How to Unclog a Toilet with Dish Soap?

When your toilet suddenly gets clogged, it is kind of like an emergency that you must deal with as soon as possible. Especially if it's the only available toilet in a household or a public facility. 

The problem it creates is also certainly unbearably bad, and the sooner it’s solved, the better. The most common solution for clogged toilets is using a toilet plunger or any harsh chemicals, such as caustic soda, at your disposal, specially designed to break clogs. 

But if you don’t have any of them in your hand now, there is an interesting alternative that can save you from imminent embarrassment and discomfort. You can unclog your toilet bowl with dish soap, which can initially seem funny. However, dish soap can be really effective in breaking many types of toilet clogs.

Or at least, it weakens the blockage so much that you only need one or two plunges, in case you are using a plunger. 

Can Dish Soap Unclog a Toilet?

Dish soaps are made to break down oils, fats, and grease from dishware. Similarly, they can be used to break down the clogs caused by organic materials. This natural dish cleaner is a better alternative to other toxic chemicals used to dislodge toilet clogs. 

Those toxic chemicals like hydrochloric acid can harm the septic systems and environment or wildlife if not disposed of properly. Dish liquid soap is denser than water, and when mixed in water, dish soap contents drop and settle at the bottom. 

Then it begins to work on loosening any obstruction present in the water, such as grease, oil, or other organic matter. For better results, you can use hot water. 

What Materials Do You Need?

A Stove: You will need a stove, electric kettle, or anything else to heat a gallon of water. You can also use the hot water tap in the bathroom or kitchen.

A Bucket: A bucket to keep 1 gallon of nearly boiling water.

Dishsoap: The dish soap you will be using should be of higher quality and featured with grease-loosening additives. 

A Long-Handled Toilet Brush or Sponge: A toilet brush will be used to scoop up materials from the toilet bowl and clean residual soap. 

A Plunger: It is needed when dish soap is not enough for stubborn clogs. However, dish soap will weaken the clog.

How to Unclog a Toilet With Dish Soap?

Soap liquid can break apart the clogs made of organic matter. However, depending on what is causing the clog, it may sometimes fail to clear it completely. Normally, it is effective in unclogging most of the common materials such as toilet tissues, grease substances, etc. But we can’t promise it will do wonders in your toilet. 

So, below is the step-by-step method to unclog the toilet: 

Step 1: Remove Floating Object

Remove any visible materials from the toilet trap way. You can use a long-handled toilet brush to do it.

Step 2: Remove Some Stagnant Water From the Toilet Bowl

Before attempting to unclog a toilet using dish soap liquid, removing some of the stagnant water from the toilet bowl is recommended. This step helps prevent overflow and mess during the unclogging process. You can use a small container, such as a cup or a bucket, to scoop out excess water from the bowl. 

Step 3: Pour Good Quality Dish Soap (Liquid)

Pour a good amount of dish soap into the toilet bowl. Pour them closely to the water so it doesn’t cause splash-back. 

Step 4: Heat a Gallon of Water

Place a large pot filled with a gallon of water on the stovetop and heat it until it’s nearly boiling. But be careful not to let it make boiling or scalding hot. Scalding hot could damage the toilet’s porcelain surface and other toilet parts, such as wax rings. 

Step 5: Pour the Hot Water

Once the water is hot enough, pour them onto the toilet slowly. 

Step 6: Let Them Sit

Let the mixture of water and dish soap sit for around 30 minutes. However, you can let it last even longer. The longer the liquid stays, the better it acts. During this time, the dish soap liquid will settle at the bottom and slowly break down and clear the obstruction.  

Step 7: Flush the Toilet

After the wait, flush the toilet. The process should clear most of the obstruction. If attempts to remove the clog are unsuccessful and something stubborn in the drain pipe is impeding water flow, you can resort to using a plunger. 

Should dish soap prove insufficient in resolving the issue independently, it can facilitate the plunging process, potentially making it more effective.

Contact a Plumber

If your attempt to unclog a toilet is unsuccessful, it’s time to consider calling a professional plumber. While minor clogs can often be resolved with a plunger or a toilet auger, persistent or severe blockages may require specialized equipment and expertise to prevent further damage to your plumbing system. 

Rather than risking exacerbating the problem, a skilled plumber can quickly diagnose the issue and implement appropriate solutions, restoring your toilet’s functionality efficiently and effectively.


Will Boiling Water Unblock the Toilet?

Ans: Boiling is not recommended to pour into the toilet drain or sink. The reason is boiling water can damage the porcelain surface or drain pipe. However, hot water at near boiling temperature, along with dish soap or bleach, can help break down and disinfect the toilet clog. That said, only pouring hot water may not be enough to clear toilet blockage. 

Will a Toilet Unclog by Itself?

Ans: Whether a toilet clog is resolved by itself depends on what causes the blockage inside the toilet. If your toilet becomes obstructed by toilet paper and other fecal matter, it will likely eventually unclog on its own, albeit this process may take longer than manually unclogging it.

Some types of clogs, especially those caused by more stubborn materials like grease, hair, or foreign objects, may not get resolved on their own. In such cases, intervening with specific measures to clear the blockage is often necessary. 

Can Shampoo Unclog a Toilet and Sink?

Ans: Shampo can also break up some minor toilet clogs, but it won’t be as effective as dish soap. Dish soap contains degreasers and surfactants that help dissolve and loosen greasy buildup, making it particularly useful for kitchen sinks, where cooking oils and food residues can accumulate. 


It is almost certain that dish soap can break up common materials that typically go into the toilet and cause blockages, such as tissues, fecal matter, and grease. 

In fact, dish soap works even better when unclogging sink drains, as grease, oils, and food residue are common culprits that block sink drains. So, if you don’t have a plunger at home, dish soap is a feasible option to deal with these kinds of emergencies.

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