Why You Should Think Twice Before Using The Garbage Bag Trick To Unclog Your Toilet

A clogged toilet is a terrible issue to have, especially without the right tools. If you're faced with a toilet that won't flush and don't have a plunger handy, you need to know alternatives that can save the day. One of these everyday hacks is the garbage bag trick, which involves taking some garbage or plastic bags and wrapping them tightly around the toilet rim. Then, you flush while using your hands to push the covering toward the bottom of the toilet, mimicking the movement of a plunger via KSBY.

This trick is pretty simple to carry out since it only requires plastic bags, which are easy to find around the house, and perhaps gloves to protect your hands from any potential contact with the toilet bowl bacteria or its contents. However, you should think twice before using this DIY hack for various reasons, and here's why it should be avoided and some better alternatives for tackling this problem.

Potential issues

The garbage bag trick might not help unclog your toilet because it isn't very effective and could create a bigger mess. According to Applewood Plumbing Heating & Electric, plungers work because pushing on an airtight seal increases the air pressure in the toilet pipe, and the strong, quick motions will make the water go down and up. Because of the nature of plastic bags and the physical force required to make a plunging motion, the covering will likely tear during the process.

A thicker, plastic material might work better than a garbage bag. This demonstration carried out by As Seen On Social Media involves using saran wrap because of its firm grip, but it requires many layers and multiple tries to get the blockage to go down. There is also toilet water overflows at the end, which means there will be a lot of cleaning up with this method.

Alternatives to this hack

A toilet brush is probably the next best tool to unclog a toilet when you don't have a plunger. By pumping it in the toilet bowl, you can use it like a plunger until it breaks up whatever is blocking the drain. Just make sure you clean it well after! Everyday household products like dish soap and hot water can also be put in the toilet bowl to dissolve whatever is stuck. A typical combination you can try is hot water, baking soda, and vinegar, which can also be used to unclog the shower drain. First, empty the toilet water that has risen. Then, pour some baking soda in and follow with some vinegar. Leave the mix for about 30 minutes, then flush the toilet with hot water, via Moore Home Services.

Have a wire clothes hanger you don't use? HowStuffWorks suggests straightening it out and using the long end to dig into the drain. Being proactive is also great when dealing with clogged toilets, advises Moore Home Services. Stick to soft toilet tissue and avoid throwing items that don't break down quickly into the toilet bowl.