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: 27 Dec 2020 | 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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[Add a Comment]
So my toilet has been blocked since Christmas day night. Usually fixes itself with a couple of flushes but no luck. Saw this, and due to trying a few other methods, with no luck, I wasn't feeling confident this would work either. Big blue argos bag tied around my mop, 1 plunge into the toilet and it fixed it straight away. Brilliant, thank you very much. You have saved me a lot of hassle.
Thanksforthat - 27-Dec-20 @ 12:26 PM
I don't know how to thank. My toilet has been blocked since yesterday - Christmas day but some how we managed to get by. But after the night & this afternoon, it was becoming dire. No DIY shop to buy plunger. Tried vinegar, bicarbonate, washing liquid and hot water, nothing. Water kept rising and not going down. Son said we need to find an emergency plumber- on boxing day! Thought I'd google" unblocking toilet without... And there you were.. God sent. Mop, plastic bag.. Kids thought I was insane. One thrust and it all went down!! Never been so happy. Thank you so much??
Va - 26-Dec-20 @ 9:00 PM
I live in Vietnam which might not seem relevent except it is well known not to flush toilet paper (my wife blocked the toilet by doing so and I have spent the last three days using every conventional method known to man to unblock it). Being fairly handy DIY wise I was loathe to call out a plumber on fear of him taking the piss out of "Mr Idiot White Guy". I tried this using carrier bags toilet roll and a length of left over cable trunking. It has been between 98 and 102 degrees here this week so tempers were becoming frayed. Whoever posted this, I salute you sir for saving my en-suite (and possibly my marriage) as we say here Cam On (thank you)'
Bigsmelly - 31-May-20 @ 9:11 AM
No mop but a thick plastic bag containing wads of toilet paper and a flexible toilet brush did the trick. The toilet brush provides the handle and structure. The toilet paper INSIDE the bag provides the vacuum seal bulk. The bag keeps the whole thing together. Gotta shove it pretty far in and work that suction/pressure wave. Thanks for a great idea.
Don't have a mop - 15-May-20 @ 11:38 PM
Oh wow! So glad I came across this site ?? THIS ACTUALLY WORKS..I tried everything all day so I wasn't very convinced before I tried it..Thank you ??
Pom - 20-Mar-20 @ 7:51 PM
It didn’t work for me ?? Got stuck in the pan and by the time I managed to pull it back out the bag was in shreds and the mop head had come adrift from the handle ??
Doglady - 19-Mar-20 @ 6:11 PM
Can't believe it actually worked, toilets been blocked for 2 days and this worked first time sooooo happy
Booky - 12-Mar-20 @ 11:09 AM
I have an all singing, all dancing electric toilet that had become blocked. With only the second plunge using this method the toilet resumed normal service. Amazing!
impressed! - 8-Mar-20 @ 9:56 PM
I have a really sophisticated electric toilet. This technique was amazing and worked with the second 'plunge'. Well done whoever thought of this!
impressed! - 8-Mar-20 @ 9:52 PM
I found this post and just happen to trouble on the weekend with dam blocked toilet. Used some chemical kinds of stuff didn't work and tried this still did not worked. Wow a very easy and simple trick - worked for me - that people don't even consider. 2/3 buckets of water at 30cm high bumm job done. Booked the plumber and cancelled again
Jos - 3-Feb-20 @ 12:01 PM
Excellent solution. Worked in less than a minute. Bog roll bag attached to a plunger with insulation tape. Thanks.
Roboman - 22-Nov-19 @ 7:51 PM
Honestly I was sceptical trying this, but I swear to god it worked first try. Absolute lifesaver as we only have one bathroom in the house! By far the quickest and easiest way, it's really worth a try :)
Rose - 22-Nov-19 @ 7:56 AM
I was going to go buy some drain rods as a normal plunger wasn't doing anything apart from making a mess, I saw this and tried it and it worked like a charm.
John - 28-Oct-19 @ 12:29 PM
HAH! Toilet had been locked for a few days and after trying the plunger, a bucket of water, and even having gone to the shop to get one of these springy wires, I was already phoning plumbers to get my toilet jetted. And then I just thought I'd try this... it worked!!! Amazing!
Roos - 19-Oct-19 @ 3:40 PM
So glad I found this site. Like everyone else we'd tried everything and were on the verge of calling the emergency plumbers. Mop in a bag for the win!!
