How to Unclog a Toilet

The toilet may very well top the list of mankind’s greatest innovations – until it clogs. Then it’s the lowly plunger that dives in and claims the, ahem, throne.


Up next in Bathroom Repair (13 videos)

Learn how to fix many bathroom plumbing problems yourself with the step-by-step instructions in this Howcast video series about bathroom repair.

You Will Need

  • A toilet plunger
  • A pair of rubber gloves
  • A cup
  • A bucket


  1. Step 1

    Put on rubber gloves

    If the waste water level is too high to plunge without making an even bigger mess, put on rubber gloves.

  2. Step 2

    Reduce waste water level

    Dip the cup into the toilet repeatedly and pour its contents into the bucket, until you’ve reduced the waste water level enough to plunge without spillage.

  3. Step 3

    Put plunger into toilet

    Put the plunger into the toilet with the force cup end down in the water.

  4. Step 4

    Position force cup & push down

    Position the force cup over the drainage opening at the bottom of the toilet and push down on the plunger handle until a suction seal is formed.

  5. Step 5

    Plunge rhythmically

    Plunge rhythmically for up to 2 minutes at a time (about 20 to 30 plunges).

  6. Step 6

    Break the suction seal

    Break the suction seal. If your efforts have worked, the toilet will start to drain without flushing. If no drainage occurs, repeat the plunging process.

  7. Step 7

    Pour bucket & flush toilet

    After you’ve cleared the clog, pour the contents of the bucket back into the toilet and flush.

  8. The English plumber Thomas Crapper did not invent the toilet. That honor goes to a number of English inventors and tinkerers who led the world out of the chamber pot and into the water closet.