We've all been there: You flush the toilet and all of a sudden the water starts to rise, rather than drain through the bottom of the bowl like it's supposed to. What does this mean? You have a clog. When toilets get blocked, those toilet clogs can cause flooding, bad odors and big messes, so it's important to try to fix the problem as soon as possible. What you should try to avoid though is to resort to chemical drain cleaners - these can sometimes damage your home's plumbing, leading to bigger issues down the road. Instead, try one of these eco-friendly fixes to unblock a toilet:
Close the shut-off valve
The first thing you should do if you notice the water level rising in your toilet bowl is to turn the shut-off valve so water can no longer enter the fixture. This step will hopefully help you avoid messy flooding in your bathroom.
The next thing you should do is tap the backside of the toilet bowl with your foot or knuckles, then try flushing again. Believe it or not, this simple step is often very effective. If the blockage is high enough in the toilet's plumbing, tapping may loosen it up and help the flow of water return to normal. But don’t kick too hard, you could damage the toilet!
Wait it out
If you aren't in any big hurry to unblock the toilet, it's a good idea to simply leave it untouched overnight, then flush when you wake up in the morning. Though most people want a quick fix, waiting it out is actually an effective method. More often than not, you'll notice the toilet is unblocked by the time you wake up.
Pour hot water
Another easy and eco-friendly solution for a clogged toilet is to try pouring hot water into the bowl. Heat about a gallon of water, and pour it slowly into your fixture, then flush. Ideally, the combination of the heat and the water pressure will break up the blockage and return the toilet back to working order.
Use a plunger
If none of the other methods have worked - or you want the problem to be resolved right away - it may be time to use a plunger. Make sure the plunger's head forms a seal around the bottom of the bowl, then pump forcefully a few times. If you have one on hand, you may want to try using a plunger with an accordion-style head - this will create a better seal around the curves of the drain.