Clogged Toilet? Just Use a Simple Everyday Ingredient to Fix It!

By: Martianne Stanger

Let’s talk poop.  Or rather poop clearing.

I know.  Gross.  But at the risk of sharing too much information, humor me (and maybe yourself!) while I explain the debacle that happened in our bathroom the other day, as well as the magic that cleared it up.  Or, if you’re squeamish about literal potty talk, just skip to the end to read about a simple and effective way I discovered to clear a killer commode clog!

How bad was the clog?  Seemingly impenetrable is a descriptor that comes to mind.

You see, the other day one of my children deposited a B.M. bigger than any child should be able to produce into our toilet and followed it by more t.p. than it should take to wipe one little heiney.  Because that child is at an “independent” potty stage, I was unaware of what was happening until I heard a call from behind the closed bathroom door that there was “a problem.”

Of course, that call came just as I was corralling everyone to hop into the car to go to an appointment.  So, after one quick attempt to unblock the toilet, I simply closed the lid, opened a window and let it be.

My intent was to conquer the commode upon our return.

Unfortunately, when we got home, things got worse before they got better.

I was helping my youngest into the house, when another child ran by me to go potty.  That child had to go — badly — and before I had a chance to explain that the “big kid potty” was out of commission and that our toddler’s training potty might be the better one to use, my darling let out a relieved sigh.

My sweet child was so proud to have made it to the seat without having a potty accident.

I, on the other hand, was chagrined.  I could not muster more than a weak smile to celebrate my darling’s joy.

Why?  Because my “big kid” with an “emergency” had neglected to notice the seat was already in a state of stopped up mess.  Now, both fresh Number One and Number Two were deposited right atop the pre-existing clog that no one but my gotta-go kid could have missed.

It was evident that the commode calamity that had begun in the morning before we left the house was getting worse, not better, upon our return.

Now, I’ll spare you most of the stomach-curdling details of how I spent the next three hours periodically sloshing sewage about my bathroom between caring for my kiddoes and attending to other household needs.  However, I will say it involved a plunger, boiling hot water and a Mommy-temper that was, unfortunately, beginning to spill over just as our toilet bowl was as I wondered what the plumber bill would be since none of my usual clog-clearing tricks were working.

And, yes, I did just say “usual.”  For with one child who has extraordinary poops (and, more recently, “Am I Clean?” wiping issues), I have faced more than my fair share of clogged toilets.  In doing so, I have long since learned that there are few clogs that cannot be cleared with a combination of patience, pots of boiled water and some well-timed plunging.

This time, though, was different.  My efforts seemed in vain.  Nothing was budging the morning’s B.M. mess of one child complicated by the effects of the afternoon’s emergency potty run of another child.

That is nothing until I discovered a new magic ingredient: DISH SOAP!

A random string I found after a quick Google search suggested adding some dish soap to the toilet bowl and letting it sit to lubricate and break things up before doing my usual hot water thing.

I had nothing to lose, so I squirted the entire inner rim of the toilet bowl with dish soap and let it sit while a hopeful, hand-washed me made dinner.

In the interim my husband came home and, seeing that the toilet was clogged, commandeered a plunger.  Before I could stop him and tell him about the soap, he learned about it himself.

We now had a bubbly bathroom mess.  (For the record: I don’t suggest mixing vigorous plunging with the magic ingredient of dish soap!)

As my husband mopped up, I brought him up to speed on my afternoon of Me vs. the Mammoth Mess in the Seat and asked him to bear with me as I boiled one last pot of water and tested a new trick.  He agreed.

We added another pot of hot water to the commode just before sitting down to dinner and, when dinner was over, I met with victory!

The seemingly impenetrable had been penetrated.  The yuck in the bowl was at a lower, more manageable level.  I gave it a plunge and heard the satisfying whoosh of a clog clearing in the pipes.  Then, I made a few test flushes to make sure the clog had really been washed away, before noticing a wonderful side effect of the dish soap:  Our toilet bowl was cleaner than I have ever seen it after dealing with a clog.  Sure, it still needed further cleaning and disinfecting, but as some consolation to me for hours of clog-clearing, the aftermath of our the day’s disaster was hardly as ghastly as what I have been faced with after easier-to-clear clogs in the past.

So, please, learn from I can now laugh about.  The next time you are faced with a toilet clog that won’t quit, try this:

  • Squirt some dish soap into the bowl.  Let it sit while you boil a big pot of water.
  • Carefully pour the boiling water into the bowl (slowly, so you don’t inadvertently cause gross splashing).
  • Wait while the dish soap and hot water do their work.
  • Repeat with more hot water when the level in the bowl will allow it.
  • Once the water level in the bowl is low enough to give a good plunge, do so.
  • Repeat as necessary.

