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When your toilet becomes clogged, your first reaction might be to call a plumber. But before you do, watch this video to learn about the correct products and procedures that will help you remove that clog in a matter of minutes.

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Clearing out a clogged toilet may not be your idea of a good time. But you can save a lot of money by fixing it yourself rather than calling a plumber.

In this video, I’ll show you the two basic tools you need to clear a clog from a toilet. They can both be found at your local independent home improvement retailer.

In most cases, you can open a clogged toilet by using a force ball-type plunger, like this one. There are different varieties to this design, but they basically all work the same way.

I would also recommend using a ball-type plunger (like this one) rather than a cup plunger (like this one.) The ball-type offers more pressure for clearing a toilet than the cup type.

The plunger is simple to use. Make sure there is plenty of water in the bowl to help create a seal for the plunger to work. Then pump the plunger a few times to create suction to draw out the clog.

If the plunger does not clear the clogged drain, try a closet auger. This tool has an auger bit, or a spiral blade, that rotates as it works its way through the toilet tank’s trap and into the drain pipe.

One end of the auger is curved and has a plastic or vinyl coating to keep from scratching the finish on the bowl. This will be the end you put directly into the toilet. The other end has a crank. This allows you to rotate the spiral auger head to break up or pull out the object clogging the toilet.

To use the auger, retract the auger into its housing as far as it will go. Then place the curved end of the housing into the toilet bowl, inserting it into the opening as far as it will go. As you’re using it, be careful not to force it. You don’t want to break the porcelain.

By being able to hook an object with the spiral end and then retract the auger back through its housing, you can pull an object out of the toilet bowl, such as a child’s toy, that you don’t want entering your home’s drain system.

If neither of those two tools will clear your clogged toilet, as a last resort, you may have to remove the toilet from the floor, turn it upside down and force the obstruction out from either the top or bottom. Needless to say, this is messy, but it gets the job done. And if you do this, you’ll need to replace the wax ring, which is something you’ll do if you replace the entire toilet. See our video “Replacing a Toilet” for more information.

If you have questions about this or any other home improvement project, be sure to read our list of Frequently Asked Questions for this video. And be sure to print out our Project Instructions, which includes a Tools and Materials checklist, before visiting your local independent home improvement retailer. That’s where you’ll find all the products and helpful advice to complete your project. If you’re not sure where to find your local store, check out our Store Locator.

Good luck with your project and thanks for watching.

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  1. 1.clean hole

    First use a toilet plunger. Make sure there is enough water to create a seal, and plunge the toilet drain.

  2. 2.make level

    If the plunger doesn't work, use a closet auger next.

  3. 3.let dry

    Place the auger into the drain and feed it through the pipe until it reaches the clog. Rotate the handle to break up the clog.

  4. 4.spackle

    If the auger doesn't work, try removing the toilet bowl to reach the clog. Replace the wax ring if replacing the toilet.


Project Faqs « back to project


What type of plunger should I use to unclog my toilet?

The best type of plunger to buy is one that includes a flange around the bottom. This allows the plunger to create a better seal inside the toilet.... More »

Can I use a cup plunger to unclog my toilet?

It may work, but a forced ball plunger is designed to make more of a seal around the bottom of the toilet to remove the... More »


How do I test my toilet flapper for leaks?

Test your toilet flapper by pouring a bit of food coloring into the tank, then check back in 15 minutes to see if the water in the bowl has changed... More »

What is a toilet vent?

It is a pipe that runs from the toilet drain to the outside, usually to the roof. This prevents air lock in the drain... More »


Why is water leaking from the base of my toilet?

Most likely the wax ring at the base of your toilet has failed. To replace it you will need to loosen the bolts that hold the toilet to the floor,... More »

I think my toilet may be leaking. What should I do?

The most likely cause is that your toilet’s flush valve is leaking through the flapper, letting water continue to drain from the tank down into... More »

What does the toilet vent pipe do?

It is a pipe that runs from the toilet drain to the outside, usually to the roof. This prevents air lock in the drain... More »

What do I do if there is a crack in my toilet bowl?

If it is small crack, you can try to repair it. Drain the toilet, dry it off, apply some Plumber’s Goop and let it dry completely before refilling... More »

There is water seeping from around the base of my toilet. What do I need to do to solve this problem?

Your wax gasket is probably not working anymore. This is a simple problem to fix. You need to remove the toilet and install a new wax ring. While... More »


What is an anti-siphon toilet fill valve?

The anti-siphon protection prevents the toilet tank water from getting into your home water supply... More »

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