‘Never use chemicals’: Cleaning expert shares washing up liquid tip for unclogging toilets

The Home Depot explains how to unblock a toilet

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A clogged toilet is a common problem but can be easily fixed. While some may head straight for chemical cleaners or even a coat hanger, an expert has warned homeowners not to use these but a plunger and washing up liquid instead. Melissa, a cleaning expert from The Home Depot has shared how to easily unclog a toilet.

Melissa said a clogged toilet is “one of the most common plumbing problems” and is “one of the easiest to fix”.

The expert said homeowners simply need a “good old-fashioned, easy-to-use plunger” to get the job done.

She continued: “If there’s no water in the bowl, pour some into it.

“Water helps seal the plunger flange creating a vacuum making it easier to dislodge the blockage.”

One tip that Melissa said “really works” is using washing up liquid to lubricate the drain.

She said: “Pour three tablespoons of washing up liquid into the bowl to lubricate the drain and help loosen the clog.

“Wait a few minutes for the soap to do its thing and then start plunging about nine or 10 times.

“Remove the plunger to allow the toilet to drain.

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“If it doesn’t, or if it drains slowly, repeat plunging until it drains freely.

“For stubborn clogs that a plunger can’t clear like one of the kids’ toys or such, it’s auger time.

Now, there are several kinds of augers, make sure you use a toilet auger or snake like this.”

A toilet auger is a specialised form of drain snake that rotates a flexible metal cable that can go through drain clogs.

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It’s lined in plastic and specifically designed to remove clogs without damaging the toilet.

Melissa said homeowners should “resist the temptation” to use a coat hanger or a chemical cleaner to unclog the toilet.

She said: “With a coat hanger, you’ll only end up scratching the bowl.

“Never use chemical drain cleaners in a toilet, they’ll just sit on the bottom of the bowl leaving a chemical stew that’s unsightly and won’t go away.”

To use the auger, carefully feed the end of the snake into the toilet then turn the crank clockwise and push.

However, don’t push too hard as too much force can crack or even break the bowl.

Melissa said: “Continue cranking clockwise until you shove the blockage down the drain or you snag it.

“Continue turning the crank as you pull it out in either case the problem is solved.

“In the unlikely event that the plunger or auger don’t do the trick, the only option is to remove the toilet and at that point it’s best to call in a professional.”

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