Ways to Unclog Toilet Without Plunger – 2021 Step-by-Step and Video Guide

| Last Updated: December 17, 2021

Unclogging a blocked toilet isn’t something anyone enjoys doing, but ultimately, we really don’t have a choice, even if you’re lucky enough to have a second bathroom to use in the meantime. 

You must always do your best to unblock a clogged toilet as soon as possible to avoid the inconvenience of foul odors and being unable to use the toilet when you need it most.

Although using a plunger is the best method to unclog a toilet, you might have to look for other means because you won’t always have a plunger at hand. 

This article discusses some quick ways to unclog your toilet without a plunger. Be sure to try one or a combination of methods until your toilet becomes fully reusable. 

Quick Questions Before Starting

Like most other activities you do, you’ll want to have a hint of various aspects of it, such as the time it will take you to finish the activity, ease of doing it, and the cost of the materials required. 

Here’s a quick overview of these aspects.

How Difficult is This to Do?

Unclogging a blocked toilet is quite an easy thing to do, especially if the clog is caused by organic matter. Clogs caused by non-degradable items can be pretty hard to clear. 

If your toilet is clogging because of plumbing-related problems, you’ll have to call in a plumber to help you out. 

How Long Does it Take?

It takes just a few minutes to unclog a clog. You can be done in 15 to 60 minutes or as much as 12 to 24 hours if you have to let the clog sit overnight.

How Much Do Materials Cost?

The cost of unclogging a toilet can range between $3 to $25. The cost depends on the method you are using, which determines the types of materials you’ll need. 

Since most of the materials used to unclog toilets are readily available at home for use in other household activities, you might unclog the toilet at zero cost at that moment.

Photo credit: howstuffworks.com

Items Needed to Unclog a Toilet (With No Plunger in Sight)

If you don’t have a plunger at hand when your toilet clogs, there are several items you can use to unclog it. Some of the items are readily available in the house and do not have to be bought. 

Here’s what you’ll need to unblock your toilet if you don’t have a plunger:

  • Plastic wrap – $3 – $15

  • Dish soap – $3 – $7

  • Water – readily available 

  • Baking soda – $3 -$3.50

  • Vinegar – $9 -$20

  • Bucket – readily available, or from $10 if you have to buy

  • Water bottle – readily available at home

How to Unclog Toilet Without a Plunger

As mentioned, you can successfully unclog a blocked toilet using the above items if you don’t have a plunger. 

It’s important to note that if one of the methods discussed below fails, you can try it again a few times. At times, you might have to try a combination of different methods until you are successful. 

Unclog a Toilet With Dish Soap

Dish soap is excellent for unclogging a toilet because of its lubricative ability. The liquid soap lubricates the clogging materials and makes them flow away once you flush the toilet. 

Dish soap also breaks down grime, dirt, and grease, making the blocking material disintegrate and clear away after flushing. 

To unclog your toilet using dish soap, pour a generous amount of it into the toilet bowl and let it sit for about 30-45 minutes before flushing the toilet. 

If you are lucky, the clog should clear in one attempt with the dish soap. If it doesn’t, you can try other methods below. 

Photo credit: mrrooter.com

Unclog a Toilet With Hot Water

Hot water poured directly into the toilet bowl from a considerable height clears the clog because of the temperature and forces its subjects to the clogging material. 

To unclog your toilet using hot water, first heat about five gallons of water on a stove. The water should be heated such that it’s hot enough, but not to the boiling point. 

Pouring boiling water into the bowl will cause it to crack and may even cause complete breakage if the bowl is weak or has other cracks. 

Once the water is hot enough, pour it into a bucket that you’ll use to pour the water into the bowl. Be sure to pour the water directly into the mouth toilet drain

It’s advisable to increase the force with which the hot water hits the clogging material by pouring it from a considerable height, preferably at your waist level. 

Like dish soap, hot water is excellent at unclogging toilets, especially if it’s organic matter causing the blockage. 

Unclog a Toilet With Baking Soda and Vinegar

A combination of baking soda and vinegar works wonders around the house in cleaning up various items. Distilled white vinegar will do the job. 

The good thing is that the mixture also acts as a deodorizer, which is a plus if you use it to unclog a toilet blocked by organic matter. 

To unclog the toilet using baking soda and vinegar, pour one cup of baking soda into the hole of the bowl. After 5-10 minutes, slowly pour two cups of vinegar. 

The mixture of vinegar and baking soda will start fizzing, which helps break down the blocking matter. The slight acidity of the vinegar further enhances the breakdown effect. 

Once the mixture sits for 30-45 minutes, you can now flush the toilet or pour warm water. 

