How to unclog a toilet without a plunger: salt, vinegar, hot water, soap and baking soda

Dealing with a clogged toilet can be annoying. Luckily it is often quite easy to unclog a toilet.

Using a plunger is often the easiest way to unclog a toilet. In some instances, this might not be available though. Let’s take a look at some other options.

 You can try to add water to the toilet bowl with a bucket or by flushing. If you are lucky, it will push the clog away. In general, this won’t work but it is worth a try.

How to unclog a toilet with salt: you can pour this down your drains

Salt can remove certain types of clogs. It won’t work on a lot of items though (for example if a toy is stuck in the drain). You can give it a try if the clog is made up of dust or dirt.

Get a cup of table salt and pour it into your toilet. Let it sit overnight and flush it in the morning. At this point, you will see if the clog has been removed or not.

Most clogs don’t interact with salt so nothing will happen. You don’t want to create reactions in your drains as this can damage them.

You can give it a try if you are confident that it won’t damage your system (for example, the septic tank might get damaged if you use a lot of salt). Salt is cheap and easy to use.

You have to be careful when you mix different liquids in your toilet. People often try several things such as drain stopper, salt, and baking soda. These can start to interact and destroy your drain.

Your toilet is no chemistry experiment so be careful with the things that you throw in it. Mixing different things can lead to problems. The plumber can charge more if they have to work on this as they have to wear protective equipment.

There are better approaches than using salt to unclog a toilet. Let’s examine these below.

Unclog a toilet with boiling water

 You might think that boiling water will remove a clog. It might work but this is not something that most plumbers do.

This is not recommended. Drains are often made out of plastic and hot water can deform them. Most clogs will not get removed by heat anyway. Toilets are generally made out of porcelain. This can crack if they come in contact with hot water. You might have to replace your toilet if this happens.

It would take a lot of water to warm up the water in your toilet as there is a lot of it standing in the pipes. Most clogs won’t dissolve due to this as they don’t break down due to heat. Therefore this method is a lot of work, will likely not work, and might even create some damage.

Hot water might break down soaps or things that will melt. These items generally don’t clog a toilet though.

As discussed before, adding cold water in a toilet is generally not a problem if it doesn’t overflow. This can push the clog away if it is a rather small one. Using boiling water is riskier.

Using boiling water can also be dangerous as you have to carry it around. Let’s take a look at some better options.

Unclog a toilet with soap and water

Everyone has dish soap in their kitchen. Simply mix a few spoons with a gallon of water. Once this is done, you can pour it into the toilet bowl and let it rest for a few hours.

You can repeat this process a few times. Given that soap is cheap, you have nothing to lose.

It can work if the clog is small or disintegrates due to the soap. If you are lucky, the added water pressure can push away the clog.

Also, make sure that the toilet doesn’t overflow when you do this. Water can come back if there is a clog so be careful. Don’t use harsh soaps or liquids as this can make it harder to work on the toilet later on. 

Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

In some instances, the soap can make a clog even worse as it can stick to the clog and make it harder to remove. A plumbing system is quite complex and adding soaps and other liquids can affect it (especially if you have a septic system). 

Adding water shouldn’t be a problem and it can be worth the try. Don’t use boiling water though. You can grab a few buckets and use this to add water to your toilet. This can create a flow in your drains.

In all likelihood, this won’t work and you will need a plunger. Plungers can add air pressure and push the clog away. Water can do the same but it is harder to build up this pressure.

Unclog a toilet with baking soda or vinegar: the best product to unclog a toilet

Most people have vinegar and baking soda in their kitchen. This can be used to unclog a toilet as it creates a reaction and starts to bubble.

These bubbles can break a clog and the toilet might flush again.

Simply mix the same amount of soda with the same amount of vinegar in a bucket. Once this is done, you can pour the bucket in the toilet bowl.

You will probably need a lot of soda and vinegar to get this working. Let this rest for a few hours and see if the clog has been removed.

Some clogs (for example a toy that has been flushed) won’t get fixed with this method. It generally works if there is dust or dirt that bloks the toilet.

Be careful with this method if you have a septic system as it can stop the process in the septic tank and you might need to get your tank pumped out.

Getting a plunger is also a great investment as it is something that lasts for several years and it is very affordable. You can always ask a neighbor or friend if you can use theirs. There is nothing shameful about having a clogged toilet as it can happen to anyone.

They are quite cheap to get and are available in most grocery stores. This is what plumbers use and there is a reason for it. It works! Professionals often use tools that are made by Rothenberger.

Just find a plunger and get it fixed. In some instances, you still might need to call a plumber as the plunger might not solve the problem but generally, it should do the trick. 

Vinegar can also have an impact on your cesspool or other systems. You don’t want to create bubbles in your drains. Therefore I wouldn’t use it. It would be a shame if you damaged a system given that plungers are very cheap to get.  It is always a great idea to wear gloves when you are working on your toilet.

You can also get a closet auger. This allows you to go deeper into your drains. Read the instructions when you do this as it can get stuck if you use it wrong. You can also get hurt so this is something that has to be used with care. Call a plumber if you don’t find a solution.

Plungers are used by plumbers for a reason: they often work. You can go to the store or ask a neighbor if you can use theirs. Don’t use harsh liquids (such as Drano) as these can damage your toilet or pipes. 

In some instances, a plumber will have to come out to use a snake to clean your drains. For example, tree roots can grow in drains. These can be impossible to remove if you don’t have professional tools.