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3 Tips For Unclogging A Toilet -- After You've Tried A Plunger

When a toilet clogs, the first thing you reach for is a plunger. But sometimes even the sturdiest plunger and old-fashioned elbow grease aren't enough to unclog the toilet. Here are a few tips for how you can try and unclog the toilet on your own.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Liquid drain cleaner is available at most stores, but costs a pretty penny and still doesn't always work. You can try a cheaper at-home alternative using baking soda as the star ingredient. Note that this only works if the clog is still allowing some toilet water to flush past.

First, dump a cup of baking soda into the bowl of the toilet. Quickly follow with a cup of white vinegar. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes then add two cups of hot water. Try to flush the toilet. The chemical reaction between the baking soda and vinegar might prove strong enough to push the clog out of the pipe.

Coat Hanger

This method is kind of the poor man's alternative to a drain snake. Straighten out a wire coat hanger until its one long piece of wire. Put on rubber gloves and slowly feed the wire into the opening at the bottom of your toilet bowl. Bend gently to get the wire to feed into the pipe. If you meet hard resistance, you're likely hitting the side of the pipe. Readjust the wire and wiggle until you find a clear spot to keep moving. When you feel you've hit the clog, start poking at it to try and get it to break up.

If you can suddenly push the wire through cleanly, the clog broke up and you can remove the wire and return to flushing normally. If you poke and prod at the clog for 10 minutes and nothing changes, you'll probably want to use another tactic.

Wet/Dry Vacuum

A wet/dry vacuum is specially made to suck up water and is safe for this usage. Do not use your ordinary household vacuum for clog removal. Place the nozzle of the vacuum firmly in the opening of your bowl and turn on the machine. Have someone else turn on the machine if you need to keep a tight hold on the nozzle end. If the clog is close enough to the toilet, this method might work to suck it out. But be prepared for whatever it might be and how to properly dispose of any emerging sewage.

If your toilet remains stubbornly clogged, or you don't want to wait for a vacuum full of poo, call a plumber, such as Rakeman Plumbing, for help.