Home > Plumbing Repairs > How to Unblock a Blocked Toilet - Guaranteed!! Using Just a Mop and a Bag

How to Unblock a Blocked Toilet - Guaranteed!! Using Just a Mop and a Bag

By: Alan Cole - Updated: 17 May 2017 | comments*Discuss
Unblocking A Toilet How To Unblock A

A blocked toilet can seem like an emergency job requiring a plumber to remove the blockage... but do not panic, as it is a task which is often easy to fix by using our FREE yet simple method. In the first instance we are going to try a mop and a sturdy plastic bag. As you can see from the many comments we've had, it seems that many people have had success with blocked toilets using our 'super sized plunger' which is made simply from an old mop with a plastic bag tied around the head. Make sure the bag is sturdy and won't tear too easily. This seems to be a sure fire way to shift the stubborn blockages that other plungers just can't deal with. Best of all it's FREE!!

So, if you're stuck, before calling a plumber, give it a go. And please leave us a comment at the bottom of the page if it works (or not). Recent comments include:

  • "Amazing! I had a horribly blocked toilet for two days and tried everything. I was about to call a plumber when I found this web page. This method worked so quickly, I couldn't believe it. It saved me the cost and embarrassment of calling a plumber. Thank you!"
    Jane - 14-Oct-14
  • "Worked so well it made me laugh. Spent 2 days using various chemicals, flushing, hot water and all other methods. Finally decided 2 buy a mop and it worked in about 5 seconds. Awesome tip"
    clarkee - 28-Sep-14
  • "Fabulous method! Fixed the problem in less than a minute! So glad I came across this page. Feel like a domestic goddess now!"
    nickers - 23-Aug-14
  • "How ironic that I look online for just about everything but never ONCE thought to look online when the (newly installed!!) toilet decided to act up on a Bank Holiday weekend! I didn't have cable ties but I "double bagged" the plastic bags, twisted 2 handles together (to make one sturdier one), wrapped the handles around the stick and tied really tight. Got a little nervous when it didn't work on the first go buy, as they say, if at first you don't succeed...Thank you...Thank You...THANK YOU!!!"
    Goldenlady - 23-Aug-14

Our Step By Step Guide...
Step 1. Get a good sized mop and sturdy plasic bag. It's better if it won't rip.
Step 2. Attach the bag firmly to the mop. Cable ties work well.
Step 3. Force the mop down the toilet. Once may well do it. If not then try repeatedly.
Step 4. Admire your unblocked toilet...
Or The Conventional Way
To unblock a blocked toilet conventionally rather than using the mop and bag method, here are the Essential Tools you will need:
  • Plunger
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Bucket
  • Clearing Rods
  • Auger

What Causes a Blockage?

Unfortunately, toilets occasionally do get blocked, usually due to too much toilet paper or heavy loads being put down the pan. First things first, you need to find the location of the blockage. If you have drain inspection covers outside, it is worth lifting the one nearest the pan. If the chamber is full, you need to try to clear the blockage in the pipes or around the drain either using a specialist rod or a makeshift device, such as a wire or piece of wood. If the Drain Is Unblocked, the blockage must be located somewhere between the chamber and the pan. In most cases, the blockage is found at the pan itself.

Unblocking the Pan
Following these simple steps should fix most blockages:
  • Try pushing a flexible drain cleaning wire down the WC pan.
  • It is a good idea to ask someone to observe the drain chamber while you are doing this to see if the item causing the blockage emerges. Anything emerging that may have caused the blockage should be removed. If you don’t remove an offending item, you only run the risk of it causing a blockage further down the system which may be more difficult to unblock.
  • It’s worth using a plunger or auger (see below) if you have one.
  • A chemical drain cleaner or caustic soda may help, but you must follow the instructions carefully and remember these products need to be handled safely. Always use rubber gloves.
Plunger Basics
Try using a plunger to unblock the damage. Most people have a cup shaped plunger but this does not always work and can be a bit messy. Toilets bowls benefit from a specialist flange shaped or a ball shaped plunger. Both these types of plunger have a bottom which is shaped to seal the opening in the bottom of the toilet bowl. This seal action as you plunge creates the necessary vacuum and pressure and is more effective.

Toilet Auger
A toilet or WC auger, available from most hardware stores, is a special plumbing tool used to clear blocked toilets. This device uses a flexible clearing rod with a hand crank, a long sleeve handle and a special auger device at the end which is used to break blockages or retrieve them. The auger drops into the toilet as far as possible. It reaches about 0.5 metres. The auger is connected via the flexible shaft to the crank handle which you control. When the obstruction is discovered you clamp and turn the cranked handle and either push or pull the blockage to dislodge it. Once the blockage is removed flush and clean your loo and disinfect the auger.

More Top Tips
Another useful tip is to consider draining water from your toilet pan. If the water level in the pan of your WC is high, you should consider this. Try using any old container to bale out the water first or you can use a hose to siphon it off. You can also try pouring hot or boiling water down the pan as an alternative to using caustic soda. Often this can be helpful and will break down clogged up matter down your waste pipe.

More DIY Fixes?