Here’s hoping your days ahead are not too full of poop.  But, if they are, you now know what to do 🙂

100 thoughts on “Clogged Toilet? Just Use a Simple Everyday Ingredient to Fix It!

    1. This is nasty but as a former plumber, if you remove the toilet and place a shopvac nozzle over the bottom opening while keeping the toilet lid closed, it will suck anything out. You can also use an adjustable shower head directly in the toilets opening and turn on full blast hot. It will push anything out.

  1. Glad to help. We’ve used it a few times now and finf it a “keeper” tip.

  2. I just want everyone to be very careful pouring boiling water into a toilet bowl. This can crack your bowl easily. They are not meant to hold boiling water. Plus there is a wax ring in between the toliet and the floor that keeps water from leaking where the floor and toliet meet. It actually keeps sewer gases sealed off. It is made of wax like bee wax. You dont want this melted or your bowl cracked. So just fyi. Hot tap water lessens your chances of doing that and works pretty well. I hate hate clogged toliets so I understand this article completely! 😉

    1. Sooooooooooooo TRUE! and very helpful…None of us wants to deal with a cracked toilet bowl (hubby’s concern). Thank you for your info 🙂

    2. You are so right! Soap is fine, but I would NOT do the boiling water again! I say again, because I did this and cracked my toilet. It was a hair line crack, but you can’t have cracks in your toilet without them leaking! I had to get a brand new toilet and the wax ring was almost completely gone! Using “warm” water is okay, but not hot unless you want to go buy a new toulet…

      1. The solution to not cracking the toilet is again, turn on shower head pointing in the toilet and slowly go from cold to all the way to hot. No need to boil the water hot from shower head is hot enough.

  3. Does anyone have toilet paper advice? I have 3 boys that are pros at clogging the toilet. I am currently looking up toilet paper that dissolves better.
    Thanks for the dish soap tip. I will now be placing bottles in each bathroom. ugh!!!

  4. All that wasted time and effort to make a toilet work in the 21st Century is a bit ridiculous. Toilet manufactures should know by now not everyone expels the same amount of #2. And you’d think someone would have invented a proper working toilet by now. Low flows are not the answer because they DO NOT work.

    1. Wendy said it all. You would think toilets would be able to handle any size poop. Mine is clogged right now and so frustrated.

    2. Too right Wendy, especially since we’re all encouraged nowadays to eat more fruit, veg and other roughage. But instead of making the waste exits bigger, they’re now making them smaller, doh, does that cost manufacterers less or something?! When I went to showrooms to look for bathroom stuff for my new house in the summer, what did I look at first – luxury whirlpool baths, power showers, sculpted sinks? Nope, I went and lifted the seat of every bloomin toilet in the place to peer down the bowl to see if I could find one of the old-fashioned ones with a big neck!! aargh, what fun!

  5. I first learned this from when I worked at a nursing home while working with someone who’d been a CNA for quite a number of years. We had one guy who, because of his medications, not only had really hard stool, but also when it came to pass, came out in immensely large amounts (and obviously more than the home’s toilets and plumbing system could endure).

    Anyway, the older CNA told me this, minus the hot water. She did make it seem it needed to be just one brand of dish soap, though. So I just wanted to tell everyone that if you or a family member has “larger than life” or “harder than a rock” deposits into the throne, I suggest using some dish soap as said in this article BEFORE flushing. Somehow the dish soap will break it up, and not cause the toilet to clog. (Then, as also noted, it should help clean your toilet some, which is most definitely an added bonus!)

    The reason I came to this page was I just let out one that never seemed possible (don’t read further if you get squeamish), at an estimated 12 to 14 inches (not bad for a guy who’s only about 105 or so pounds)! I was hoping to see if this site would give insight for this, as I don’t want to clog up my system, but since it doesn’t tell me, I thought I’d try the dish soap anyway, and we’ll see how it goes! Hoping it works so I don’t have a problem with such a brown monster…

    But yup, this “trick” does work wonders, just as the author said, but I just wanted to provide some info as to what I know, also. 🙂 I’d love to know if dish soap could help unclog toilets even a week after normal use, as in it isn’t clogged, but one just would want to prevent it from happening?

    God bless you all, though! Thanks for a wonderful site and useful information!

  6. Thank you. Very helpful. Someone told me that using laundry softener would help. It didn’t. Or maybe the combination of dish soap and cloth softener did the work. Three days clogged! Living in hell :(. But it’s finally ok. Thanks again.

  7. i knew when i read this, that i would be the only person in the world that this would not work for. everyone so happy and amazed, and me with rock solids stopped up in the toilet even after several tries, and plunger work with the soap and hot water. any other ideas ? i am so annoyed with this mess. i think it is a toilet made for a boat or something….small and low flow !

