Introduction: How to Unclog a Blocked Toilet Without a Plunger

Picture of How to Unclog a Blocked Toilet Without a Plunger

What would you do if your toilet got clogged on a Saturday evening when the shops are closed and you are about to host a curry and beer party?

This instructable will show you a simple method for unclogging a toilet using hot water and shampoo. While there are other methods of clearing a toilet drain, this is a great option for unclogging a toilet because you don’t have to touch the water.

You will need:

  • 1 clogged toilet (works best when someone has been overzealous with the toilet paper)
  • A generous amount of surfactant (i.e., Dawn Dishwashing liquid, shampoo, liquid soap, or any other cleaner that gets sudsy)
  • Hot (but not boiling) water
  • A bucket or a basin to transport water to toilet

This will only work with a toilet that is not overflowing and has some room to hold extra water.

(For squeamish people: The picture of the blocked toilet was not created with actual bodily excretions.)

Step 1: Add Shampoo and Hot Water.

Picture of Add Shampoo and Hot Water.

Get your bottle of shampoo/ soap and squirt a generous amount into the bowl.

Follow that with a bucket of very hot water from the hot tap (not boiling).
Fill the toilet full but not overflowing.

The reason you should not use boiling is because it has been said that boiling water can cause the toilet bowl to crack (I have not personally tested this assertion though as I do not have the money to buy a new toilet).
Then go have a cup of tea and let the blockage 'marinate'.

Step 2: Return and See Your Handy Work.

Picture of Return and See Your Handy Work.

Hopefully after a few minutes the water level will have lowered. (Hot water helps break up toilet paper quicker and the soap lubricates the passage of solid material).
If nothing has happened wait 10 minutes more. If still nothing has happened you will probably need to use a different method (or bail some of the water out and add more hot water/ soap).

If the water level is lower than before add more soap and more hot water (hot water does not need to be as hot as the first time as this time there is less water in the toilet to heat up).
Again wait for water to drain (this should be quicker).

Repeat the process until water flows freely.

Step 3: Done

Picture of Done

Remind your party goers to treat your toilet with respect and only put bodily excretions and small amounts of toilet paper in.


RayC123 (author)2017-11-30

Holy cr@p Batman, put some cheap shampoo and hot water down and it worked, nearly called the homeserve people, would have cost me £50. Brilliant.

MOSES001 (author)2017-11-24

I tried it and it worked in minutes. I had a clogged toilet that I was trying to flush waiting for it to go down and the flushing with a bucket but it was not working. I saw your page, followed the instruction and unvelievably, in minutes I was clog free. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

devontaffy (author)2017-11-21

WOW!!!!!! the bowl cleared almost immediately.thanks.

ElaineL55 (author)2017-09-23

Thank you! This simple process really does work - unclogged my bathroom in less than 5 minutes.

homevidu (author)2017-07-23

thank you, it worked very well in the first instance. I used coles dis-washing liquid and boiling water. waited for 10 minutes it did not work so I left to shops for grocery shoping when I returned I had a clean toilet. Wow amazing:)

guavabum (author)2017-07-04

just signed up to say thank you and how much trouble it saved me!! I pulled 6 kettle of almost boiled water down and the whole process took around 20 mins , I was about to give up hope and go out and get a plunger also contemplating getting a plumber, then voila, it all worked!!!

guavabum (author)guavabum2017-07-04

using dishwashing liquid also cleaned out the toilet bowl

noprobs (author)2017-06-23

This really works! Slightly blocked loo for a few weeks just kept on filling up. It just glugged away on the first bucketful of hot water and quite a lot of washing up liquid! Amazing. If it's still good on Monday I'll be really impressed.

SanaJ3 (author)2017-06-09

Omgggg!!!! It totally and completely works.. after pouring a dozen bottles of bleach down the clogged toilet....THIS is what worked.. thankyou so much...

GiangĐ1 (author)2017-05-12

I dit twice and it works !!!! thanks so much for posting this amazing tip, and thanks Guys because of your positive comments keeping me give it a second try, Thanks very much for saving me from calling plumber : )

DarylH14 (author)2017-04-29

Voila! It worked brilliantly. Had to wait 30 seconds and everything disappeared!

toilet a bit blocked but i ignored it a had a few more poos so it was triple dump blocked the flush was taking like 30 40 minutes to subside...3 kettle of almost boiling water and half bottle of washing up liquid filled to brim nothing moving was like ok leave it an hour....5 minutes later hear a whoosh busted litrally 10 minutes saved cost of a plumber or a really shitty job! cheers miricale triple dump blocked sorted crazy

qwtqwe (author)2017-04-24


I am only signing up to say this worked.....literally 30 seconds.

