Prevent a Plumber Visit by Following These Essential Methods

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Being faced with a clogged toilet is a frustrating experience. Visions of overflowing water and a depleting bank account might come rushing to your head. Thankfully, there are simple and effective DIY methods for clearing the clog without destroying your house or breaking the bank.

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Thumbtack estimates that the cost of basic plumbing services averages between $130 and $150 nationwide, with prices increasing the more laborious the task. With the guidance we’ve gathered from experts, you can handle most clogs yourself and save a few bucks in the process.

We recommend that you follow the guidance in sequence, ramping up your efforts to the next method when the preceding method doesn’t set your flush free. Learn how to unclog a toilet below.

The First Thing You Should Do When Your Toilet Gets Clogged

Let’s start with what not to do. While it may feel counterintuitive, do not start off by continuing to flush the clogged toilet. Nathan Ripley, who runs a house cleaning and maid service called Maid Just Right, says, “This could lead to water leaking all over the place.”

How to Unclog a Toilet

If you have already reached the point of overflowing your toilet, turn the water flowing to your toilet off by twisting the shutoff valve, located behind the bottom of your toilet, in a clockwise direction. Then pick up the phone and call a plumber.

Ripley also warns that a clog that is not isolated to one location in your house is likely the result of a malfunction in the main pipe. Again, pick up the phone and call a plumber so that you don’t do any lasting damage to your house’s plumbing.

Seeing Signs of Your Toilet Clogging Up? When to Use Your Plunger

Jeremy Redlinger of Right Away Sewer and Drain Cleaning says you can be proactive by being on the lookout for common signs that a toilet may be clogging, including “water filling up to the top of the toilet before draining,” and a toilet that stops and starts throughout the flush or a slow- draining toilet.

If this is occurring, take a plunger to the toilet and start working at the clog.

“A plunger should be able to unclog any blockage that has not had a chance to build up and cause other issues,” Redlinger says.

This simplehuman Toilet Plunger has solid customer reviews; it's available for about $30 on

How to Unclog Your Toilet With Drano

Redlinger advises that if the plunger doesn’t fix the issue, you can turn to Drano “to help break down the clog and resolve the problem.”

You can find Drano Max Build-Up Remover available for about $12 on Just follow these instructions, provided directly from the manufacturer: Flush 4 ounces of Drano down the toilet for three consecutive days. To give the Drano time to act, wait approximately six hours before flushing the toilet after pouring in the Drano.

The DIY Mixture Method of Unclogging a Toilet

You can also create a DIY solution that should break up the clog, similarly to Drano. Follow these steps provided by Redlinger:

How to Unclog a Toilet Via the Snake Method

If these methods fail to get your toilet running properly, it may be time to head to your local hardware store or go online to buy a snake or auger tool. You can purchase a plastic snake like this one from Green-world ($5.70 for a pack of 3 on, but tougher clogs will require something more robust, like this heavy-duty RIDGID Toilet Auger with Bulb Head ($31.58 from In a pinch, you can get creative by twisting up a metal coat hanger to use in lieu of the snake, but a snake that is designed for the job will be more effective.

Leslie Pritchard, an expert at, recommends that you protect the area around the toilet prior to snaking by laying down a towel or a tarp. You should also wear a pair or rubber gloves and have a garbage bag close by to discard any debris that the snake retrieves.

Once you have everything in place for a clean-as-possible process, follow these steps “slowly and carefully, as to not scratch the porcelain or damage your pipes.”:

Once you are comfortable that you’ve removed most of the debris, plunge the toilet to clear any remaining smaller pieces, and then clean up residual mess.

You’ve Tried Everything to Fix Your Clogged Toilet: When to Call a Plumber

If you’ve run out of clog-busting mixtures and your snake keeps coming out empty, your remaining option is to break out your wallet and call a plumber.

There are a few ways you can find a reliable plumber:

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