Unclog Your Toilet With Dish Soap: A Surprising Solution

toilet with green dish soap inside the bowl and toilet brush across it.

We have all been there, standing in front of a clogged toilet, wondering what to do next. A clogged toilet can be an extreme inconvenience and can cause embarrassment, especially when you have guests over, or you are the guest that clogged the toilet! 

So can you escape embarrassment by unclogging the toilet with dish soap?

Let’s explore how you can use dish soap to unclog a toilet and the benefits of using it.

Unclogging a Toilet with Dish Soap

If you are faced with a clogged toilet, whether as a guest or a host, calling a plumber may not be an option if you need the blockage cleared in a hurry.

Fortunately, there is a hack you can try that works well at unclogging toilets, but you’ll need some alone time in the bathroom with some dish soap and warm water to get the job done.

How Dish Soap Works to Unclog a Toilet

Dish soap contains surfactants, which are chemicals that reduce the surface tension of water. When you pour this soap into a clogged toilet, the soap reduces the surface tension of the water, which allows the clog to loosen and break apart.

Many of the clogs in toilets result from the buildup of fats and oily materials. Other debris in the pipes becomes trapped in the grimy layers inside the pipe, which can result in a blockage.

The grease-dissolving properties of the soap help break down these fatty deposits in the pipes. The soap also lubricates the pipes, making it easier for the debris to slide down the drain.

Steps to Unclog a Toilet with Liquid Soap

The steps to unclog a toilet using dish soap are relatively easy, but you should follow the instructions carefully to avoid potential side effects (such as toilet foam and bubbles).

1. Preparation

blue dish soap, sponge blue and light green gloves

In the preparation step, you must gather the items you need to perform the subsequent steps. You may not have all these items on hand if you are in the bathroom when the plumbing emergency occurs, but you can likely find substitutes in the room.

Liquid dish soap. Liquid dish soap is ideal, but a liquid hand soap or even a bottle of shampoo will work as alternatives.

· A bucket of hot water. The water must be hot, not boiling. You can run the hot tap in the bath or the basin to get hot water.

· Rubber gloves. While this precaution may not be an option, it’s wise to use a pair of gloves. If you don’t have rubber gloves, wash your hands afterwards.

Note: Avoid using boiling water as it can crack the porcelain toilet bowl, which will leave you in a far more dire situation than a clogged pipe!

2. Pour Dish Soap into the Toilet Bowl

Begin by pouring ¼ cup of liquid soap into the toilet bowl. Pour the dish soap into the bowl at the outlet of the bowl.

Try to get as much of the soap coating the perimeter of the exit pipe as possible. 

This will help the soap run down the sides of the pipe until it encounters the blockage.

3. Wait for the Dish Soap to Work

Leave the dish soap in the toilet bowl for at least 10 to 15 minutes, but preferably about 30 minutes to an hour. The longer you wait, the more effective it will be.

Leave the dish soap in the toilet overnight if you can perform this procedure at your convenience rather than as an emergency solution.

4. Flush the Toilet

A person flushing a toilet.

After waiting for the prescribed time, pour a bucket of hot water (not boiling water) into the toilet bowl. The hot water will help break down the clog further.

Then, immediately flush the toilet. 

If the water level in the bowl does not go down, repeat the process from the beginning.

5. Repeat the Process if Necessary

If the toilet is still clogged, repeat the process of pouring soap and hot water into the toilet bowl.

If the clog persists, it may be time to come clean to call a plumber to assist with the blockage.

Toilet Tip: If you don’t have a clogged toilet, but your toilet keeps running, we have 5 solutions to help you fix the problem

How Not To Unclog A Toilet With Dish Soap

There are some risks to unclogging a toilet with soap, which could betray your efforts to resolve the problem of a clogged toilet without being noticed.

A plunger is a tool typically used to unclog a toilet, and if you have one on hand, I suggest using it before trying the dish soap method.

Do not try to use a plunger once you have deposited dish soap in the toilet bowl. 

cropped view of plumber using plunger in toilet bowl during flushing in modern restroom with grey tile

The vigorous plunging will agitate the soap in the toilet bowl, and you may find the bubbles frothing uncontrollably out of the toilet bowl, onto the floor, and under the bathroom door.

While your guest may think that you are throwing a foam party, they may become perturbed once they find the source of the bubbles!

Benefits Of Using Dish Soap To Unclog A Toilet

Using dish soap to unclog a toilet has several benefits:

  1. It is a cheap and readily available solution.
  1. It is environmentally friendly compared to harsh chemicals, which can harm the pipes and the environment. 
  1. It is safe to use and does not pose a health risk to the person unclogging the toilet.

Types Of Dish Soap To Use On A Clogged Toilet

green dish soap bottle on purple background

When using dish soap to unclog a toilet, it is essential to use liquid dish soap that does not contain bleach or harsh chemicals.

Dawn and Palmolive are two popular brands of dish soap that are effective in unclogging a toilet. Avoid soap containing lotion or other additives, which can cause more problems.

How To Avoid A Clogged Toilet

Prevention is preferable to the cure for this plumbing emergency, so it would be best to take precautions to prevent the problem rather than deal with the consequences.

Only discard flushable items in the toilet

Avoid flushing non-flushable items such as wipes, paper towels, and feminine hygiene products to prevent toilet clogs.

Avoid flushing large amounts of toilet paper at once

he toilet paper is in the toilet, causing the sewer to become clogged and dirty

Where possible, avoid flushing large amounts of toilet paper at once. If you use copious amounts of paper, use the multi-flush technique halfway through your process and again at the end to avoid the excess toilet paper causing a blockage, and a nearly overflowing toilet.

An ounce of prevention goes a long way

Regular maintenance can help to prevent embarrassing toilet clogs. Use the good ‘ole plunger as a regular part of your toilet cleaning routine. 

Use the plunger on your toilet at least once a month to keep the pipes clear.

You can also pour a cup of baking soda and vinegar down the toilet bowl once a month to keep it clean.

Did you unclog your toilet with dish soap?

round or elongated toilet seat

Escaping the mortification of a clogged toilet by using dish soap can feel like a magic trick.

Using liquid soap and hot water is a great solution in an emergency (like a dinner party), or if the blockage occurs after hours and a plumber is unavailable.

Using dish soap as a method to unclog a toilet is a cheap, easy, and environmentally friendly solution that can keep your toilet clog-free and embarrassment-free!

Tags: clogged toilet, how dish soap unclogs toilet, unclog toilet with dish soap

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