I did not invent this specific plunger-free plundering process – the same basic technique can be found everywhere on the internet on sanitary and do-it-yourself blogs, both mainstream and obscure – but I can testify to the power and power .
The next time you hide a toilet for whatever reason, even if you have a plunger on hand, you can try it instead and avoid the splashing, dripping, unsanitary mess making a plunger .
Most bathrooms have everything you need
To perform this trick, you need three things that can be found in almost every bathroom: soap, warm water and a barrel for transferring the water to the toilet bowl. Dishwashing liquid and a 5-gallon bucket work best, but if secrecy is paramount and leaving the toilet would blow up your lid, a small plastic waste bin and a few pumps from a hand soap dispenser are fine.
In preparation, you want the hot water to run into the sink or the bath and allow sufficient time to reach the maximum temperature. You do not want (or need to) use boiling water that can damage the toilet's porcelain or, worse, injure you . Let the tap get as hot as possible – that's hot enough.
While you wait for hot water, go ahead and clear everything from the floor, such as bowls and bath mats. You will of course be very careful to prevent spillage, but better to be safe than wet.
Mixing the magic potion
The goal is to get the liquid in the toilet bowl as hot and soapy as possible without allowing it to overflow. You can pour (or pump) soap directly into the bowl and then add hot water, or you can mix the soap with the hot water before adding it to the bowl.
I prefer to add soap directly to the toilet bowl if the clog has not left much room (for example, less than an inch). This ensures a high soap-water ratio. However, if there is enough space above the waterline (one inch or more), premixing ensures an even distribution of the soap.
You really can't exaggerate the soap now. You are not going to stir the solution, so you will not spawn a suds volcano if you go overboard. I'm not saying you have to pour the whole bottle in it, but I'm not saying that you shouldn't do that. Anywhere from a tablespoon to half a cup should work.
Add the hot water carefully and carefully
Mixing everything in the toilet bowl is the step that requires the most finesse. You want to raise the average water temperature and get the soap in every crack, but you don't necessarily want to make a slurry with what's in it.
So do not use anything to stir it up. Instead, don't be shy about pouring your hot water – go ahead and throw it in there. Be careful not to overfill.
Most toilet backups are not total clogs, so there is a good chance that yours will slowly drain first. Keep an eye on the water level and, while it drops, keep adding more hot water to keep it full. If the clog is not too stubborn, the extra pressure from a full toilet bowl should help the backup case fairly quickly.
If all else fails, time is on your side
The worst-case scenario is that the clog is clamped too tightly in place and the above steps do not immediately push it down. If that happens, you don't have to call a plumber or go to the hardware store.
Try to give it some time to get that hot soapy water to work to break the blockage. Walk away, close the bathroom door and wait 30 to 60 minutes before checking again. If you do that, you may be pleasantly surprised that your problem has disappeared.
Your toilet is not the only piece of household plumbing that can get clogged, but luckily there are equally fast, clean and efficient ways to tackle other simple household plumbing problems. If the drain in your kitchen hurts you, check out these. If your shower head simply does not protrude the pressure that used to be, you can quickly break down the build-up of minerals in your shower head as follows . Once you have cleaned up that waste, consider using it properly and .
Originally published last month.