Introduction: Unclogging a Toilet

If you have a smelly clog then welcome, you're in the right place! These lazy instructions provide a fast, simple, yet effective way to unclog a toilet, and all without the mess of having to use or clean a dirty plunger!

In a rush?! Don't worry, plumbing and general "handyman" expertise not required! Skip the remaining intro and move on...ahead you will find alerts, items needed and steps for unclogging a toilet.


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This technique is great for someone who lives in an apartment, where space is limited and cleaning something like a plunger might be difficult. And by the way, it works just as great in a house - I've used this method to unclog the toilet at my parents place many times, with a 100% success rate that includes both birthdays and holidays. Just previously I referred to these set of instructions as lazy, only because this is how Mother describes my standards of sanitation and general cleaning methodology compared to...well everyone else's. Acting prudently with regards to ethically responsible marketing, I will include such a description.

Perceptions aside, I like this method because I believe cleaning less to unclog the mess is a good thing. So confident this can handle any future &*^% deposited its way, I don't even own a plunger in my apartment. Not everyone will be comfortable with this practice, so I won't claim saving $5 to be a potential benefit.

I learned of this technique while I was a freshman dorming in college. This was some time ago and as I have grown more mature, the value of this technique has also increased (most recently saving me from numerous unpleasant conversations with my brother’s wife). If you don’t want to deal with the many messes a dirty plunger can create then give this instructable a try the next is your responsibility to unclog a toilet.

written by Marc Lee, 2/26/2014 (

Step 1: ALERTS

  • These instructions are intended to remedy clogs of human waste associated with the normal use of a toilet
  • Instructions will probably NOT work if you tried to flush down an entire Sunday newspaper, a roll of paper towels, your child’s lego collection, etc…
  • Intended for AGES 16 to adult. Young children should not be attempting to unclog a toilet without adult supervision. Senior citizens should refrain from attempting these set of instructions as it involves carrying a large container of hot water into a bathroom.
  • If water is leaking from the bathroom pipes, the toilet is making funny noises, or the situation seems dangerous, STOP and call a plumber, or 911 for an emergency.

Step 2: Items Needed

  1. container for hot water (enough to safely hold about 1.5 gallons)
  2. dish-washing soap (i.e. Palmolive, at least a quarter bottle)
  3. hot water from tap

Step 3: Squeeze Dish-washing Soap Into the Clogged Toilet

Hint: Be generous for maximum lubrication of substances clogging the pipes.

Step 4: Pour Hot Water Into the Clogged Toilet

Fill the container with roughly 1.5 gallons of hot water and gradually pour into the clogged toilet. Increase the rate of pour as appropriate.

Wait 5 minutes.

Note: The dish-washing soap helps to lubricate, while the hot water helps to pressure the clog through the pipes.

CAUTION: If it appears that the water level in the toilet may overflow, then STOP.

Step 5: Repeat Steps 3 & 4 (once)

Step 6: Examine for a Decrease in Water Level...then Flush!

Examine the water level in the toilet – a decreased water level (as compared to when clogged) is an indication the clog has passed - FLUSH TOILET!

If the water level has NOT decreased, see the next optional step.

Step 7: (optional) Try the Plunger or Call a Plumber

  1. Repeat steps 3 and 4 a third time.
  2. Flush toilet.
  3. If the water level has not gone down and flushing does not unclog the toilet, try the old fashioned plunger, or call a plumber to AVOID leaving a clogged toilet.

Step 8: Images Cited