What’s the Best Way to Unclog a Toilet?

A clogged toilet is annoying, but fortunately in most cases, it’s not hard to remedy. Here are your best options, starting with the easiest.

To fix most clogs, all you need is a standard flange plunger, which are the plungers that are shaped like a bell. You may be able to get away with using a cup plunger, but that design is better suited for unclogging drains on flat surfaces, like a kitchen sink.

If you’re unable to remove the clog with the flange plunger, you should try using a toilet auger next. Also called a drain snake, toilet augers work by extending a spring coil down the toilet and into the pipe to push the clog down the drain. However, the range limit is three feet for augers, so if the clog is beyond its reach, it’s time to try something else.

For homeowners with more than one toilet in the house, you might consider trying a natural drain cleaner such as Bio-Clean(r), which uses naturally-occurring bacteria and enzymes to consume any organic waste in your plumbing system. This cleaner doesn’t cause any toxic fumes, and it’s safe for your pipes. The cleaner needs to sit in your system overnight to clear the clog however, which is why it’s only a good fit for folks who don’t need to get their toilet back up and running quickly. 

If you’ve made it this far and still have a clogged toilet, you might be thinking of grabbing a chemical drain cleaner, such as Drano, to remove the clog, but we would caution against that. 

Chemical cleaners, such as Drano, work much like lye to break up clogs in pipes and drain by sitting at the site of the clog and slowly dissolving it. This process also causes a chemical reaction that generates heat. While this chemical reaction normally doesn’t affect the drains in your sink and tub, if you use Drano in your toilet it can potentially cause damage to your pipes and even crack the porcelain bowl in your toilet. Chemical drain cleaners can also potentially harm you! For example, if you end up needing to use a plunger to help expel the clog, you’re at risk of any sitting cleaner splashing onto your skin, which could result in a burn. And if midway through the process you decide to switch to a different chemical cleaner to bust up the clog, you could accidentally create toxic fumes. 

If you’re unable to unclog your toilet after trying a plunger, drain snake, and/or natural drain cleaner, we recommend calling EcoClean. We can help fix clogged toilets without damage to your pipes or toilet (or you!).