopefully helping it clear through the pipes.
After adding the dish soap, let everything sit for 20 minutes or so. Give it another flush. If it still doesn’t move, pour another batch of hot water into the toilet. You can also combine things from the get-go by pouring a pot of hot water mixed with dish soap into the bowl.
Combine Vinegar and Baking Soda
We’re going to 5th-grade-science-fair this clog by creating a vinegar and baking soda volcano in your toilet. Add a cup of baking soda to your bowl. Slowly pour the vinegar into the toilet until you get a fizzy chemical reaction. The fizz will hopefully disintegrate and nudge the clog through the pipe.
Try the Toilet Brush
You can use your toilet brush as a kind of plunger. Stick it into the toilet bowl hole and move it up and down like you’re plunging. This will provide some suction action, while breaking up the, um, matter that’s clogging the toilet and helping push things down.
If you don’t want your brush covered with the…stuff…that’s clogging the toilet, wrap a plastic grocery bag around the brush before using it.
Employ a Wire Hanger Snake
Grab a wire hanger and straighten it out. Slide it down the hole to dislodge and break up whatever is causing the clog. Be careful not to scratch the porcelain at the bottom of the bowl!
Use a 2-Liter Soda Bottle
You’ll need a pair of rubber gloves for this one because you’ll be sticking your hands in the clogged toilet. Consider this your Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid last-ditch, blaze-of-glory effort to get the clog out without a plunger.
Fill a 2-liter soda bottle with hot water from the tub. Place your gloved thumb over the opening of the bottle and then place it into the toilet bowl. Start squeezing the bottle to shoot out the hot water. The hot water, plus the water pressure, should dislodge the clog.
Illustrations by Ted Slampyak