You know that you’re in for quite a messy and smelly situation when your bathroom plunger is missing in action and your trusty toilet bowl is clogged. Before you panic and give yourself an aneurysm and potentially create an indoor swimming pool or a pond in your bathroom, take a deep breath and keep your wits with you.

First things first, whatever you do, DO NOT continuously flush the toilet in hopes that the water pressure will miraculously unclog your toilet. It will not only make the water overflow, but it will also make whatever it is that you’re trying to flush float. Gross. Trust me, you don’t want your poop floating anywhere near your toilet bowl’s brim and you don’t want any of that murky water spilling down your pristine bathroom floors.

To ensure that these unfortunate (and disgusting) situations won’t happen, make sure that one, you don’t continuously flush, two, you’ve pulled up the floater at the back of the toilet, and three, shut off the water valves. Before even attempting to unclog your toilet using the methods below, be very sure that the water has gone down and is not overflowing.

Method 1: Hot Water Bath with Soap

To unclog your toilet without a plunger, put a liberal amount of dish soap, shampoo or diced soap block into your toilet bowl and pour a gallon of extremely hot, but not boiling, water into it. If you let it sit for 30 minutes or so, the water should break down whatever’s clogging your toilet and the soap should make those things easily slide down the drain. If 30 minutes don’t cut it, let it sit for a longer period of time and be prepared to repeat the steps until everything’s cleared and your toilet is functioning as it once was again. If it still doesn’t work, suck it up and use an unwound wire hanger to manually break up the debris. Don’t forget to use gloves though.

Method 2: Salt the Bowl

In cases where your house has run out of soap but has an abundant supply of salt, you can use them instead. If you have rock salt, you can mix a cup of it with two gallons of very hot water until it’s dissolved. Afterwards, you can just dump the mixture into the bowl, wait for a few hours, and then flush. You can also use salt in combination with other substances like baking soda. For this method, you can use either table salt or Epsom salt. First, mix ½ cup of salt with ½ cup of baking soda and pour into the toilet bowl. Then, slowly pour around six cups of boiling water and allow to sit overnight. Once the water, the salt, and the baking soda have broken down the debris, you can now flush your toilet and enjoy its clog-free state.

Method 3: Bleach and Detergent Combi

If the first two methods didn’t work, you can use a combination of bleach and detergent, to help break down your toilet’s cloggers. Just mix 2-3 (or more) cups of bleach with a cup of detergent and dump it into the toilet bowl. After 30 minutes, these chemicals should have sufficiently broken down the cloggers, so you can safely flush your toilet now.

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