If the clog doesn’t go away in the first attempt, you can repeat the process by letting the mixture sit for 12 hours or overnight. 

Unclog a Toilet With a Water Bottle

Chances are that you will always have an empty water bottle lying around the house. You can use a medium-sized water bottle to unclog your toilet. 

To unblock the toilet successfully, first draw as much water as possible out of the bowl. You should wear your gloves before drawing out the water with a small plastic cup. 

Once only a little water remains, fill the plastic bottle with warm water and cover its mouth tightly with the thumb. 

Now insert the bottle into the toilet bowl such that its mouth fits the outlet at the bottom of the toilet. Next, remove your thumb and squeeze the bottle to shoot the water in it down the pipe. 

The toilet should unclog at this point. 

You can refer to the video below for further details on how to unclog your toilet with a water bottle.

Unclog a Toilet With Plastic Wrap

You can also unclog your toilet using plastic wrap. This method works the same as using a plunger in that you want to create an air pressure difference. 

To unclog your toilet using plastic wrap, cover the top of the bowl with the wrap such that there is an air-tight seal between the wrap and the bowl. 

Next, flush the toilet. Watch for when the plastic wrap bulges upward and immediately press it down to create the air pressure difference. 

You should hear a fast suction sound once the toilet unclogs and the air flows back into the bowl. Remove the plastic wrap to make the toilet usable again. 

Be sure to refer to the video below for a detailed explanation of how to unblock your toilet with plastic wrap.

Tips and Safety Considerations When Unclogging Toilet Without Plunger

Unclogging a toilet isn’t a thing you would want to do often. Although there aren’t many dire risks associated with unclogging toilets, the following safety measures and tips come in handy. 

Avoid Chemical Drain Cleaners

It’s not advisable to use chemical drain cleaners to unclog your toilet. Chemical cleaners are corrosive and might end up eating up the insides of the toilet. 

You also don’t want to end up with a chemical burn on your skin if the cleaner falls on your skin. 

Wear Gloves and Goggles

Wearing gloves when unclogging a toilet ensures your hands do not come into direct contact with the blocking matter such as feces and urine. Gloves ensure good hygiene during the process.

You might also want to wear your goggles to keep any jumpy matter off your eyes, especially when pouring hot water into the bowl. 

Pour Vinegar Slowly

After pouring baking soda into the bowl and letting it sit for a few minutes, slowly pour vinegar into the bowl. 

The resultant fizzing might cause the mixture to overflow or splash onto the surrounding items, hence the need to pour the vinegar slowly. 


While using a plunger is the best way to unclog a toilet, you may not always be able to do so fast if you don’t have a plunger. As such, you can use other ways to achieve the same results. 

Some excellent ways to unclog your toilet without a plunger include using a water bottle, dish soap, plastic wrap, baking soda and vinegar mixture, or pouring hot water. 

People Also Ask

This last section of today’s discussion explores some common questions people ask about clogged toilets. 

Will a Toilet Eventually Unclog Itself?

A toilet will eventually unclog itself if it has been blocked by organic matter such as feces and toilet paper.

The time it takes here will differ from a few minutes to hours, depending on the quantity of the organic matter. If non-degradable items have caused the blockage, it won’t unclog itself. 

What Causes a Toilet to Clog?

A toilet may clog because of the following:

1. Too much poop (organic matter)
2. Flushing a large amount of toilet paper (degradable/organic matter)
3. Flushing non-degradable items such as children’s toys, cotton, hair, condoms, sanitary towels, diapers, dental floss, wipes, toothbrushes, balloons, among others
4. Low-flow in first-generation toilets that have no pressure mechanism
5. Blocked plumbing vents
6. Blocked sewer lines

How to Dissolve a Toilet Paper Clog

When you don’t have a plunger, you can dissolve a toilet paper clog by pouring hot water into the toilet bowl, pouring dish soap, or pouring baking soda and vinegar to disintegrate the toilet paper ball. 

How to Flush a Clogged Toilet

Plumbing experts recommend that you avoid flushing your clogged toilet more than once, especially if it is prone to overflows.

It’s best to first try one or a couple of the unclogging methods we have discussed here to unclog the toilet. One flush is enough for each trial.

Welcome! We hope you’ll find the job costs of home improvement projects useful when you’re deciding whether to do a job yourself vs. hire a contractor. We’re the authors of 20 home improvement books, most notably Home Improvement for Dummies©, Bathroom Remodeling for Dummies©, Carpentry for Dummies©, Plumbing for Dummies©, and Painting and Wallpapering for Dummies©. Our most recent book Fix It and Flip It is in its second edition. We’ve appeared as home improvement experts on television programs such as CNN, Dateline, the Today Show, HGTV and many others.