How to unclog a toilet with a hanger

How to unclog a toilet with a hanger
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Toilet clogs come unannounced. And when they do, they are always an emergency. Not only do they prevent you from flushing your microbe infested number 2, but even worse, is that they prevent the next person from using the toilet.

If you’re person number one, you can wait for the plumber to arrive in 3 days time. But if you’re the second person, you need the toilet unclogged… now.

If you have no unclogging tool or material, we have good news for you. There’s one more effective tool in your closet: your metal cloth hanger.

Cloth hanger can be a “clog saver” if you’re stuck with a clog in the oddest of times and location.

But how do you unblock a toilet with a cloth hanger? Here is a step by step guide:

How to unclog a toilet with a hanger

How to unclog a toilet with a hanger

Step 1

Locate your metal cloth anger.

Step 2

Find a plier. A similar tool will do. But pliers are safer to use.

Step 3

Unwind the coiled “neck” of the hanger. (this should leave you with a single metal rod)

Step 4

Straighten the metal rod.

Step 5

Insert one end of the now straightened rod into the toilet bowl and down the toilet drain as far as you can get.

Step 6

Probe the toilet drain repeatedly with a repeated “stabbing” motion.

Step 7

If the water begin to subside, then your clog is begining to loosen.

Step 8

Repeat step 6 for a minute or more further.

Step 9

Now run a quick flush, with the toilet … or use a 10 liter bucket of water to force-flush the toilet.

Step 10

Flush the toilet a second time to clean remnant clogged particles.

Step 11

Remove the now straightened rod, wash, disinfect and keep it safely for future use.

Step 12

Hurray!!! Your drain is free.

Advantages of the cloth hanger technique

How to unclog a toilet with a hanger
  1. Readily available
  2. Cheap
  3. Durable
  4. Reusable 
  5. Easy to use
  6. High efficiency rate
  7. Effective in high water level

Readily available

Almost everyone owns a hanger. They’re cheap and easy to use. Some metal hangers are old and prone to staining white or bright colored clothes.

Rather than throw these away, you can keep them for use as makeshift toilet snake. You don’t have to look around, they’re already in your wardrobe waiting for the taking.

Thinner wire hangers can even navigate the wind around a toilet’s p or s trap.


A set of 50 metal hangers on ebay is sold for about $30. That means one hanger is about 60 cents. At this price, the hanger is one of the cheapest tool to unclog a blocked toilet.


Directly related to it’s cheap price, is how long they last. An unwound hanger rod, can last you several years. Actually unless you choose to discard it for hygiene or other reasons, your hanger will remain available for use for many years to come.


Unlike enzyme or other organic cleaners, hangers can be used as often as needed. As long as you wash and disinfect it after each use, you should be able to reuse it for as long as you want.

Easy to use

Electric toilet snake should not be operated without proper training. Manual augers can be difficult for those who’re new to handling it. How about the hanger? It is a dumb, blunt, but effective tool. Once you can break the difficulty of unwinding and straightening it, it is just a dumb tool that only require any human with healthy arm, working fingers and palm to grip, and a little strenght (that possessed by a 10-year-old). The rest is just a push-pull motion. 

That is how simple it is to use.

High efficiency rate

Hangers get the job done. They’re able to pierce through tough obstacles. You can bend  its edge at a tight angle and use it to pull stuck items out of the drain.

Do hangers get the job done? The answer is a resounding yes.

Effective in high water level

A worthy mention is the fact that you can use it in a toilet bowl with high water level. When properly used, you should be able to unclog your toilet with little to no spillage.


  1. Limited lenght
  2. Lack of flexibility

Limited lenght

The hanger’s length is probably is biggest disadvantage. An average hanger is about 44 inches in length, when unwound completely. This makes it only equivalent to a  4 foot auger snake.

This is a fair length, but you can get better offers with a toilet snake. 

With this length, it will be ineffective at dislodging a clog that is 5 feet deep in the drain.

Lack of flexibility

Most hangers are thick and devoid of flexibility. This makes it incapable of dislodging clogs that are deep in an s-trap drain, as it cannot wind its way down the curves of a p or s trap

Here also, a hanger will proof ineffective. 


From personal expirience, metal cloth hangers is one of my favorites  unclogging tool. Never underestimate it’s effectiveness because it is cheap and readily available.

Of course it has it’s limitations. For instance, a combination of its short lenght and limited flexibility gives a toilet snake a big edge over it. Other than this, it should be able to compete with the average toilet snake.

But when compared with the price, maintenance and handling needs of a toilet snake, the humble cloth hanger is a worthy contender. For details on toilet snakes, read this article

By all means, it is worth having it among your tools needed to unclog a blocked toilet.

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