  8. You saved me the cost of a plumer when I read you solution I did not expect it to work but it worked great thank you

  9. I didn’t think this would work for me either. We recently moved and the toilets are all slow to drain. This trick worked wonders. I had tried a snake, plunger and buckets of water with no luck. I poured in the dish liquid and a large pan full off hot water and waited a few minutes. I soon heard the wonderful swoosh and it’s flushing fine now. THANK YOU!

  10. New house, chose the loos with biggest waste exits poss, but I think I’m eating too much roughage, so have a loo pan full of chocolate soup right now … a cane from the garden seems to have pushed it all further down the pipes …by dish soap, do you mean ‘washing up liquid’? (I’m in UK, you’re all American??). Thanks for help!

    1. I know this is an old comment but in case anyone else has the same question:
      “Dish soap” is liquid soap used to wash dishes, plates, glasses, cutlery, pots, pans and other eating/cooking utensils. It is designed to break up excess food waste and clear away grease. Since feces is mostly food waste that our body didn’t use, it makes sense that it would break up when dish soap is applied.

  11. Halle-bloomin-lujah, just tried it (with washing-up liquid, UK 😉 and hot, not boiling water) – worked!! After liberal doses of the WUL and HW, inserted metal ‘snake’ as didn’t have a plunger and it’s Sunday so shops shut. Took a fair bit of turning to get the snake to progress more than the first 12 inches, I’m sure the WUL and hot water helped get it through eventually. More vigorous turning, flush – and hey presto! Thank you so much, will pass on this little ‘titbit’ to friends!

  12. Hi ,

    I visited your website earlier today and just wanted to congratulate you on a well presented, and informative website.

    I have an (Aussie) website that has relevant information to your site, I am wondering if you would be interested in exchanging links allowing both of us to add significant and related resources that will be useful to our readers.

    I would be interested to hear anything you can propose as well; such as guest post articles, product or business reviews, promoting up and coming events or promotions to each other’s databases etc.


  13. Hi,

    Hopefully you read my first email to you, you have a beautiful and informative website and I really love it. I will really appreciate if you cooperate and love working with me regarding to my proposal.

    I’m looking forward for your response.


    Hi ,

    I visited your website earlier today and just wanted to congratulate you on a well presented, and informative website.

    I have an (Aussie) website that has relevant information to your site, I am wondering if you would be interested in exchanging links allowing both of us to add significant and related resources that will be useful to our readers.

    I would be interested to hear anything you can propose as well; such as guest post articles, product or business reviews, promoting up and coming events or promotions to each other’s databases etc.


    1. Hi Isabel, thanks for your inquiry. Unfortunately we don’t accept guest posts from outside organizations and don’t pursue any commercial partnerships. We are so appreciative of your kind comments and interest in our blog. Best of luck.

  14. Wow, this worked so well! My daughter clogs the toilet every single time she has a BM. I dread her going number two when my husband isn’t home to handle it. However, this made it very easy. I didn’t even have to use the plunger. When I dumped the second bowl of boiling water, it flushed on its own. I’m going to buy a bottle of dish soap just for her bathroom! Thanks so much!

  15. This is the first time that I used this trick and it works! Thank-you so much. It takes time and patience but it really works.

  16. Man, this was a total life saver! We were worried that we were going to need a professional to clear our toilet after my hubby passed the after math of 5 quesadillas and nachos (had to be like a pound and a half of cheese easily) and clogged our toilet, but the soap, followed by two boiling pots of water did the trick!!

  17. Thank you thank you for this tip!! My son suffers from constipation periodically, and when it is bad, his poop is like a giant rock. It has been known to block the toilet for HOURS, and then only a toilet auger would finally get it through. Last night he had another clogger, and nothing would get it down. I tried Rid-X and dish soap and let it sit overnight, and in the morning, hot water…and down it went like nothing ever happened! I am SO keeping dish soap in the bathroom from now on! (It made it smell better, too.)

  18. honestly i would have sold that house and moved into a brand new one lol! i felt sorry for you as i read your blog post… 😦

  19. This works! My BF and I Had just finished doing the “backdoor boogie” so everything was loosened up back there and so was I..

    As usual when we’re done I have to go pretty badly, not only did I fill the bowl but it was large and solid.

    Using your trick sped up the process and allowed us to go again!!

    On behalf of both of us, THANK YOU!!

  20. So how many times should I pour hot boiling water in the bowl ladies, I’ve already poured 4 times now, please tell me when to stop ok!!!!

  21. Thank you!! thank you!! Thank you!!! your calamity regiment totally worked!!! : ) you are truly a lifesaver!!!! After I put in the boiling water it worked in less than a half an hour

  22. Thank you SO much!
    I had 2 days of terrible diarrheoa and my toilet was clogged and smelly. It was a disaster every time I tried to flush. Just tried this, and it worked like magic!

