How to Unclog a Toilet with Dish Soap: 3 Quick Steps

A clogged toilet is a big problem. It can cause the bowl to overflow and even lead to sewer backup into your home. The good news is that there are many different ways that you can unclog it yourself without calling for professional assistance. The dish soap in your kitchen does a great job of unclogging your toilet.

Pour half a cup of liquid dish soap into the clogged toilet. After 30 minutes, pour a gallon of hot water into the toilet to clear the clog. Repeat the procedure several times if the first time doesn’t work. Avoid boiling water since it can crack the toilet seat.

Pouring dawn dish soap in a toilet

Bubbles from your toilet can be a sign of a clog that may only worsen if it’s not done away with. Most clogs caused by toilet paper can be fixed with Dawn dish soap or any dish soap in your household.

You can also cut up a bar of soap into small pieces and dissolve it in warm water for this purpose. Commercially, you can use Drano Max Gel Liquid Clog Remover, one of the best liquids to unclog toilets.

How to unclog a toilet with soap 

To unclog toilets with soap, you need liquid dish soap (or small pieces of bar soap), a pot or kettle for heating water, and a plunger (optional).

The steps are as follows:

  1. Pour half a cup of liquid dish soap into the clogged toilet, then wait for 30 minutes. 
  2. Fill a pot with 1 gallon (16 cups or 3.8 liters) of water, then heat it almost to its boiling point. Avoid boiling water since it can crack the toilet seat. 
  3. When the water is ready and at least 30 minutes have elapsed since you poured the dish soap into the toilet, slowly pour the hot water into the toilet bowl. 

If the clog doesn’t go away after this, plunge the toilet a few times. This procedure is quite handy when you don’t have a plunger, or the toilet won’t unclog with a plunger.

If the toilet bowl is already filled with water and you don’t know how to flush the clogged toilet, empty the bowl first before using dish soap to unclog and flush the toilet. You can use a squirt gun to suck the water from the toilet bowl for this.

How does dish soap unclog a toilet?

Dish soap lubricates and breaks down the clogs, making it easy to flush. Dawn, for example, breaks down the grease in the clog, then lubricates it down the drain. It works on many items which are likely to clog the toilet, such as using makeup wipes as toilet paper.

Being heavier than water, dish soap will go to the bottom of the bowl and to the clog. You can also make a soap solution by cutting up pieces of soap and then dissolving them in warm water.

The moment you add hot water to the mix, you have an easy time flushing the clog down the drain. Hot water further softens the clog and then adds pressure to flush it down the drain. Dish soap is one of the best home remedies for a clogged toilet.

How long does dish soap take to unclog a toilet?

Dish soap takes between 20 to 30 minutes to unclog a toilet. This is about the same time it takes to heat the water in a pot with medium heat to almost boil it. As such, you will only need to pour the dish soap into the clogged toilet, set the pot on the heater, then wait. 

How to unclog a really clogged toilet

How do you unclog a toilet if dish soap doesn’t work? In some cases, dish soap and hot water don’t work right away. If you don’t have any other options with you, you can choose to repeat the procedure for the clogged toilet dish soap until the clog comes out. 

However, you may need to use other clogged toilet fixes, such as the following:

Baking soda and white vinegar

For this procedure, follow these steps:

  1. Mix 2 cups of white vinegar with 2 cups of hot water.
  2. Pour 1 cup of baking soda into the toilet, then add in the mix of hot water and vinegar.
  3. Leave the mixture to work for 30 minutes, then flush the toilet.
  4. Repeat until it works.

Baking soda and vinegar are also used to clean the toilet, including the toilet tank.

Plumber’s snake

Unclog a toilet with a plumber’s snake as follows:

  1. Insert a plumber’s snake into the clogged toilet until you feel the clog.
  2. Crank the handle to eat away at the clog.
  3. After that, flush the clog down the drain.

You can even add hot water since it further softens the clog, making it easy to flush it away. You can use automatic snakes, which are powered by batteries or electricity, for the same results. Plumber’s snakes are the best toilet unclogger tools.

Don’t use an industrial snake since it’ll damage the inside of your toilet. It’s more powerful and might give the wrong impression of how to unclog a toilet fast, but a plumber’s snake is the safest for this exercise. 

Plastic bottle

Unclog a toilet with a plastic bottle as follows:

  1. Fill a plastic bottle with warm water, then place the open end into the opening of the toilet bowl.
  2. Squeeze it to create pressure against the clog.
  3. Repeat until the clog is dislodged.

Hot water may damage the plastic bottle and be uncomfortable to handle the bottle.

Hot water

To unclog a toilet with hot water, follow these steps:

  1. Heat some water but don’t let it boil.
  2. Pour it into the toilet bowl from about the height of your waist to create pressure in the bowl.

The clog should be dislodged and flushed down the drain in the process. 

Vacuum valve

Use a wet/dry vacuum (not a household vacuum cleaner) to unclog the toilet by emptying the water from the bowl and then using the vacuum to suck out the clog from the toilet. 

Petroleum jelly on a plunger

To unclog a toilet with this method, apply petroleum jelly to the rim of your plunger to give it more suction power. Use it as you normally use the plunger by placing it inside the toilet boil then pushing and pulling until the clog comes out. It’s an easy clogged toilet solution if your current plunger isn’t working right. 

Coke (Soda)

Sodas such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi can also be used to unclog a toilet. Pour the soda (at room temperature) into the toilet bowl, then wait for 1 or 2 hours before flushing the toilet. The corrosive power of the soda eats away at the clog, allowing it to be flushed away. 

Wire hanger

Unwind a wire hanger, then wrap a small rag at one end to prevent it from scratching the inside of the toilet. Push the wrapped end into the toilet to dislodge the clog, then flush the toilet. 

Toilet brush

Place the toilet brush right into the toilet bowl as deep as possible, then use pushing and pulling motions to dislodge the clog before flushing it away. 

If you ever find yourself in a foreign toilet that’s clogged and don’t know what to use to unclog the toilet, simply look for the brush and perform the task explained here. The toilet brush is one of the ways of unclogging a toilet without a plunger since plunging may not always work or be possible.


When it comes to unclogging a toilet when nothing works, your best option is a professional plumber. They have better skills and tools to deal with the most complex clogs in toilets and other fixtures. A toilet stopped up may require more skill when the clog is deep within the sewage system.

As you can see, there are many items to use for a clogged toilet, including your common household toilet brush. If you don’t know how to unclog your toilet, it’s best that you try these methods before calling for a plumber. Knowing what to do if your toilet is clogged is important since you can use the available equipment, such as a plunger, dish soap, toilet brush, and others, to unclog it quickly. Keep the toilet free of clogs and dirt with the correct toilet paper usage and cleaning routine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can dish soap help unclog a toilet?

A cup of dish soap poured into the toilet, followed by hot water 30 minutes later will unclog the toilet. You can also pour the dish soap into the toilet then flush it after 10-15 minutes.

Can you unclog a toilet with Dawn soap?

Dawn dish soap can be used to unclog a toilet. It works by breaking down the grease and dirt, and lubricates the clog for ease of flushing.

What is the strongest thing to unclog a toilet?

Caustic soda is very effective at unclogging toilets. It works by creating a chemical reaction that breaks down hair, food, and other organic materials which cause clogs.

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