April 16


How To Fix A Toilet That Won’t Flush & It’s Not Clogged

By Robin Hatch

April 16, 2020

Toilets should flush with no issue. However, the water will either slowly rotate or act like it’s clogged. This often leaves the homeowner in panic as we’re unsure of the issue and how to properly assess it.

If your toilet won’t flush and it’s not clogged, ensure the float isn’t jammed or the siphon jet isn’t clogged. It’s also important to check the chain to ensure it’s not disconnected or stuck.

In this article, we will help you troubleshoot why your toilet may not flush, even though it may not be clogged.

Toilet Won’t Flush And It’s Not Clogged

Before we dive into why your toilet won’t flush, you’ll need to learn all the parts of the toilet tank and bowl so you can properly troubleshoot.

The toilet bowl has a few crucial parts that you should be aware of, which may cause your toilet to be clogged. As shown in the video, these are the most important parts of the toilet:

  • Handle
  • Fill Valve
  • Tank
  • Overflow Tube
  • Flush Valve
  • Flapper
  • Siphon Jet (Not Shown)
toilet bowl and how it works

Why Your Toilet Won’t Flush When It’s Not Clogged

Partially Congested

One thing we always advise is to make sure the exit drain is not clogged at all. This is typically one of the reasons it’s not fully flushing.

Although you’re pretty sure that nothing is clogged in the toilet bowl, the first thing you should do is double-check to make sure it’s not clogged.

This means taking a plunger to drain the bowl and trying to dislodge the standing toilet water. Too much toilet paper or paper towels may partially clog the toilet.

Take 10-20 seconds and give the toilet an excellent plunge, and double-check that the drain isn’t clogged. If your water level is already high, we do not recommend flushing the toilet as you could cause an overflow.

Even toilet cleaners won’t remove these particles, so you’ll have to dislodge anything clogging it manually. This is the most common cause of unclogging a toilet that is partially clogged with toilet paper.

Check The Water Levels

The video above shows that the water level needs to remain at specific heights for the toilet tank to work.

What’s unique about the toilet is it’s constructed solely off pulleys and levers. It doesn’t use any electricity or electric gadgets to operate.

We explain this concept because it needs to be at a certain height for the water levels to be consistent with the necessary water levels.

For instance, if the water level is too low, it will not shut off the float or toilet flapper to stop the water.

This will continue to fill the bowl, leading to an overflow.

Check to make sure the water levels fluctuate throughout the flushing process and do not remain the same.

Jammed Float

This is rarely an occurrence, but it’s always good to check to see if it’s still intact. A jammed or broken float will not signal the flushing valve to turn off.

In turn, this will continue to fill the toilet bowl with water as it never shuts off the water supply.

Again, this is rare, especially if your shut-off valve is the “balloon-like” apparatus, which naturally will float once water touches it.

However, if it’s the shape-shifting one, it could get jammed. It is played with or hits the bowl hard. Rare, but we always like to double-check and make sure.

To fix this, lift up the toilet tank lid and make sure the chain is connected to the lever. Once you lift the chain, it should start to flush properly (the float ball should start to sink).

If it’s not or doesn’t flush (even with a slow flush), then it could be the chain is disconnected.

Obstructed Siphon Jet

The siphon jet is a jet that’s at the bottom of the bowl that pushes the water down the “S-tube” and allows it to flow naturally.

Are you confused about the siphon jet? Watch this video, as it perfectly illustrates how to unclog the siphon jet and where it’s located within the toilet.

As shown, the siphon jet is what helps push the water down the tube. The siphon jet on the toilet can often get clogged with minerals and leftover toilet paper.

If your toilet relies on a siphon jet, you may want to check to see if the jet holes are clogged.

To fix a clogged siphon jet (or clogged inlet holes), simply use a small plunger or toilet bowl cleaner to dislodge the siphon jet. This will help to dislodge mineral deposits or any other mineral buildup you may have stuck in the jet.

Make sure your toilet is flushing properly and the siphon jet is pushing the water down the toilet. These small inlet holes will get clogged, so it’s important to unclog them every week.