PaulaA63 (author)2017-04-16

I too signed up just to say how wonderfully this worked!

I was desperate! My bathroom was clogged, causing horrible things to come out of my bathtub drain, as well as the main bathroom, and that shower. What a mess! Used liquid corrosive 3x's, a snake, and plunger over the course of 6 hours. Nothing budged.

Can you say, "bad, bad clog"?

I tried this and it worked the 1st time round, but the clog just relocated itself. So was patient, and did the soap and hot water 2 more x's, over the course of 3 hours and I now have clear drains in all 4 places!!! Yay! Yipee! Hooray!!

I used a good amount each time of an old bottle of Avon bubble bath, followed by hot water each time.

Happy unclogging people! This worked great!!

Uta51 (author)2017-03-13

I had to try it twice...didn't use enough soap (used Dial liquid Hand soap), and the water wasn't hot enough..and I had to plunge it a few times, but it wasn't a toilet paper clog, my husband has really big poops! I'm so happy it worked! I hate calling our Landlord!

MaryS383 (author)Uta512017-04-05

Me too, I'll do anything to keep the maintenance guys out of my apartment. This worked like a champ.

csecve (author)2017-03-26

I had a poop-clogged toilet (major yuck) and I didn't want to have to put a plunger in that awful mess, so was glad to come across this site. It took three tries over three days, but it finally worked. I signed up just to say Thank You!

SigmundF (author)2017-03-15

I love you! You genius!

I was scared this wouldn't work...I started filling plunged for a few seconds...and it's finally gone!!

You are so awesome!

AppleP7 (author)2017-03-04

It works! Can't believe it

Tobynollie (author)2017-02-27

Fabulous! I was sure it would not work-but it did immediately!! I plunged for 24 hrs; waiting in between for about two hrs for the level to go down. I put in 1/2 c of tresemmé and it immediately emptied the bowl. I then poured in the hot water and it works perfectly!

dogearedandfurry (author)2017-02-24

Holy cow, add me to the list of people who really didn't think this would work, got desperate enough to try, and then created an account here just to come and agree it amazingly works! Many thanks!

I put in washing up liquid and hot water, waited a while... then added more hot water when it went down. Was a bit worried that if I flushed I'd have bubbles overflowing, so I tried using the loo brush as a plunger again and that got it. But only after the hot water and washing up liquid.

Marekot (author)2017-02-24

Good idea. Thank you for posting! I tried it and it definitely works! My toilet was blocked for 4 days. I plunged and plunged, nothing happen..

kla bruyère (author)2017-02-18

Downy Fabric Softener and two plunges (no hot water) worked instantly. This was after I had been plunging every few minutes for several hours to no avail.

JoanneD40 (author)2017-02-14

Briliant. Worked like a charm. Quarter bottle of Treseme much cheaper than a plumber, thanks for the tip :)

Mathman4095 (author)2017-02-10

My plugs typically have some flow and the plug probably is not under water when the toilet bowl drains out. I have had great success just continually filling the toilet bowl with hot water and keeping the water level high as much as possible to maintain maximum flow. It has always worked. I have a bucket handy for this.

Kozz (author)2017-01-22

I'm here to also acclaim this method. I used maybe a half-cup of some Dawn Ultra, filled the rest of the bowl with HOT water and waited about 45 minutes. Suddenly a flush went down with no effort. Thanks!

GodisGoodURnot (author)Kozz2017-02-09

"acclaim"... really... and "half-cup" where are the men around here!?! Enough with the half measures already!

SeanP115 (author)2017-02-01

Signed up to confirm that this does work. A good few squirts of shampoo, half a bucket of water, 10 minutes and 2 flushes later = blockage cleared.

Great stuff thanks

GodisGoodURnot (author)SeanP1152017-02-09

Oh cmon, a "few squirts" and "half a bucket"... be a man! Fill that sucker up!

