Unclog A Toilet With Dishwasher Detergent

It's not a clever hack any of us want to have to use, but the Art of Manliness blog has a homebrew fix for the next time your restroom trip ends in disaster.

When a toilet clogs, the first jobs are stopping water from flowing to prevent an overflow and finding a decent plunger. Then again, if you're visiting a friend's place and feel might embarrassed returning from the bathroom with such a request, some hot water from a bathroom sink, and dishwasher detergent, if you can find it discretely, can put things right:

Add a few cups of hot water to the toilet bowl before you start plunging. After you pour the hot water in, let it sit for a few minutes. To put it mildly, the heat helps break the, um, stuff up. This will make unclogging the toilet with the plunger much, much easier. The heat from the hot water can sometimes break up the clog without plunging, so this could be a good tactic to use if you a clog a toilet at a friends house and you don't want to face the embarrassment of asking for a plunger.

The blog post offers more good-to-know tidbits about properly using a (warmed and un-stiffened) plunger and using tools like an auger for the really bad, um, breakdowns. If you'd care to be so discrete as share your own toilet emergency fixes, we'll welcome them in the comments.

How to Unclog a Toilet Like a Plumber [The Art of Manliness]


    I have never experienced a blocked toilet in Australia, it is only in the USA with their stupid inefficient, water wasting and still ineffective flushing system that i manage to clog it once to twice a month.

    I have only ever had 1 actual blockage (where the water level would not go down) but this was because i decided to mop up some spilt water in the bathroom with toiler paper and then try and flush far too much of it away at once.. so i just went outside, unscrewed the cap on the pipe, made a hook from an old clothes hanger and then pulled the paper through. worked great. and yes, this was in australia.

    I lived in the USA for a while -- my family found that every where you go, the toilets would block, it is so common a problem that most people we visited would tell us to put soiled toilet tissue in a waste basket, not in the toilet -- imagine the hygiene and vermin problems!

    the size of domestic sewer pipes used in the US varies from as little 3" (70mm) up to 6" (140mm) for multiunit developments, with 8-10" used in public pipes.
    in Australia and most of Europe 4-6" pipes are the norm in homes.

    the restricted size of American sewers is compounded by the large volume of water -- dual-flush / low-flow cisterns are still pretty uncommon; added to that is high water level in the bowl (it seems almost a half-bidet for the uninitiated) -- so there is a lot of water that has to be moved along with your crap down a narrow pipe, tiny pieces of paper are evidently too much for them.

    I poured boiled water into my clogged (Australian) toilet before reading that it can crack the bowl or melt the wax seal. So far it looks okay, but I am terrified to flush and see what happens. Help!

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now