No one likes to talk about it, but truth be told, it happens. Toilets malfunction. They get clogged. Sure, it's inconvenient, but more than that, downright embarrassing if you're somewhere other than the privacy of your own home. Here's a cheat sheet so you'll know ahead of time how to unclog a toilet.

Stop it from overflowing

The moment you realize something's wrong, and the water level is rising, you need to act fast to turn it off.

Now you can stop worrying about flooding the place and move on to freeing the clog using one of the following methods.


Sounds pretty basic, but a plunger really is the best option for how to unclog a toilet. Of course, this assumes you have the right kind of plunger.

Every household needs this basic, inexpensive tool. You want a plunger like the NEIKO toilet plunger with a flange on the bottom that is designed to fit a toilet — not a flat bottom, which is better for drains and showers.

Dish soap and hot water

Everyday cheapskate: How to unclog a toilet -- quick and easy

If you don't have a plunger, or using it didn't clear the problem, move on to this option:

If you want to perform this trick without leaving the bathroom, give shampoo or hand soap a try, followed by hot tap water. It can't hurt, but chances are good that it will work, and no one will be the wiser.

Baking soda and vinegar

If you don't have a plunger handy, this option is likely to do the trick, provided the water level in the bowl has mostly subsided, and the water supply shut-off valve is still turned off.

Head to the pantry and grab baking soda and vinegar. This can be tricky because baking soda and vinegar when combined create a powerful fizzing action that can do more than just produce an impressive amount of bubbles; it can also release even the most stubborn of drain clogs. You don't want to go overboard, but you want to clear this clog, so follow these instructions exactly.

If needed, you can safely repeat this process once more, but wait for a little while.

Safety Warning: Do not pour vinegar or baking soda into your drain either before or after using drain-cleaning chemicals such as Drano.

There you go — how to deal with a clogged toilet like a pro.

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