Probably once in your life you are called upon to fix a toilet. The chief causes of toilet clogging are the use of too much toilet paper or a bad toilet design.  However, it is easy to unclog a toilet. You only need a plunger and a five gallon bucket and you are ready to unclog any toilet.

Before you start this toilet clogging procedure, it is better to understand how a toilet is designed.  By having a good understanding of the design you can proceed with more confidence to unclog the toilet

The pipe that drains the waste from the toilet is about four inches in diameter according to regulations in most places. This drain pipe is attached to the bottom of the toilet and bent in a shape that resembles the letter “S” laying flat on its side. It is shaped this way so that some water is trapped inside the toilet bowl at one end and forms a seal to prevent sewer gases from entering the bathroom and the home. This is a safety measure in the design.

The other end of this pipe is attached to the main drain of the house that is connected to the city sewer system, or a drain field, if there is no city sewer system in your area. 

The clog usually occurs at the sharp turns of the “S” shaped piping.  Cheaper models usually clog more easily than the higher priced models which are designed much better to avoid the clogging.

You can damage your toilet if you use the wrong tools. Most of the time a plunger and a five gallon bucket will work just fine.  But, before you start to the unclogging , get some rags and lay them on the floor to absorb the water that may splash around or get on the floor if the toilet bowl overflows while you are working.

For a slight clog, all you have to do is keep pouring a little water at a time into the toilet from the bucket.  Gradually the water level will sink and will drain away in the drainage system, thus clearing the blockage. Repeat this pouring of water into the toilet bowl until you feel confident that the blockage is clear.  Then, quickly pour in a toilet bowl full of water and turn the flush lever.  If the toilet is unblocked, the toilet will flush normally.

If this attempt to unclog the toilet is not working, you will then have to take the next step. Avoid using a drain snake as this may damage your toilet by leaving scratch marks inside the toilet bowl or it may damage the interior surfaces of the piping.

For a more serious clog, you will allow the toilet bowl to fill up with water to about two or three inches below the rim.  If the water level is too high the water over flow and spill on the floor when you insert the plunger into the bowl.  Take the plunger and set it vertically over the hole in the toilet. Hold the plunger handle steady over the hole. Now, with a vertical pumping action the water level will begin to drop in the bowl. Add some more water and repeat the pumping action as many times as it takes until suddenly the water will start disappearing faster and faster from the toilet bowl and down the drain.  

This observation will give you the confidence that the toilet clog is clear. Now, remove the plunger and add some water half way up the toilet bowl and flush the toilet.  If the toilet  is unblock the toilet will flush normally.


  • Do not use the plunger if the toilet bowl is overflowing. Remove water from the bowl and maintain a half full level before using the plunger.
  • If the clog is stubborn, pour a little washing soda or liquid detergent into the toilet bowl then use the plunger.
  • If this does not work, then fill the bowl to half level. Add  12 ounces of muriatic acid and let it sit for several hours.  Open the windows to let the fumes out and close the lid to avoid pets from harm.  After several hours add some baking soda slowly to the bowl while stirring the contents with a wooden stick. This action will neutralize the mild acid. You should be able to flush the toilet now and get it working normally again.

Every homeowner should learn how to unclog a toilet. One could easily save a lot of money over the years by doing it yourself.