If awards were to be given to domestic chores for being the dirtiest, smelliest and most unglamorous tasks I think unblocking the loo would scoop a gold medal.
There is a blend of horror and indignity that is only experienced when staring down into a toilet that refuses to flush. As the water level in the bowl rises ominously, we plead and pray that the water will stop rising and that you will avoid the mortification of spill over.

The only consolation in this dreaded scenario is that it happens to all of us and often without warning. Thankfully there are some simple solutions for this always-untimely event. The following are 5 time-tested and green tricks that have worked wonders for many discontented toilet.

  1. Do nothing but wait, then flush.

Toilets, like all plumbing drains, work by the force of gravity. A full bowl of water exerts its own pressure on the clog and, over time, often will clear the clog for you. So if you have more than one bathroom in the house, just wait it out overnight, or as long as you can. Then, try to flush again. If it’s a standard clog (too much paper, in most cases), this passive solution is surprisingly effective.

  1. Pour in some hot water. Wait. Flush.

If you don’t have the time to wait out the clog, or if you’d like to increase your chance of success by giving gravity a helping hand, you can pour a few cups of hot water into the bowl. This will help to break down the waste, thereby loosening the clog. Hot water is a far more ecological choice than pouring corrosive chemicals down your drains, but don’t pour down masses as you could end up with a crazed or cracked china bowl.

  1. Time to fetch the plunger, if time and warm water are not moving the blockage then it’s time to pop on your best rubber gloves and get plunging like a pro. Or better still unravel a wire coat hanger and attach a rag to one end (securely) Stick the covered end into the drain and push and twist in a circular motion to dislodge any blockage.


  1. If the blockage turns out to be as persistent as a ex who can’t get the message and continues to clog and loiter in the alley way of the toilet bowl then its time to reach for the washing up liquid.

To clear the blockage, pour some standard washing up liquid into the bowl, waiting a little while to allow the washing up liquid to fall to the bottom where it lubricates the trap way of the toilet where the paper and waste have got stuck.

Then pour a kettle full of hot water into the bowl, which mixes with the washing up liquid and works its way to the trap-way, pushing the paper and muck through and shifting the blockage.


  1. It might be time to reach for the bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar. Pour ½ a pint of white vinegar and 150g of bicarbonate of soda down the toilet. Pour a kettle of hot water into the toilet bowl and wait. Repeat the method if necessary.



About Seren Charrington-Hollins

ABOUT SEREN-CHARRINGTON-HOLLINS Describing my work through just one job title is difficult; because my professional life sees me wear a few hats: Food Historian, period cook, broadcaster, writer and consultant. I have a great passion for social and food history and in addition to researching food history and trends I have also acted as a consultant on domestic life and changes throughout history for a number of International Companies. In addition to being regularly aired on radio stations; I have made a number of television appearances on everything from Sky News through to ITV’s Country House Sunday, Holiday of a Lifetime with Len Goodman , BBC4’s Castle’s Under Siege, BBC South Ration Book Britain; Pubs that Built Britain with Hairy Bikers and BBC 2’s Inside the Factory. Amongst other publications my work has been featured in Period Living Magazine, Telegraph, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Great British Food Magazine and I write regularly for a variety of print and online publications. I am very fortunate to be able to undertake work that is also my passion and never tire of researching; recreating historical recipes and researching changing domestic patterns. Feel free to visit my blog, www.serenitykitchen.com