Six steps to fix a blocked toilet

We take at look at how to deal with blocked toilets

A golden toilet

A blocked toilet can feel like a real nightmare – they often occur unexpectedly and can ruin a day out of nowhere. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when faced with the blocked plumbing, but don’t panic. Admiral has been helping households out with plumbing disasters for years, and now we’re passing on our experience to you with this handy how to guide.

Step one – Stop flushing

A clean white toilet

It’s always going to be your first reaction – maybe if I flush one more time, it’ll shift the blockage? It’s important to protect your bathroom, so don’t do this. You’ll have seen the water rise in the bowl the first time – any more flushes and you risk the water overflowing and spilling out over your lovely bathroom floor.

A blocked toilet can be really unpleasant business – you don’t want to make the situation worse. Once you’ve realised it’s blocked, take a deep breath, take a step back, and then carry on reading

Step two – Collect your tools

A collection of tools to use

The right tools can turn any DIY problem into an easy fix, and a blocked toilet is no different! The most important tool for this job is the plunger, a ball shaped one is especially good for this kind of work.

To protect you and your bathroom, you’ll want something to soak up any excess water that might spill out of the bowl – preferably something you don’t mind throwing out after. Old towels are great if you have them, otherwise newspaper will work fine. You’ll want some rubber gloves for yourself, too.

 (Optional) Step Three - Try by hand

A yellow gloved hand

Sometimes, a blockage in your toilet can be something as simple as a child’s toy (or a mass of toilet paper that’s been used as a costume...) If this is the case, sometimes just reaching down the drain with a gloved hand to hook out the obstacle can be all you need.

This can also work for more natural blockages too if you’re feeling brave. However, depending on the size and position of your pipe and the location of the blockage this sometimes isn’t an option, so read on for further steps in clearing your blocked toilet.

Step Four – Dissolve the Issue

Bathroom chemicals

If the blockage doesn’t seem too bad – if your toilet still drains, but very slowly - then it may only be partially blocked. One tactic that my help without getting your hands too dirty is to try dissolving whatever is down there, particularly if it’s soft. You can try boiling the kettle and pouring the water down the pipe, or use bleach or drain cleaner to try and break it down.

Step Five – Time to plunge

A toilet being plunged

Stubborn blockages can require a bit more force, and that’s where the plunger comes in. You’ll need the rubber end of the plunger to fit completely over the drain in the bottom of the bowl, and then plunge.

Pushing back and forth on the handle will cause the vacuum that you’ve created to dislodge whatever is blocking the pipe. Give it a plunge and then see if the water drains – that’s how you’ll know it has worked.

Step Six – Clean up

A golden toilet


Nice job! With the pipe clear and the water draining, you’re back to a fully functioning toilet. Give the bowl a wipe down, throw out any wet towels or newspaper, and now you can continue living in bathroom harmony.

We hope this guide helped, and for more serious plumbing emergencies you can always look to Admiral Home Emergency Cover, available as an optional extra on Admiral Home Insurance.

Flexible home insurance from Admiral