How To Unclog A Slow Draining Toilet (4 Simple Methods)

slow draining toilet

If you want to unclog a slow draining toilet, there are a few methods you can use such as the hot water bucket method, the coat hanger method, toilet snaking, and the power flush.

These techniques help clear the main drain of debris, but also clear the rim jets and the siphon jet.

The rim jets and siphon jet commonly get clogged with mineral deposits that slow down the toilet flush. I invite you to also read my guide on common toilet noises and how to fix them.

You can read the details of each method below…

Hot Water Bucket Method

The most popular method of fixing a slow flushing toilet is the hot water bucket technique. This technique uses the power of hot water which just by itself will help loosen deposits and blockages.

It also uses dishwasher detergent to help clear debris in the water jets along the rim of the toilet bowl.

Step 1. Pour In Hot Water

The first step with this technique is to fill a 5-gallon bucket with hot water.

It is easiest to just put it in your bathtub and fill it from the bath faucet. Get the water as hot as possible and dump it into the toilet (not the tank).

The hot water move into the drain pipe all the way to the wax seal area.

Read Also: Toilet Sounds And How To Fix Them

Step 2. Dish Soak Into Overflow Tube

After dumping in the hot water, the next step is to remove the toilet tank lid, and pour some dishwasher detergent into the overflow tube.

The overflow tube is an uncapped plastic pipe sticking out of the middle of the toilet tank. If the water in the tank gets too high, it ‘overflows’ into this pipe and into the toilet. Inserting dishwasher detergent into the overflow tube will go into the water jets on the rim of the toilet bowl.

slow draining toilet

Step 3. Pour In Drain Cleaner (Optional)

A secondary step that you can do in addition to the dish soap is to add a drain cleaner to the toilet.

After dumping in the hot water, add a good amount of drain cleaner such as Drano into the toilet bowl.

Step 4. Wait, Flush, And Repeat

Once you have done all the steps, simply wait 10-15 minutes and then flush the toilet.

The dish soap, hot water, and drain cleaner will help remove all of the mineral deposits, metal deposits (like iron), and other obstructions in the drain and water jets. It should of cleared the blockages or at least improved the flush.

You can also do this technique a few more times to get more blockages clear. If you aren’t happy with the results, you can move onto the other methods detailed below.

Read Also: What Are The Best Dual Flush Toilets?

Coat Hanger Method

The coat hanger method is a technique of forcibly clearing any blockages in the siphon jet and the rim jets.

The siphon jet is the submerged jet of water that goes into the toilet in the direction of the drain. The rim jets are smaller water jets along the rim of the bowl that gets the flush started and swirls the water.

The siphon jet and rim jets commonly get mineral deposits (and sometimes metallic deposits like iron) that can obstruct the flow of water.

slow draining toilet (2)

Step 1. Clean The Rim Jets

Using a coat hanger or a small tool such as a screwdriver, simply poke and prod the rim jets from hole to hole.

You can also use a light acid cleaner such as vinegar to clean the surface of the rim jets.

You may also try pouring down some vinegar into the overflow tube which will go out the rim jets.

Step 2. Clean The Siphon Jet

Take the coat hanger and loosen up any debris in the siphon jet — being careful not to scratch the visible porcelain.

After cleaning these water jets, flush the toilet and see if it made a difference.

Read Also: How Do You Clean TOTO Washlet Bidets?

Snake Method

The snake method is focused on clearing the main drain of any blockages that may be slowing down the toilet flush. Believe it or not, flushing ‘wipes’ down the toilet is still very common and clogs pipes.

A toilet snake or ‘auger’ is a special type of snake designed to be used with toilets. It has a long plastic/metal arm with a plastic elbow that fits into the drain. The plastic elbow is important because this protects the visible porcelain from getting scratched by the metal snake.

Step 1. Insert Plastic Elbow Into Drain

The first step of the snake method is to stick the long arm of the auger into the toilet and push the elbow into the drain.

Step 2. Push Metal Snake Deep Into Drain

And then you take the handle and push the metal snake deep into the drain and all the way to the wax seal area.

It is important to keep the plastic elbow portion in the toilet so you don’t scratch the visible porcelain.

Step 3. Rotate And Push/Pull Handle

With the snake fully in the drain and holding it firmly, you rotate the handle which helps clear any debris, and also pump the snake back and forth.

Step 4. Flush Toilet

You now should flush the toilet to see if it has improved. You don’t even need to pull out the snake to flush the toilet.

Just do the snaking for a few minutes and flush the toilet.

Read Also: What Are The Best American Standard Toilets?

Power Flush

The power flush is a simple way to increase the power of the flush by simply holding down the handle until the flush is fully completed.

Rather than just quickly pressing the toilet handle, you hold it down fully until the flush is done. This way it allows a maximum amount of water to flow into the toilet bowl from the tank.

The power flush method doesn’t work with every toilet, but some toilets are ‘water saving’ and if you don’t hold down the handle, it doesn’t use much water for the flush. Of course, this doesn’t help save any water, but if you are flushing 2-3 times when you use the toilet — that doesn’t help save water either.

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Arie Van Tuijl

Arie Van Tuijl

I am a licensed home inspector in two U.S. states and the founder of Home Inspector Secrets. After performing hundreds of inspections, and seeing thousands of house defects, I realized people would love to have an online resource dedicated to home maintenance. I write detailed home guides and product reviews sprinkled with inspection tips. You can read my bio here.

About Home Inspector Secrets

Home Inspector Secrets is an online resource for owners, buyers, and sellers to understand all aspects of home maintenance. We have detailed home guides, product reviews, inspection advice, and much more.

Other Home Guides

Looking to learn more about home maintenance? Check out our other informative home product reviews and guides!