How to Unclog a Toilet With Dish Soap in 3 Easy Steps

By Marsha Harrison

how to unclog a toilet with dish soap

No one likes dealing with a clogged toilet. Besides affecting the way your toilet flushes waste, it spills water on your bathroom floor.

Using a plunger can solve this problem, but what if you don’t have one at home?

Don’t call your plumber without this tutorial on how to unclog a toilet with dish soap.

Prepare the Following Before the Start of the Tutorial

  • 1-gallon of hot water

  • Note: Read the instructions below on how to correctly heat water.

  • Grease-fighting dishwashing liquid soap

Step-by-step Guide on How to Unblock a Badly Blocked Toilet


Step #1: Limit the flow of water into the bowl

A word of advice from WikiHow: Check the toilet to see if it is overflowing by turning the valve before attempting to unclog the toilet with dish soap and hot water.

The valve is located behind your toilet and close to your floor. Reach for it and turn the knob clockwise. If it feels tight, you can apply some WD-40 to loosen it.

That said, remember to turn it counterclockwise once you have unclogged the toilet.

Step #2: Prepare 1 gallon of hot water and pour it into the toilet bowl

Heat the 1-gallon pot of water on your stove. You can put the lid of the pot on and wait until the water is hot. But ensure it is not boiling.

Once the water steams or reaches 49 degrees Celsius, you can get the pot from the stove.

Next, pour it into the toilet bowl slowly. Stop from time to time to let the water descend before continuing to pour.

Note: Boiling water can cause the wax ring around the toilet to crack. This is why it is important not to pour boiling water.

Step #3: Pour the dishwashing liquid into the toilet bowl

Put some dish soap into the toilet bowl and allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes. By doing so, the soap will have time to move down and reach the clog.

There is no “standard” amount of dish soap to unclog the toilet but you can start with ¼ or ½ cup.

After pouring dish soap into the toilet, you might notice the water lowering. This means it’s working!

However, there is one last step to further unclog your toilet.

Step #4: Repeat Step #2

Heat another 1 gallon of water using the steps I provided in Step #2.

Then, pour it slowly. Again, you can do this slowly, stopping now and then to allow the water to go down.

As this how-to article on Family Handyman says, unclogging toilets with dish soap alone is sometimes not enough.

You can flush the toilet to see whether it has cleared away the stuff that caused the clog.

Most tutorials would end here but if there is still an issue, proceed to step 5.

Step #5: Optional: Use the plunger

If putting dish soap in the toilet and pouring hot water over it doesn’t work, leave your toilet overnight and try plunging it the next day.

Simply place the cup of the plunger over the hole. With firm pressure, push and pull the plunger in a vertical direction.

For a visual guide, check out this video on Helpful DIY.

Alternatively, you can try using a toilet drain snake. If all else fails, get a professional to handle to the job.

Frequently Asked Questions


How does pouring dish detergent in the toilet help unclog it?

Many DIY bloggers and Reddit users attest that putting dish soap in the toilet helps remove whatever is clogging it.

Working in tandem with hot water, the soap breaks up all things that may be jammed in the toilet.

Can I leave dish soap in the toilet overnight to clean it so I can prevent clogging in the future?

No. The method I provided above is only when you need to immediately resolve the issue.

I’m sure you have come across several articles about “dish soap clogged toilet” hacks. However, many plumbers express their concern over using dish soap for cleaning.

To clean your toilet, make sure you use products that are formulated for septic systems. Certain substances can ruin the cistern’s seals.


As we learned in this tutorial on how to unclog a toilet with dish soap, many seemingly complicated issues can be resolved with a simple hack.

In most cases, pouring hot water and dish soap into your toilet can work. Still, there is no telling whether this remedy addresses the root cause.

If your toilet gets jammed despite all efforts, it is best to call your plumber to see if there are alternatives.

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