How to unblock a toilet

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When you flush non-flushable items down a toilet, it’s inevitable that there will be a blockage. You’ll know it’s blocked if water takes a long time to drain from the bowl after you flush it, or if the water rises upwards towards the brim. You might not need a professional to help you unblock the toilet, reveals how to do it.

First things first, you need to determine the type of blockage you have on your hands.

If water drains from the toilet bowl very slowly, you can easily clear this yourself.

Don’t flush the toilet again, as this will just cause more water to be pumped into the bowl and it will overflow.

However, if the water in the toilet bowl rises and doesn’t fall again, you have a problem.

This means there is a complete blockage– something is preventing water from passing by.

If this is the case, you’ll need to transfer as much of this water from the bowl into a bucket before trying to unblock it.

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How to unblock a toilet

There are plenty of ways to unblock a toilet without needing to ring a professional.

We reveal a few of the easiest options.


You first reaction might be to grab a plunger and get to work, and you’d be right.

Use the rubber end to completely cover the outlet at the bottom of the bowl.

You need to block water and air from coming into the bowl, so if the plunger is too small fill the gaps with some old cloths.

Push down gently onto the plunger, and then release the pressure slowly. Repeat this using more force each time.

The water in the bowl should start to clear up, and you can refill it with tap water.

Flush the toilet to see if you have removed the blockage, and if not try again.

If you don’t have a plunger, you could use a wire coat hanger with a plastic coating.

Bend it into a curved shape, and then push it up the pipe and wiggle it around. Use the same pushing technique, but be very gentle.

Hot water

If the problem is minor, pour some hot water into the bowl to remove the blockage.

Hot water pushes away material blockages, but only to some extent.

The heat can also help to get rid of any built up fat or grease.

Check the water level before you start, making sure it is low enough to add to.

If not, transfer some water into a bucket using rubber gloves and pour it down a drain outside.

Close the water valve in order to stop the cistern from refilling.

Squirt some washing up liquid into the bowl and let it sit for about 10 minutes.

Pour two to three litres of hot water, not boiling water, into the bowl.

Do this quickly, but try not to splash yourself.

If this doesn’t drop the water level, you could try this trick again. Only do this if there is enough space in the bowl to do so.

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Baking soda and vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar are a winning combo when it comes to cleaning the house, and you can also use them to unblock a toilet.

Limescale build-up is one of the top causes of a blocked drain, and this duo will remove it easily. It will also clear away any non-flushable materials stuck in the toilet.

Boil two to three litres of water and add in half a cup of white vinegar just before it boils.

Pour half a cup of baking soda directly into the toilet, and pour the mixture into the toilet before closing the lid.

The ingredients will mix together and create a magic foam that will do the work for you.

Leave it to settle for half an hour, and then flush the toilet to see if the blockage has cleared.

Clean your toilet regularly to prevent limescale and other materials from building up in the pipes.

You can easily prevent a blockage by simply NOT flushing non-flushable items down the toilet.

Throw sanitary products, cotton wool, and wipes into the bin instead.

If none of the above works, it’s time to call in a plumber!

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