How to Unclog a Toilet with Dish Soap

How to unclog a toilet with dish soap is a new idea to us.  We decided to test it out and see if it worked and if we would recommend it to our readers. 

Does dish soap really help unclog a toilet?  Read below to find out! 

how to unclog a toilet with dish soap
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How to Unclog A Toilet with Dish Soap 

Desperate times call for desperate measures.  If you don’t have a toilet auger or a plunger and your toilet is clogged, what can you do?  You don’t want to spent a ton of money on emergency plumbing services, or call your friends randomly.  One of the solution you might have come across in your internet search is using dish soap to make that clog slip right down the toilet. 

But, does it actually work or are you wasting your time and your dish soap?  Let’s discuss. 

How to Unclog A Toilet with Dish Soap: Supplies 

You’re going to need 2 things to get your toilet unclogged with dish soap:  very hot water and dish soap. 

How Long Does Dish Soap Take to Unclog a Toilet? 

It takes about 15-20 minutes from start to finish for dish soap to unclog your toilet.  

How to Unclog a Toilet with Dawn Dish Soap (or Any Dish Soap) 

Pour a bunch of dish soap (Dawn Dish Soap or any kind) into your toilet bowl while you get your water very hot.  Slowly pour the hot water into your toilet bowl so you don’t crack the cold porcelain or melt the toilet ring.  Then set your timer and wait for your toilet to unclog.  If you are worried about your toilet overflowing if you flush it, then you really should wait and see.  The water level should go down by itself as the hot water works to open up your pipes.

If you want, you can leave the dish soap overnight. How long is take for the dish soap and hot water to unclog your toilet really depends on what’s clogging it and how severe the clog is. If it’s a foreign object clogging your toilet like something the kids flushed, then this method won’t work and you’ll need to get a toilet auger or hire a Pro.

Myth Versus Facts: How Does it Work?

You’ll be surprised to learn that it’s not actually the dish soap that is unclogging your toilet.  Sure, dish soap can cut through grease and grime…in the commercials.  But, this grease and grime is nothing in comparison to what’s built up in your toilet pipes.  The only way to remove years of built up gunk is with a toilet auger. 

Now, when you combine the HOT water with the soap and wait a bit, suddenly your toilet starts running clear.  Why is that?  That’s because the HOT WATER dissolved enough of the grease and grime in your pipes to let some of the water through.  It has nothing to do with the dish soap. 

How to Unclog a Toilet with Dish Soap: Not a Permanent Solution 

Unclogging a toilet with dish soap (actually just HOT water) will get your toilet running again in the short term.  But, there is still a ton of build up in your pipes at all the joints at elbows.  There could even be something stuck in your pipes.  The only thing that will get stuff out of your pipes and also remove gunk build up is a toilet auger.  You don’t need to hire a plumber with a toilet auger.  You can buy them online or at your local hardware store and do it yourself.   

Regular maintenance on your pipes with your auger will prevent any build up from causing clogs at the most embarrassing times or at 3am! 

Is it Safe to Put Dish Soap in the Toilet?

Yes, it is safe. There is no heat producing chemical reactions from putting dish soap in your toilet.

How much Dish Soap do You Pour Down the Toilet to Unclog it?

Anywhere for 1/2 to 1 cup of dish soap.

Dish Soap Didn’t Work to Unclog my Toilet: What’s Next?

If you don’t have a toilet auger or a plunger, you can try the other methods we listed in our detailed post HERE. If those don’t work, you’re going to need to buy a toilet auger or hire a Pro to unclog your toilet.

What Plunger do I Use for Which Clogs?

SinkSink Drains

Toilet Clog Prevention

Here are some tips to prevent future toilet clogs:

  • Don’t flush too much TP down the toilet at once
  • Flush multiple times during a big poop
  • Watch that the kids don’t flush anything
  • Don’t flush any wipes down the toilet. It doesn’t matter if they say they are “flushable”. They aren’t. Most of my service calls are for this issue.
  • Clean out your pipes twice per year with a toilet auger
  • Don’t flush cat litter: it turns into cement in your pipes
  • Don’t flush paper towel
  • Don’t flush large feminine hygiene products
  • Grease should be poured into a container and thrown out, not down your toilet

Cost of Hiring a Plumber Versus Buying a Toilet Auger

Hiring a plumber to unclog your toilet costs anywhere from $100- 250, depending on the area and how complicated the clog is. A toilet auger can be as cheap as $30. You can also use your toilet auger as many times as you like, so I consider it an investment.


How to unclog a toilet with dish soap is a MYTH.  Follow our expert advice above and JUST use hot water to get those pipes running fast and cheaply.  Save your dish soap.  Buy a toilet auger instead for the next time your clog returns. 


Is it OK to put dish soap in a toilet?

Yes, there are no possible bad things that can happen.

Does dish soap dissolve toilet paper?

Anything wet will eventually dissolve toilet paper, including dish soap. TP is organic matter and dissolves on its own when water is added.

What is the best dish soap to unclog a toilet?

Any dish soap will do.