How to Unclog a Toilet

Let’s answer the question how to unclog a toilet. Most toilet clogs occur in the bowl’s internal trap. But clogs can also occur in a number of other places, such as the closet bend, sanitary tee, and main waste stack.

If a clog is in the toilet’s trap, there’s a good chance you can clear it yourself. But if the clog is in the pipes behind the toilet, your best bet may be to hire a professional plumber.

That said, attempting to clear a clog is the only way to find out where the clog is and determine whether you need to hire a professional. To unclog a toilet, do the following:

Identify the Cause of the Clog

Most toilet clogs are caused by solid waste, toilet tissue, paper towels, cloth diapers, and sanitary napkins. If you know that the clog is a cloth diaper or sanitary napkin, skip right to using a closet auger (below). Otherwise, try a plunger first.

Use a Plunger


  1. Make sure there’s enough water in the bowl to cover the rubber cup of the plunger and create a seal. If there isn’t, add more water.
  2. Extend the skirt of your force-cup plunger.
  3. Insert the plunger into the toilet so the plunger’s mouth covers the trap opening at the bottom of the toilet bowl.
  4. Plunge vigorously with both hands. (The most common mistake people make when plunging is not using enough force with each plunge.)
  5. Rest between plunges, and maintain the water level in the bowl so that it covers the plunger’s cup.
  6. Repeat 6–8 times, then test by flushing.

If plunging doesn’t get the job done, try a closet auger.

Use a Closet Auger

1.Turn the handle of the auger while inserting the end into the trap opening at the bottom of the bowl.

2. As you press the end of the closet auger into the opening, continue to turn the handle.

3. About 10 turns should be enough to clear the obstruction.

If a closet auger doesn’t work, hire a professional plumber.

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