How to Unclog a Toilet without a Plunger

No one wants to deal with a clogged toilet, especially when there’s not a plunger in sight. Thankfully, there are a few easy ways to unclog a toilet without a plunger. But whatever you do, stop flushing! Praying that a second or third flush will wash away your problems just makes it more likely that the toilet will overflow.

Drain Snakes

Drain snakes are long thin pieces of flexible plastic that are designed to unclog a toilet without a plunger. They can even be used on other kinds of drains and are especially helpful for removing hair and blockages from your pipes. Simply push the snake into the drain and pull it out. Toss anything that clings to the snake into the trash, rinse, and repeat.

Hot Water

Every bathroom should have a limitless supply of hot water. If your clog left the toilet bowl low on water, pouring in a bucket of hot water can solve the problem. Rather than relying on cold water from the tank, warm water helps break up the clog. Plus, pouring from a bucket adds more pressure to the blockage than a simple flush.

Epsom Salts

Epsom salts are another bathroom staple that can help you unclog a toilet without a plunger. Pour in a generous amount, at least a few cups, and watch as the salts react to the water. The fizzing action works to dissolve clogs. After half an hour, simply flush again and watch the water flow freely down the drain.

Toilet Brush

Although they aren’t designed for clogs, toilet brushes can act as a drain snake or a makeshift plunger in a pinch. Thrust the brush in and out of the toilet’s drain to pressurize the water in the toilet as you would with a plunger. If the blockage didn’t make it far down the drain, the thrusts might even be able to reach and dislodge it.

Dish Soap

You’ll probably have to venture out of the bathroom to find a bottle of dish soap. But desperate times call for desperate measures. Squeezing out a generous portion of dish soap can break up your blockage and help it slide down the drain. Add some Epsom salts into the mix for even more effective results.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

As you probably remember from science class, mixing baking soda and vinegar together creates a chemical reaction. Doing so was the secret to that model volcano you built in elementary school. Pour one cup of baking soda and two cups of vinegar into the bowl to unclog a toilet without a plunger. Just be sure to add the vinegar slowly to prevent the toilet from overflowing.

Wire Hanger

If you don’t have any of the above items on hand, look in your closet for a wire hanger. Unwind the hanger and you’ve got yourself an impromptu drain snake. Fish it down the drain to break up and dislodge clog. You should be able to feel once you’ve cleared the blockage, and a quick flush will confirm that you’ve solved the problem.

Plastic Bottle

A plastic bottle is yet another way to unclog a drain without a plunger. Slip on some rubber gloves, insert the bottle’s opening into the water, and squeeze to dispel air. As the air rushes out, water will take its place, resulting in suction. Continue squeezing and releasing until you notice the water rush down the drain or the blockage return to the bowl.

There you have it. 8 ways to unclog a toilet without a plunger. If these solutions don’t clear your drain, it might be time to call a professional.

BMW Plumbing can help with any issue big or small, from sewer line rodding to water heater repair in Highland Park, IL and throughout the Northshore. Call us at (847) 948-8484 to schedule an appointment today!

About the Author


I’m Andy Visconi, the Operations Manager at BMW Plumbing since 1999.  When I’m not talking to our many Customers about their plumbing needs, scheduling one of our expert plumbers to a home or business or responding to plumbing emergencies, I can be found spending time with my wife Megan and two children.

(847) 948-8484