How to Unblock a Badly Blocked Toilet

Learn effective and simple methods to unblock a badly clogged toilet quickly. Follow our guide with tips and tricks to restore your bog’s functionality.

A badly blocked toilet not only looks bad but also smells bad. Whether it’s your fault or not (don’t worry…we’re not judging), it’s an unpleasant and downright inconvenient problem that you’ll want to get sorted ASAP. 

In this guide, we'll walk you through several methods to unblock a badly blocked toilet using items you probably already have at home. We’ll also cover when it's time to call a professional plumber.

Understanding the problem

To effectively unblock a badly blocked toilet, it’s crucial to understand what might be causing the blockage. 

Excessive toilet paper, which can block the toilet drain, and non-flushable items such as baby wipes, cotton balls, and sanitary products are common culprits. 

These items should never be flushed down the toilet. Additionally, large amounts of organic waste can sometimes cause clogs.

Occasionally, issues within the plumbing system can lead to slow draining and blockages. Knowing the cause can help you choose the right method to clear the clog.


Essential tools and materials

Before you start tackling the blockage, gather some essential tools and materials. 

You’ll need:

  • Rubber gloves to protect your hands
  • A toilet plunger
  • A wire coat hanger
  • Bicarbonate of soda (aka baking soda)
  • White vinegar
  • Washing up liquid
  • A wet/dry vacuum cleaner (optional)
  • Old towels
  • A plastic bottle
  • Hot water (very hot but not boiling)
  • A container or bucket (e.g. a washing-up bowl)

You may already have most of these items on hand at home, but if not, they’re readily available at hardware stores and supermarkets.


  • The hot water method

Hot water is one of the simplest ways to tackle a clogged toilet. 

This method works particularly well for minor clogs caused by toilet paper or organic waste. 

  • Start by putting on your rubber gloves for safety. 
  • Heat water until it’s very hot but not boiling, as boiling water can crack porcelain toilets. 
  • Carefully pour the hot water into the toilet bowl from waist height. This helps to push the blockage through the pipes. 
  • Allow the water to sit for a few minutes, then try flushing the toilet.

If the water drains slowly or not at all, you may need to repeat the process or try another method.

  • The baking soda and vinegar method

Another effective method involves using a chemical reaction to break down clogs. 

  • Pour half a cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl, followed by one cup of white vinegar. You’ll see a fizzy reaction as the two substances combine. 
  • Let the mixture sit for about 30 minutes to an hour. 
  • After waiting, flush the toilet. 

If the blockage persists, try combining this method with hot water for better results.

  • Using a toilet plunger

A toilet plunger is a classic and effective tool for unblocking a badly clogged toilet. 

  • Start by placing old towels around the toilet to catch any spills. 
  • Insert the plunger into the toilet bowl, ensuring it covers the drain completely. 
  • Push the plunger down gently at first to create a seal, then plunge vigorously in a circular motion. 
  • After a few minutes of plunging, check if the water level is dropping. If it is, continue plunging until the toilet drains completely.

Again, this method might prove more effective if used alongside one of the other methods we cover in this guide.

  • The wire coat hanger technique

A bog-standard (pun intended) wire coat hanger can be handy for breaking up stubborn clogs. 

  • Begin by straightening out a wire coat hanger, keeping one end hooked. 
  • Carefully insert the hooked end into the toilet drain, trying to hook onto the blockage.
  • Use the hanger to push or pull the blockage through the U-bend. 
  • Once you feel the blockage move, try flushing the toilet.

This method can be particularly useful for dislodging stuck objects, but you might need to do several flushes and then repeats to completely clear the blockage.

  • Washing up liquid and hot water

Washing up liquid can lubricate the pipes and help move the clog through. 

  • Pour a generous amount of washing-up liquid (about half a cup) into the toilet bowl, then follow up with very hot water. 
  • Allow the mixture to sit for 15-20 minutes. 
  • After waiting, try flushing the toilet to see if the clog has cleared.

This method can be especially effective when combined with other techniques, such as plunging.

  • Call a JustFix plumber

If none of these methods work, it might be time to call a professional plumber with JustFix. 

Persistent blockages, frequent clogs, water leaks, and foul odours that don’t go away after unclogging attempts are all signs that you need expert help.

Our fully qualified plumbers don’t mind getting their hands dirty and have the equipment needed to tackle more stubborn blockages.


Top tips to prevent future clogs

To keep your toilet from clogging in the future, try to use only as much toilet paper as necessary and avoid flushing non-flushable items like baby wipes, cotton balls, and sanitary products. 

Regularly clean and maintain your toilet and plumbing system, and be mindful of what goes down your toilet to ensure it’s designed to handle typical waste and toilet paper only. 

Taking these preventive measures can help you avoid such issues in the future and keep your toilet in good working order. As we all know, prevention is always better than cure.

Get yourself a plumber from JustFix

Unblocking a badly blocked toilet can be daunting, but with the right methods and tools, you can often clear the blockage yourself. 

But if you've tried everything, then no sweat! 

Get in touch with a qualified plumber at JustFix, the home of high-quality service and affordable prices.

Our teams of Fixers work nationwide to provide you with professionals for fair, fixed prices. It's pretty simple, really. We're surprised no one's done it before.

When you book online with us, we'll match you with a qualified local plumber who can come and tackle your loo at a time that suits you.

FAQs about how to unblock a toilet

How do you unblock a seriously blocked toilet?

Unblocking a seriously blocked toilet requires patience and the right approach. Start by assessing the cause of the blockage. If it’s a minor clog caused by too much toilet paper or organic waste, you might be able to clear it with hot water or a toilet plunger. Pouring very hot water (but not boiling) into the toilet bowl can help to soften and push through the blockage. If this doesn’t work, try using a toilet plunger. Ensure you have the right plunger type for toilets, which typically has a flange.

If none of these methods work, it might be time to contact a JustFix plumber.

What will unclog a toilet fast?

If you need to unclog a toilet quickly, using a toilet plunger is often the fastest and most effective method. Ensure the plunger has a good seal over the drain, and plunge vigorously in a circular motion. This action can quickly dislodge the clog and restore normal flushing. Another fast method involves hot water and washing up liquid. Pour a generous amount of washing-up liquid into the toilet bowl, then add very hot water (not boiling). Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the soap to lubricate the blockage, then flush the toilet. This can often clear clogs swiftly.

The JustFix App is designed to make your life easier and provide solutions to your home.
Download the JustFix app today for a fast, easy and convenient service.