    1. There will be some suds created but in the long run the toilet will be cleaner!

  23. After 3 days with a clogged toilet, I decided to try google for a way to fix it before calling a plumber. Found this site and tried her method. I squirted the dish soap into the water and then a pot of almost boiling water and then went out for a few hours. We just got home and the first thing I did was flush the toilet and lo and behold…IT WORKED!!!! Awesome awesome tip! No chemicals, no snake, no expensive plumber! I am beyond thrilled. I was also concerned about boiling water and possibly cracking the porcelain, but I heated it until just boiling and figured that once it was poured into the bowl (only into the water part – not on the porcelain), the cool water that was in there would cool it down considerably.

    Thanks so much for posting this!

    1. I had already unclogged my drain before reading the idea of soap. I had the powder version of ridx because I have a septic tank . I pored ridx into toilet and added hot water from stove (not boiling). I left the roo for 2 mins and when I returned the toilet had completely flushed. I reflushed again and toilet failed to
      Flush and repeated same process. Now toilet flushes normal. Highly recommend ridx because is a digester of human waste will help maintain cleanliness of pipes.

  24. Wow I am literally going to try this out!!! I really hope it does work!!!! My toilet has been clogged for the past 2-3 days!!! Ya we tried plunging it and we tried to dissolve the poo, like waited there for the longest time!!! Until I did my research

  25. I”m going to try this but my toilet is not clogged. It flushes the toilet water is all poopy looking. The water is brown like poop and it smells awful. Thanks for any help.

  26. Worked like a charm on 2 toilets today. I too have a child that makes BM’s that defy physics. Thanks for the great advice!

  27. one capful of MiraLax (Polyethylene Glycol 3350 powder) will soften your stool and easly flush. Relieves occasional constipation/irregularity

    1. I wonder if the MiraLax can be poured in the toilet to loosen stools that have already been eliminated from
      our big-pooping kids!

  28. Very interesting stories and most effective one. as well, the clog has been cleared. thank you for this tip

  29. just emailed this to my daughter who texted me that she clogged the toilet and asked me not to comment when I get back home…and it worked!…and its 2017 and this article still rocking. thanks so much Martianne!

  30. Tried this and it was awesome. I also got to sit and enjoy my coffee. Used the soap and hot water. Closed the door had coffee. When I returned magic—- thank you!

  31. This just worked amazingly for us! Thanks for posting. Easy too 😊 Was able to do this half awake at 5:40 am.

  32. Should have Googled before spending 45 min fighting the clogged toilet. I did used very hot tap water but without the soap it was difficult to break things up. Lesson learned. Will keep some dish soap in the bathroom from now on.

  33. I’m a dad, but always utilize Mom blogs. I tried this today and it worked flawlessly. There just so happened to be a toy causing all the trouble and this helped ‘release’ the toy so I could get it out.

    Thanks for the tip!!!’

    1. So glad you were able to get use out of the blog! It’s for dads too. We want to be a great resource for all parents and caregivers.

  34. Thanks for the tip, I was amazed and disheartened by how a poop could clog a toliet for several days before dislogging from its stagnation point. It’s really troublesome to you when there are others who have no patience to wait for the mass to pass and only want to render comment, complaints, and useless suggestion or blame. “I dont understand what you’re doing wrong that you can’t get it to go down”

  35. I just followed your method out of desperation of unclogging process ,to my surprise, it worked! LOL! Thanks a lot! Though Cann’t figure out the chemical reaction based on which theory, it worked like miracle.

  36. Thank you loads. I only had one person poo that had hardened and the liquid dish soap left for a while was all I needed but I will definitely remember the rest. Thank you. I’ve struggled with this several times but now I don’t need to struggle anymore. WOW

    I tried the plunging, the hot water, even some lemon juice and baking soda and “nothing” budged. But a few squirts of DISH SOAP, hot water and a flush later… chunks resurfaced! I was shocked but relieved. No plumber for me! From my toilet bowl to yours, THANK YOU! (Great storytelling too!)

  38. THANK YOU!!!!! I had been dealing with this issue since yesterday and this morning found your post. Dish soap, 2 pots of hot water, gentle plunging when the water level went down, and the woosh of relief!!! I was sooooo happy. Thank you!

    1. Liquid dish soaps (such as Dawn, Palmolive, Ajax, etc.) can be purchased at most stores including major retailers, grocery stores, and pharmacies. Good luck!

  39. When the lump inside your toilet isn’t budging, you can try to wash it away with it away with water. However, the water must be warm, as it will break down the material, thereby making the job much more easier.

  40. OMG that worked so well!! when I was done waiting (30 minutes or so) I flushed the toilet and it filled up as usual. Then OMG the water went down and my toilet is not totally clean and clear. Thank you so very very much for this tip.

  41. Fyi: if having this problem, consider getting the person with the large stools tested for celiac disease. The stools in celiacs tend to be fatty and make large, sticky stools.

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