How to Unclog a Toilet Without a Plunger

White toilet and toilet paper holder

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How many times have you had to deal with a clogged toilet when you didn't have a plunger? Either you never had one, or you can't find the one you own, the toilet is about to overflow, and you aren't going to spend the money to call a plumber for this simple problem.

Don't sweat it. You can unclog a toilet without a plunger. Grab two ingredients from your pantry, and resolve the problem without a plunger or a plumber.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time Required: Varies

What You Need

  • One regular-sized box of baking soda
  • Up to one gallon of vinegar


For this hack, you will need room in the toilet.

  1. If the toilet has overflowed or is nearly overflowing, you're going to have to put on rubber gloves. Grab a garbage bag and empty any solid contents into it and fasten for disposal. Then you will want to dip out the excess water with a bucket or other container and dispose of it in another toilet (or in the toilet once it is unclogged). That part is probably icky and smelly, but you don't want this overflowing onto your floor.
  2. Pour the box of baking soda into the toilet bowl.
  3. Now slowly begin to pour vinegar into the toilet bowl. It will create a foaming action as it comes into contact with the baking soda. You don't want to dump it all in as you will have a frothy mess erupting from your toilet. Instead, slowly add up to a gallon of vinegar and get the action started but under control.
  4. Allow the mixture to sit for a little while. You might use this waiting time to clean the other drain where you poured the excess water.
  5. Then, give the toilet a flush. This should clear the clog and restore your toilet to working order.
  6. To prevent future problems, pour some hot—but not boiling—water into the bowl, and give it another flush. This will help to remove anything that may have been left behind after the vinegar-baking soda flush. Do not use boiling water as you could crack your toilet.


  • If the baking soda and vinegar trick doesn't take care of the problem, try a closet auger or straighten out a wire coat hanger to use to probe the clog. You may have a toy or some other object stuck in the pipe.
  • This same method can be used to unclog a bathtub and shower drain.


What if you don't have baking soda and vinegar? Here are two alternative methods:

  1. Dip out most of the water in the bowl and pour in a few cups of hot tap water. Wait five minutes. Sometimes this will be enough to loosen the clog.
  2. If hot water alone didn't work, squirt or pour a generous amount of soap into the bowl. This can be dishwashing liquid, liquid hand soap, shampoo, powdered dishwasher soap or laundry soap. Pour in several cups of hot tap water. Wait 20 minutes and see if this loosens the clog.