A clogged toilet is an annoyance that almost everyone has to deal with at some point or
another. No plumbing is perfect, and your toilet is bound to get clogged eventually.
Learning how to avoid and unclog a clogged toilet can help minimize the frequency that
your toilet gets clogged as well as help make the inevitable clogged toilet less of a
disaster for you to handle.
How to Avoid a Clogged Toilet
It’s easier to take steps to avoid a clogged toilet in the first place than to try to unclog a
toilet that is already clogged. The marginal extra effort that is required to avoid a
clogged toilet is worth the unexpected hassle, stress, and frustration that comes with
discovering that your toilet is clogged.
Toilet paper usage is the number-one contributing factor that can lead to a clogged
toilet. Try to limit how much toilet paper you use as much as possible and flush
frequently when you need to use a lot of toilet paper. Also, make sure that you never
flush anything other than toilet paper down your toilet. Even paper towels and tissues
can clog a toilet when they are flushed. It’s a good idea to always keep a trash can next
to your toilet to encourage guests to throw away rather than flush anything that is not
How to Unclog a Clogged Toilet
No matter how much you limit your toilet paper usage and how careful you are about
never flushing anything that isn’t toilet paper, it’s more than likely that you’ll still end up
with a clogged toilet despite your best efforts to avoid it.
Once your toilet is clogged, there’s not much you can do but fix it. Fortunately, there are
multiple ways to unclog a clogged toilet to make it usable again as soon as possible.
1. Prepare Your Bathroom
Before you start trying to unclog your toilet, it’s important to prepare your bathroom to
minimize potential damage throughout the unclogging process. Lay a few rags down on
the floor around the toilet to protect your floor from splashes of toilet water or full-on
flooding in the case that your toilet overflows.
Also, close the toilet flapper to prevent the toilet from overflowing—which can leave you
with a much bigger mess on your hands. You can close the flapper easily by lifting off
the top of the toilet tank, reaching inside—the toilet tank water is sanitary—and pushing
down on the piece of rubber at the bottom of the tank (the flapper) to stop the water
from rising in the toilet bowl.
2. Try a Plunger, Then a Snake
To actually unclog your toilet, try using a plunger first. Make sure you have a heavy-duty
plunger that is made out of thick, durable rubber. Before you put the plunger in the toilet,
run it under hot water for a minute or two to soften its rubber and help it create a tighter,
more effective seal against the inside of your toilet bowl.
Push the plunger against the hole in your toilet with enough force to create a tight seal
between the head of the plunger and the area around the hole in the bottom of the toilet
bowl. Grip the plunger’s handle tightly and push and pull until the excess water begins
to drain out of the toilet bowl. You might need to go through multiple cycles of plunging
and flushing to fully unclog the toilet, so be patient during this process.
In the case that plunging doesn’t work, you can also try using a drain snake. A snake
reaches the toilet’s lower plumbing and can be more effective than a plunger for
breaking up more severe, impacted clogs. Using a snake can be intimidating, but it’s not
actually that difficult. Just slowly and carefully feed the metal end of the snake into the
hole at the bottom of the toilet bowl and turn the snake’s handle clockwise to push it
lower into the pipes. Once you reach the obstruction in the pipe, turn the handle
counter-clockwise to break up and pull out whatever is causing the clog. You might
need to repeat this process several times until the end of the snake comes out clean.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Hire a Professional
Not everyone has the time, patience, tools, or physical ability to go about unclogging a
toilet on their own. If you feel unable to unclog your own toilet for any reason—or if
you’ve tried a plunger and a snake and have had no luck—there’s no need to stress.
Call in a professional to get the job done for you.
If you can’t unclog your toilet on your own, you’re not alone. There are enough people
out there in the same situation as you that there is a pretty big market for unclogging
services. Many plumbers and home maintenance and repair businesses offer services
for unclogging toilets and drains.
For those who are located in southern California, consider Accurate Leak Locators and
Plumbing if you’re looking to hire a professional to unclog your toilet for you. Accurate
Leak Locators is a family-owned business that offers a wide range of leak location and
professional plumbing services—including toilet and drain unclogging services—at
affordable prices. The professional plumbing team at Accurate Leak Locators make
customer service their top priority and are highly skilled with more than 20 years of
The team of clogged drain plumbers at Accurate Leak Locators understands how
inconvenient it can be to have a clogged toilet in your home—especially if you only have
one bathroom in your residence—so they offer emergency plumbing services to help
you get your plumbing up and running normally again as soon as possible. Their
emergency plumbing services include toilet and drain unclogging services outside of
regular business hours, on weekends, and even on major holidays.