How to clear a blocked toilet without a plunger

What is the quickest and easiest way to clear a blocked toilet without a plunger?

Fortunately, the answer is simple and you probably already have just the right tool to clear a blocked toilet in right there in your cleaning cupboard.
There are plenty of methods of how to clear a blocked toilet without a plunger bouncing around on the internet and a quick google search will suggest all sorts of things from using hot water and dish soap or bicarbonate of soda and vinegar or even digging around with a wire coat hanger. While we have found that all of these approaches can be effective ways to clear a blocked toilet, none of them are the best way to clear a blocked toilet without a plunger and they can be a bit hit 'n miss.

The best way to clear a blocked toilet without a plunger is with a mop!

  • You will need:
    A mop & bucket (mops with the string type heads are best)
    A plastic bag or cling wrap
    Rubber gloves
    and a clothes peg for your nose!
  • Step 1 
    Fill your mop bucket with warm water and bleach.
    No, this isn't going to help you to clear a blocked toilet, but it will be handy to clean your mop with afterwards, and also the bathroom floor if you get a bit over-enthusiastic with your plunger technique!!
  • Step 2
    Cover the mop head with a plastic bag or cling wrap, this will stop your mop getting covered in 'fresh produce'... thank me later 😉
  • Step 3
    Slowly lower the mop head into the toilet bowl so as not to splash the dirty water everywhere and make even more of a mess than you already have, then when the mop is at the bottom of the toilet bowl start using a pumping action to force the water through and dislodge the blockage. the idea is not to break the seal between the mop and the porcelain, so small rapid up and down movements are best, keep doing this until the blocked toilet clears.. they usually go with a big satisfying gurgle
  • Step 4
    Give the toilet a good couple of (full) flushes to make sure that you've been successful in clearing your blocked toilet without a plunger.
    If the water still isn't getting away as quickly as it usually does, or if your toilet gurgles and sucks air through at the end of the flush this means that there is still a partial blockage, in which case you'll need to keep flushing and plunging. Keep the mop in the toilet while you give it a flush and use the mop to really force the water through and to unblock the toilet.
  • Step 5
    Once you're happy that you've succeeded in clearing your blocked toilet without a plunger its time to unwrap the mop, have a quick clean up and then most importantly give yourself a big pat on the back for a job well done!

Why do I think that this is the best method to clear a blocked toilet without a plunger?

This trick is a 'trade secret' that has been used by plumbers for many years, I even know plumbers Bundaberg that carry a mop in their truck specifically for unblocking a toilet. It's fast and effective and uses the mechanical action of forcing the water through to clear a blocked toilet. Other methods of clearing a blocked toilet without a plunger, such as pouring hot water and dish soap or bicarbonate-of-soda and vinegar are extremely unreliable and if they do work, are extremely slow and involve a lot of waiting and watching, always unsure of whether it is actually unblocking a toilet or not.

The good old bent coathanger trick can be useful to retrieve foreign objects such as toy cars or the clip on type toilet fresheners, but we still find that by far the best way to clear a blocked toilet without a plunger is just with the humble old mop.

Need help? Call our expert Drain Plumber now.


  1. Andrew Morgan on July 29, 2019 at 4:37 pm

    Good !

    Admin, can you please tell if we can use same process for sink blockage?


    • admin on August 9, 2019 at 12:18 pm

      Hi Andrew, for a sink blockage a plunger really is the best bet. The mop doesn’t create a good seal and cannot force enough water through the much smaller sink waste to clear the blockage.
      Is it a blocked kitchen sink or blocked vanity basin that you are having issues with?
      With blocked kitchen sinks, it’s usually a build-up of grease/fat solids causing the sink drain to clog and if you don’t have a plunger to hand then the next best thing to try would be to empty as much water from the blocked sink as you can and then put a good slug of dishwashing liquid down the blocked sink drain hole and follow that with a kettle full of boiling water, and if you happen to have a wire coathanger to hand to give it a poke with, even better!
      For blocked vanity basins, hair is usually the culprit! Again, this is where the wire coat hanger is your friend. Bend a small hook at the end of it with a pair of pliers and see if you can fish the hairball out of the blocked basin waste pipe.

      Let us know how you go 🙂

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