For more plumbing repairs, read our articles on Bleeding A Radiator and Unblocking A Sink on this site.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
@Ted - it worked for me. Your friend must have a bigger problem than a pipe blockage which may well need a plumber.
Pete - 18-May-17 @ 12:11 PM
Sorry, but did not work for me at friend's houseMany attempts, may have another try tomorrow unless they have called a plumber.
Ted - 17-May-17 @ 7:27 PM
Worked first time.Supermarket carrier bags work just fine.
Cheapskate - 16-May-17 @ 3:42 PM
I cannot believe this worked first time. I was about to call a plumber in France which would have cost a lot. I literally poured hot water in then plunged it with a mop. Voila ??????
Marty - 16-May-17 @ 2:44 PM
jed - Your Question:
My toilet has been blocked several times. I used a strong hose to push round the bend, this took time & was messy. After reading your advise I decided to use the MOP method. One minute & blockage cleared, no mess, easy to do. Which I had read this before.Thanks

Our Response:
At least you got there in the end and you will hopefully remember this method in the future. Happy it worked.
DIYBasics - 10-May-17 @ 12:57 PM
My toilet has been blocked several times. I used a strong hose to push round the bend, this took time & was messy. After reading your advise I decided to use the MOP method. One minute & blockage cleared, no mess, easy to do. Which I had read this before. Thanks
jed - 10-May-17 @ 7:51 AM
Mop n plastic bag worked great, so glad we found this tip.
Angp5653 - 7-May-17 @ 7:32 PM
Awesome, worked easy using the plunger... Thanks!
Jika - 6-May-17 @ 10:05 PM
Thank you so much for the mop and bag tip; it worked! I was able to unblock a toilet that had been blocked for two days within seconds!
Vane - 6-May-17 @ 5:24 PM
Read it tried it worked first time wish a read ot earlier ??
h - 4-May-17 @ 5:14 PM
AMAZING tried everything else then this simple trick worked straight away. Only wish I had read this earlier
Shell - 3-May-17 @ 8:25 PM
Tried just about everything, then tried the 'mop in the bag' trick - best toiler unblocker ever!!! Worked straight away. Plumber was trying to charge me an arm and a leg. Thanks a lot.
JustBob - 28-Apr-17 @ 11:32 AM
Worked first time, duh simples??????????
Smiler - 27-Apr-17 @ 11:02 PM
@fujii - yes, at ridiculous £ per hour charges I am so glad I didn't have to get a plumber either - especially as I've just had to pay for a holiday!
Maddie - 26-Apr-17 @ 3:06 PM
You are a genius, Unblocked the toilet with the Mop/plastic bag method. 3 people had tried other methods without out success. My turn and it worked perfectly i washero of the day. Many, Many Thanks, 'Top Banana' Best Wishes Simon
Windgather - 26-Apr-17 @ 11:13 AM
Yep - it worked!Amazing!Just imagine how much money it's saved us!
fujii - 26-Apr-17 @ 5:14 AM
OMG!!!.. just read this tip so I went and tried it.. worked on my third attempt!!!! I have tried all day with cleaners, wire, coathangers and rubber gloves!!! ????????????????
Slou - 22-Apr-17 @ 9:38 PM
After three days of a blocked loo, thanks to a teenage son, we tried the mop and bag trick - result !All flowing freely again now.
Henny - 21-Apr-17 @ 1:09 PM
Thank you. Another convert to the mop and bag method. Nothing else had worked but a dozen or so hefty plunges with the bagged up mop and an almighty blockage cleared with a satisfying gurgle.
Jerry - 21-Apr-17 @ 8:56 AM
Amazing! Like a lot of people here I was somewhat sceptical... but about 10 hard plunges with the mop/bag later, the clogged water suddenly drained out of the toilet. Thanks!!
Dan - 20-Apr-17 @ 7:34 PM
Spent ages trying to unblock the toilet to the point of giving up. Just happened to stumble across this mop n bag method here. Was not very hopeful of it working, but hey presto it worked a treat. Many many thanks for this tip.
Betkev - 20-Apr-17 @ 4:12 PM
Worked like a charm! Such a relief...
titaniaqueen - 18-Apr-17 @ 10:02 PM
Fantastic tip - just tried it and it worked perfectly. Took several goes but such a cheap and practical solution to a common problem - many thanks!
Collingham girl - 17-Apr-17 @ 4:34 PM
Had my doubts but this actually works!! Make sure your mop doesn't have a detachable head other wise it gets really tricky and you have to re attach which can get gross!!
Grab - 14-Apr-17 @ 1:34 PM
My wife wanted to use a drain cleaner but I said I would try your method.It worked like a charm although it took me about 6 plunges to work but when it did it was such a good feeling.Absolutely brilliant and saved me £75 as that's what my central heating and plumbing insurers would have charged.Really great, thank you.
Rappy - 13-Apr-17 @ 7:26 PM
Wow! Failed miserably with the first couple of attempts but, having marginally altered my technique, it worked like a dream. Have put up with this issue for three weeks and now I'm wondering why. Thank you!
Chopper - 13-Apr-17 @ 1:52 PM
Dan - Your Question:
Was about to bung some powerful cleaner down before thinking I should try this first, cost £4.50 for the mop, worked in 20 seconds. New lifehack skill acquired! Thank you the genius who thought of this!

Our Response:
It's certainly something you wont forget in a hurry. Hopefully, if you are ever in the same position again you can re-lifehack the skill.
DIYBasics - 12-Apr-17 @ 2:27 PM
Was sceptical, but after hours of waiting this cleared the loo in less than a minute! Excellent!
Eve Binks - 12-Apr-17 @ 10:58 AM
Was about to bung some powerful cleaner down before thinking I should try this first, cost £4.50 for the mop, worked in 20 seconds.New lifehack skill acquired! Thank you the genius who thought of this!
Dan - 12-Apr-17 @ 12:31 AM
This works! Yes! Yes! Yes!..... Had almost dismissed it, having tried so many weird things last two days. Was at my wits end! But gave it a last try...! Didnt work initially. But after several strokes....whew! It opened with a pop! Unbelievable. Thanks so much.
Pahari - 11-Apr-17 @ 6:36 PM
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