GodisGoodURnot (author)2017-02-09

Mmmmmm Marinated Poop!

nagreen (author)2017-01-23

This helped! But with perseverance. This blockage was the mother of all blockages; I'm usually adept with a plunger and auger, but nothing was working on this one. First I tried dish soap, then shampoo with the hot water. The blockage didn't clear on its own. I still had to use the hand-held auger snake to get through the blockage, but I believe the soap/water combo helped soften things up! Thanks!

iRandom (author)2017-01-21

Yet another successfuly unblocked bog.

I dropped a "finish platinum" tab in the dirty full pan and left it an hour or so before pouring a tub of tap hot water down it. Cleared strait away.

Thanks so much.

TomL187 (author)2017-01-17

Even though I had a small plunger, the block wouldn't clear..within an hour, with three buckets of hot water and half a bottle of bubble bath it worked! Thank you!

stella1018 (author)2017-01-15

it worked!!!!!!

kinchan (author)2017-01-12

Created an account just to say thank you so much! This worked wonders! I didn't even have to wait ten minutes for it to dissolve, it worked almost immediately with shampoo and hot water. Thank you again!

ricky_ (author)2017-01-07

Just created an account to say thank you, this is incredible! Hours
wasted trial and error.. Couple of minutes after adding soap, shampoo,
hot water and some oil (for good measure lol) the clog was gone. Thanks!

Flyxie (author)2017-01-03

I live in an apartment and I had one of those poos that you stand up and realize you arne't done. After several of these and a butt that hurt from wiping my toilet clogged and flooded my bathroom and leaked to the downstairs, crappy apartment that didn't silicone the bowdlerizes of the floor pf the bathroom. i used this with lots of hand soap and the water and it flushed fulling right away. I thought it was done and flushed but no such luck. I added the soap I had left and more water and now I sit here hoping it will still work.

ibuari (author)2017-01-03

Easy breezy and worked like magic!! Got minty shampoo from dollar store for this and the bathroom smells fresh. You are blessed for sharing the knowledge. Thank you.

LuisS262 (author)2016-12-30

I just registered to say "Thank you so much sir"... Half quarter of hand soap and a 5 gallon bucket of hot water did the miracle...

DeadBlonde (author)2016-12-25

Wow, tried all day to clear the bowl. Did this and it worked!

DeadBlonde (author)2016-12-25

OK by "very generous" how much exactly? I'm afraid the toilet will bubble over LOL

quaah (author)2016-12-20

It really works!!! Our toilet had been clogged for a week. NOTHING worked. This worked in less than 5 minutes. Hoohoo! A clean toilet at last! Thank you!

akichiro (author)2016-07-06

what should i do?? i did the instruction even if it seems like no tisue causes the clog

DaveJ81 (author)akichiro2016-12-16

I know akichiro's issue is 5 months old now, but replying for those who are still having issues. Please try this idea first of dish soap and hot water, it will solve "most" of the clog problems out there and it's much cheaper/easier. If this does not work after several attempts, then you may have to pull the toilet due to an object actually stuck in the toilet (like the issue I am having). My water goes down, but only 50% as fast as it used to. I know something is stuck.

Beeeeeeeeeee (author)2016-11-07

I read all the comments and thought i would get the same result if I try. It made things worse. The water is now full and it's not going anywhere ??

DaveJ81 (author)Beeeeeeeeeee2016-12-16

I did the same thing with dish soap and hot water quite a few number of times. I now know it's not a dissolvable clog and probably something the kids dropped in the toilet. At least this idea is much cheaper/easier and worth a try first before getting your hands "dirty", and once I find the object it will be cleaner than it was before :)

Mtlnd (author)2016-12-15

This worked wonders for me!! Another reason to love the internet.

kaliweftie (author)2016-12-11

From the Philippines here and believe it, this really works! I was desperate because the toilet won't flush completely. Some water goes down but it won't get rid of the "package" my daughter left. Followed the steps using a local dishwashing then after two attempts (waiting approximately 1 episode of Agent Carter in between), voila! I heard that lovely flushing sound everyone here's been talking about. Kudos to whoever thought this up! A definite lifesaving trick!

blobbinator (author)2016-12-10

This worked like magic! No plunger needed and worked almost immediately. Created an account just to say THANKS

CrissF1 (author)2016-12-03

Even after reading all the positive posts, I was very doubtful, but WOW. It was incredible. Toilet was backed up by tons of toilet paper...I knew the culprit...WOW. Thank You and God Bless You.

About This Instructable




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