Home Improvement How-To's: Unclogging a Toilet

A clogged toilet is one of the most common household plumbing problems. If your toilet overflows or flushes poorly, try clearing it with a plunger. A plunger uses air to force clogs out of drains, so it's easy to use and doesn't damage pipes. If you use a hand snake or a closet snake one made specifically for use inside toilets take care that you don't bang the porcelain sides of the bowl. Porcelain is tough up to a point. You wouldn't want to crack your toilet and end up replacing the whole thing.


Most clogs clear with a plunger in a few minutes. It takes about half an hour to snake a drain.

Closet snake


Step 1 Clearing a toilet with a plunger: Place the plunger over the hole in the toilet. Plunge up and down rapidly, keeping the plunger under water and lifting it only an inch or so on every upstroke. Keep doing this for a minute or two. If it doesn't clear, use a closet snake.

Step 2
Clearing a toilet with a closet snake: Feed the end of the cable into the toilet, taking care not to scratch the bowl. Crank the handle clockwise to snag the obstruction. Continue cranking while pulling the obstruction out.