Hotel Toilet Clogged – What Should You Do Immediately?

Sometimes nature calls, and all you can do is answer it. But things don’t always go your way. And suddenly you find yourself stuck with a clogged toilet on vacation. Not the best feeling for anyone. How you deal with the situation can seriously impact the rest of your vacation. So, what should you do immediately when you find the toilet clogged?

Is calling the hotel reception the best bet? Can the hotel charge you for a clogged toilet? Are there alternatives you can try yourself without calling the hotel? Should you try these alternatives? Read more to find out.

What Can Clog a Toilet?

Believe it or not, there are over a hundred ways to clog a toilet. But probably only a few will leave you in embarrassment.

“Naturally” Clogged Toilets

Of course, clogging a toilet “naturally” is the more common occurrence when it comes to clogged toilets in a hotel. Maybe the flush at the hotel is not good enough. Maybe the pipes are smaller than what you’re used to at home. Maybe you used too much toilet paper. Maybe it’s a combination of all of the above. Either way, these will clog a toilet.

If you want to avoid the embarrassment of calling the hotel about a clogged toilet, there are a few things to keep in mind. Don’t use too much toilet paper. Sometimes the build-up of toilet paper can cause a clog when flushing. Try flushing in between going if you know you’re going to be on the toilet for a long time. This way you’re less likely to clog the toilet “naturally”.

“Unnaturally” Clogged Toilets

But if you do end up calling the front desk, you’d be surprised to know they will be gladder to find the toilet “naturally” clogged. As “unnaturally” clogged toilets can cause even more problems for the hotel. And are usually harder to deal with.

So, make sure to keep items that don’t belong in the toilet away from the toilet. This can help you avoid ending up with a clogged toilet in the first place. And will reduce the risk of you having to pay for damages caused by the clogged toilet.

These “unnatural” substances can be damaging to the pipes in the hotel. If the clog occurs further down the line after you’ve flushed, the issue can be much bigger. If the clog causes an overflow, the rest of the hotel bathroom is at risk of water damage.

This can mean damage to the flooring, the walls, the electrical systems in the floor and walls, other water systems in your bathroom, or issues and damages in the room below. So yes, hotel staff will likely be more annoyed to have to deal with an “unnaturally” clogged toilet.

Can the Hotel Charge You for A Clogged Toilet?

We know the situation can be embarrassing enough already. And the distressing possibility of being charged by the hotel for a clogged toilet certainly doesn’t help. But we’re here to tell you that not every hotel will charge you.

Whether a hotel will charge you for a clogged toilet depends on its policies. If you’ve clogged the toilet unintentionally, the hotel probably won’t charge you. Unless there’s a line stated in their policies that guests will be charged. If you’ve clogged the toilet intentionally though, things might be different. If the hotel finds things that don’t belong in the toilet bowl, you are more likely to be charged for the clog. Think diapers, wet wipes, food, paper, etc. Don’t put anything that doesn’t belong in the toilet, and you probably won’t be charged.

If the clogged toilet has caused an overflow into the bathroom, or even the hotel room though, the story might be different. An overflow might cause additional damage to your room. Or the room below you. In these situations, the hotel might charge you for the damages caused.

What Should You Do Immediately?

So, now you’ve found yourself stuck with a clogged toilet, what should you do immediately?

Call the Front Desk

Calling the front desk might be an intimidating next step when facing a clogged toilet. But it is definitely the first thing you should do. Especially if you’re staying in a 4-star or above establishment.

Most hotels with four stars or above will have maintenance staff on standby for emergencies. And they will definitely have plumbers in the mix who can help you out in this situation. These hotels are also more likely to react professionally in these situations. Not only are their hotel staff paid to offer the good service guaranteed by the number of stars the hotel has.

But they are also familiar with situations like these and understand the embarrassment guests are feeling. Good hotel staff will approach your situation swiftly and with vigilance without embarrassing you further.

Calling the front desk also reduces the chances of you being charged for the clog. Sometimes clogs might be the toilet’s fault. Which means it’s the hotel’s fault for not enforcing proper maintenance. Sometimes it’s the plumbing in that area in general.

Hotels located in cities like New York and London might be luxurious and beautiful. But they are more likely to have toilet problems. As the plumbing system of these places are notoriously bad throughout history, it’s difficult for anyone to make improvements to existing infrastructure.

Calling the front desk will also reduce the risk of an overflow from the clog. As a plumber can be called in quicker to deal with the issue. If your toilet has already overflowed, calling the front desk will help minimize the damage done to hotel facilities. And so minimizing the charges you will have to pay.

If you still feel too embarrassed about the situation, you don’t have to stay in the room. Simply call the front desk, and explain your situation. Then leave the room or even the hotel as they send someone to fix the toilet.

And remember, hotels have to deal with clogged toilets all the time. They would be glad that it was clogged “naturally” and not with something that doesn’t belong in the toilet.

Some Alternatives to Try

If hotel policies state that guests will be charged for a clogged toilet, here are a few alternatives you can try to avoid having to pay the fine.

1) Use the Plunger

Most toilets in hotel rooms will have a plunger or a toilet brush nearby. They might be hidden from sight in a cupboard for the aesthetic. You can try unclogging the toilet with the plunger. Or the toilet brush by giving the clog another push down the drain.

2) Hot Water

If the clog is caused by too much toilet paper, you can always try unclogging it with hot water. As toilet paper is made to dissolve quickly in water, the hotter the water the quicker the process. So, boil some water in the kettle in the room.

Wait for the water to go down in the toilet before pouring boiling water over the paper clog. You should be able to flush the clog away after letting it sit with the boiling water for a while.

3) Wait for the Water to Go Down

Sometimes the flush power is enough of a push to dislodge the clog. Simply wait for the water in the bowl to go down, then flush again. Try this a few times, and it should work. But this only really works if the toilet bowl is deep enough. If the toilet in your hotel room is quite shallow, this might not be your best bet.

4) Vinegar and Baking Soda

It doesn’t hurt to try a little cleaning magic in situations like these. Simply get hold of some vinegar and baking soda. Which you can find at local supermarkets or grocery stores. Mix the two together in the toilet. The vinegar and baking soda will react together in the toilet to dissolve the clog. Leave them in the bowl for a while and wait for the reaction to take place. Then flush again to get rid of the rest of the clog.


There are a million ways to clog a toilet. But most of these ways you can definitely avoid. Just remember to keep whatever that doesn’t come out of your body away from the toilet. Except for toilet paper of course. As those are designed to be in the toilet.

Calling the hotel front desk is definitely the first thing you should do after finding your toilet clogged. The hotel will be able to deal with the situation professionally with trained staff on hand. This can avoid further damage caused.

Whether to the plumbing system and pipes in the hotel. Or the electrical fixings in your room and the room below. But there are alternatives you can try to unclog a toilet if you don’t feel comfortable telling the hotel about your situation. Just make sure to use these alternatives with caution.