Chain Or The Lever Is Disconnected

Lift the top of the tank off of the toilet tank and locate where the lever on the outside meets the chain or plastic piece on the inside.

If you have a chain connected to the toilet tank, it’s expected that the chain may have come loose and fallen off.

This is common as a toilet is flushed several times a day, leading to its disengagement. This will cause a slow-draining toilet tank.

To fix this, connect the chain back onto the inside of the handle. If you’re worried about it falling off again, using a piece of waterproof tape or any adhesive can help the chain stick to the lever.

This fix is easy; however, this could be a frustrating reoccurrence if you’re unfamiliar with toilets.

Chain Is Stuck

The last reason why the toilet won’t flush and it’s not clogged is to see if the chain is stuck on the flapper or any part of it as it opens and closes.

Newer toilets shouldn’t have this issue, as the chain should be tight enough to the lever where there should be no overhand.

Older toilets, however, may have a long loose chain, as that’s how they were built.

If your toilet has a long chain, we recommend making quick adjustments to it or simply buying a whole new level for the toilet tank. The loose chain is what could be causing your issues.

Don’t be afraid to take the top off the tank and experiment and see why the toilet may appear clogged.

After going through all of these items, your toilet flush should be seamless and easy.

Tools To Fix a Clogged Toilet

If you don’t know how to drain the water, there are a few tools that you can use to help unclog the toilet and unjam the siphon jet.


The first tool is the specially designed plunger. While this item is pretty standard in every household, we recommend upgrading your plunger to one that does more than loosens the material at the bottom of the toilet.


This plunger is specially designed to go deeper than your traditional plunger. If you notice, it tapers toward the bottom, which allows you to get deeper into the toilet.

The plunger is great for removing leftover residue and any other small items that get stuck near the siphon jet.

You can find this plunger here.


Next is the toilet brush. We recommend you have a strong toilet brush nearby. Not just the one with tiny bristles that clean the top of the toilet.

toilet bowl cleaner

We recommend this brush, which has long bristles that allow you to get deep inside the siphon jet that might be clogged. Save yourself some time and energy when trying to fix your clogged toilet.

This brush is available here for purchase.

Using the proper amount of toilet paper can help with toilet flushes. If you’re using 2-ply toilet paper, cut the amount you use in half.

Using an excessive amount will naturally clog the toilet, as the toilet won’t flush completely. If you have children, educate them on the proper amount to use.

This will help save you a trip to the local hardware store as well as dealing with a professional plumber.

Call A Plumber

This is the most expensive option on the list, but if you truly can’t get anyone in the house to fix or flush the toilet, this may be your best option.

Expert plumbing services will not only have your toilet flushing correctly, but they will also help to make sure it doesn’t happen again in the near future.

Education from your local licensed plumber is super valuable, as they will tweak your toilet to ensure there is nothing else wrong.

Once they leave, your toilet’s tank and water flow should be restored back to normal.


Toilets won’t flush but are not clogged because they may be partially clogged in the drain pipe or siphon jet. Simply remove any debris clogging these areas to get back your smooth flush.

Families with multiple children living under one roof with few bathrooms are at the most significant risk for malfunctions.

Frequent use will cause dysfunction if not correctly cared for and properly maintained. This will often cause the toilet not to flush well.

When dealing with toilets, it’s always important to be proactive rather than reactive.

We recommend cleaning the siphon jet to its fullest, making sure the lever is connected successfully and there are no interruptions in the flushing pattern.

Last, run through the water level test and ensure the water levels are correctly rising and releasing correctly.

If you feel uncomfortable, the last resort is to call a plumber and have them come over and fix it. This should be your last resort if the toilet is not clogged but not flushing completely.

We recommend this for anyone who doesn’t want to get their hands dirty or fears fixing it. Call your local plumber and have them fix it.

Robin Hatch

About the author

For over a decade, Robin has been a real estate agent, interior design specialist, and mother. Through her trials and tribulations, she wanted to create the perfect website to help you save money and make your home look beautiful.

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