Until about a month ago, I had successfully made it nearly 24 years without ever having to plunge or unclog a toilet. When I worked in food service and retail, not knowing how to plunge got me out of some of the grossest parts of the job. But there comes a time in every person's life where you have to tackle even the most disgusting of tasks or fork over a ton of money to have a plumber do it for you.
1. You've just clogged the toilet and you're freaking out because the water is about to begin spilling all over the floor. Think fast and either switch off the water at the base of the toilet or lift the top of the toilet tank and close the toilet flapper. Both of these will prevent you from causing some serious water damage.
2. Be sure you have a plunger. If you don't already have one in the house, run out and buy one immediately. FamilyHandyman.com recommends one with an extension on the end because it fits in the toilet better. These are often called funnel-cup plungers.
3. Assess the kind of clog you're dealing with. Is the toilet not flushing at all? Your best bet is to wait for the toilet to drain a little before plunging. Be sure not to flush it again.
4. Grab some gloves and get to work. Place the plunger in the toilet, and make sure it is sealed tight around the hole. Family Handyman recommends that the first plunge be extremely gentle so you avoid splashing yourself with toilet water.
5. Lift the plunger up and down in a plunging motion for as many plunges as it takes until the clog clears. Be sure to keep the plunger partially covered with water while you're plunging. If you're plunging more than 20 times, chances are you may need to try out another method.
6. If the clog is being particularly tricky, Lifehacker recommends pouring some hot water and dishwashing soap into the toilet. This will help to break up the clog. This can also come in handy if you don't have a plunger readily available.
7. If none of the above works, you may need to invest in a plumbing snake or go in and take apart the toilet. Both of these options are best if a foreign object ends up in your toilet, too.