How to Unclog a Toilet

There are a number of reasons your toilet might be clogged; an over-zealous use of toilet roll, a lost toy, or a discarded dinner. It may seem like an ominous task, but with years of experience in the drainage trade, can give you all the information you need to know how to unclog a toilet. If you'd rather call in the experts, just give us a call on 0843 216 3645 and one of our friendly team will be happy to help, 24 hours a day.  

How to unclog a toilet

Preparation, preparation, preparation

When dealing with any mishaps involving water, you should always be over cautious and protect the surrounding area. Lay newspaper or old towels around the toilet in case there are any unfortunate overflows or splashes. You should also be kitted out in a pair of rubber gloves to avoid coming into contact with any water from the toilet. If the blockage is in sight, reach in with your gloves and try to move this yourself. If you can’t see the blockage and you have flushed once without the water draining, whatever you do, do not flush again. This will cause the toilet bowl to fill up with water and things could get messy!

Take the plunge

Start off with the basics. A good quality plunger with a bell shaped head should do the trick, but if you can find one with a flanged bottom (an additional plastic end) this will help ensure a tight seal on the toilet bowl. Ensure the plunger is placed over the entire hole, you should feel some resistance when you pull on the plunger. Pump the plunger back and forth, this should loosen the blockage and force is down through the pipes, but it may take multiple attempts before you start to see any movement. When the water drains down then congratulations! You’ve unclogged your toilet!

I don’t have a plunger!

If you are in an emergency and don’t have a plunger to hand, there are a number of alternative techniques you can try using things you should already have around the house that could help unclog your toilet. Bear in mind most shop brought drain cleaners are not for use on toilets, as they form a chemical reaction that could damage the pipes, so avoid using these. However household shampoo and washing up liquid is much gentler on your toilet and could cut through the blockage. Try mixing shampoo or washing up liquid with warm water, or for a stronger concoction try a mixture of warm water, with one parts baking soda and two parts white vinegar. Pour your chosen cleaner into the toilet bowl and let this sit for as long as you can afford (a few hours at least but overnight is ideal). Once ready, try flushing the toilet to unclog it. Hopefully the blockage should have been broken down and is now easily moveable. 


The best way to deal with a clogged toilet is to prevent it happening in the first place. Make sure everyone in the household knows what can and can’t be flushed down the toilet. That means no excessive toilet paper, sanitary products, barbie dolls or your pet goldfish.

If you have tried everything and still can’t seem to unclog your toilet, then you need to call in the experts. At our drainage engineers have years of experience and are trained to deal with your problem quickly and efficiently. 

Our London Drainage Services Team

The drainage service covers London and the surrounding areas, and our team is over 100 strong. Meet a few of our drainage experts:

  • London Drainage expert, Sam Bateman Sam Bateman Drainage expert in SE2
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