Lola - 28-Sep-19 @ 9:07 PM
Im so glad i read how to unblock toilet cant believe it actually work im.so greatful. THANK YOU so much. Anita. 19-9-19 14.21pm
Shorty - 19-Sep-19 @ 2:22 PM
amazing !! had struggled to get it clear, nasty blockage nearly up to the rim tried your method hey presto !!
tickertyboo - 9-Jun-19 @ 11:38 AM
Great tip as good as the one about ironing out watermarks on tables it worked first time after 2 hours of messing about with all the usual
Turnip - 6-Jun-19 @ 10:29 PM
After 2 days of having a completely blocked and unusable toilet and as a last ditch attempt after trying literally EVERYTHING to unblock it, I thought I would have a go at this before calling out a plumber. Didn't for one minute think it would work to be honest but worth a try if it meant saving 100 quid. It worked after the first attempt!I have never been so happy! Thank you to whoever published this you absolute gem!!!!
Vicki - 5-Jun-19 @ 10:32 PM
Thanks you, thank you, thank you. Just spent all morning trying different methods of clearing a blockage. No joy. Found this page, one push of the mop and all is good. Cannot thank you enough for saving me the drama and cost of calling a plumber.
Heather - 23-Apr-19 @ 2:53 AM
wow spent hours trying everything then tried this worked within seconds thank you so much
tucker - 10-Apr-19 @ 10:06 AM
absolutely fabulous many thanks for a great plumbing tip. this gives me a story to tell in the pub later.
paul - 5-Apr-19 @ 10:47 AM
A big round of applause for this awesome little site!!! Love the images too!! Yep this defo truely does work! I just came across this site randomly, but tried this method a while back now (minus the bag and partly in frustration!) and it worked a treat - The only prob was that the end of the Vieleda mop detatched and got sucked down the toilet when it unblocked the offending blockage!! :O Only £3.50 for a new one in Tesco, so pretty minor. The toilet blocked again recently and I thought I would invest in a plunger, but it is useless in comparison. I selotaped the head on this time before giving the mop another whirl and it unblocked it without the head coming offthis time. Didn't think to use a plastic bag as suggested here, but that would work just as well and potentially keep the mop a bit less contaminated!!!! Happly blockage free flushing everyone!!
Damo - 4-Apr-19 @ 9:58 PM
Thank you so much! Had a blocked toilet, tried the chemicals, baking soda and vinegar, the coat hanger trick, anything you can without the tools like a snake or plunger. Ready to call the plumber and i stumble across this page and the mop technique, first go and it unblocked it! I can't thank whoever made this website enough!
MalcolmG - 29-Mar-19 @ 12:22 PM
Thank you!! I had stuck on rubber gloves and couldn't find the blockage. Then I tried this trick and it worked in seconds!
Mrs D - 17-Mar-19 @ 2:53 AM
Amazing this really does work Thank you
Sarah - 10-Mar-19 @ 8:17 AM
Spent days trying to unblock my toilet. I have 2 men so you can guess that the load my toilet takes is more than usual! I was at my wits end when I found this method! Instantly unlocked and no mess or having to get my hands near the state of the toilet!! Amazing!
Klem - 24-Feb-19 @ 9:58 AM
So my toilet was blocked with GOD ONLY KNOWS and had been playing up for a couple of weeks... i tried this and within about 10 secs of "plunging" i risked lifting it up and VOILA! Water had gone. This trick is AMAZING and i will tell everyone i know
Flick - 10-Feb-19 @ 10:36 PM
Been trying on and off to clear a partial blockagein our downstairs loo, without success! THE MOP AND BAG plus plenty of water 5 minutes, hooray.
the brain - 8-Feb-19 @ 3:31 PM
The best thing I've used is a 2ltr empty plastic pop bottle leave the cap on and cut across the bottom of the bottle to take this part away then rubber glove up put the bottle in the toilet bowl get someone to flush the loo and hold the bottle with two hands around the top of the bottle and push down and up like crazy to suck the water into the bottle to create a vacuum into the bowl and it works like a plunger you may need to do two or three times but it sure does work.make sure you put the bottle into a bag after to stop drips etc.
Midge - 30-Jan-19 @ 7:25 PM
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