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How to Snake a Toilet Effectively: 5 Tips & Tricks

man snaking a toilet

A clogged toilet is probably one of the worst things to experience as a homeowner, especially if you have a full house. It’s not only inconvenient but could also pose a health hazard. So, knowing how to unclog a toilet is a skill every homeowner needs.

You could get a plumber to fix that issue asap before stuff starts coming up the drain, but what if you’re not in a position to? If you don’t know how to do that yet or need to hone the skill, this article is for you.

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What Is Snaking a Toilet?

A toilet snake or auger is a plumbing tool mostly used to remove or break down any clogs that may be caught in pipes or drains. Unlike most plumbing tools, it has a unique design that enables it to flex in narrow spaces.

Snaking a toilet refers to using this tool to get into the toilet pipe and break down or remove the object causing the clog and opening it up. It is a fairly easy process that only requires a simple technique. Basically, if you can grab the snake firmly and flex it effectively, you’ll get the job done!

The vital part when it comes to snaking a toilet is knowing how to remove and dispose of the extracted matter. Most of the time, this matter may be dirty and hazardous. So, always ensure that you have a container next to you that you can put the debris in. After that, you should dispose of the container or clean and disinfect it.

Plumber snaking
Plumber snaking (Image Credit: Walter Siegmund, Wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0)

Parts of a Toilet Snake

Knowing the different parts of an auger and how they work is the first step in using this tool correctly. Lucky for you, this hand tool has few parts, making it fairly easy to operate.

These parts include:
  • Metal cable with a rotating handle
  • Long tube with a smooth angle on the bottom
  • Rubber sleeve

divider 4 The 5 Tips & Tricks to Snake a Toilet

If you don’t have access to a plunger or if it hasn’t worked, it might be time to bring in the auger. When done correctly, this tool works efficiently in removing the clog and can take a very short time. If this is something you want to learn, here’s a quick overview of the tips and tricks you can apply to snake your toilet effectively without having to call in a plumber.

1. Make Your Own Toilet Snake

plumber uses sewer snake
Image By: Hanna Taniukevich, Shutterstock

A toilet snake can cost anywhere between $15–$100, which might not be affordable for everyone. Not to mention that a clogged toilet will not wait for you to get it delivered, which might take one or two days. A trip to the store might also be too long, especially if you share the toilet with others.

If that’s the case, no need to worry, you can make your own toilet snake from a coat hanger. Simply take the hanger apart until you’re left with a long metallic strip while retaining the curve at the end so it can hook the debris in the toilet. Depending on how narrow your toilet drain is, you might have to make the hook curve a little narrower by squeezing it so it can fit.

However, this will only work with a simple clog. You might have to call a plumber or get the snake if you are dealing with a more significant clog.

2. Pour Some Hot Water Down the Toilet

boiling water pot
Image Credit: music4life, Pixabay

While this tip might sound a bit too much, pouring hot water down the toilet before snaking it has been shown to help. Adding a little dish soap to the hot water also goes a long way in helping get rid of toilet clogs.

Wait a few minutes, give the clog some time to soften, and then flush your toilet. Most clogs will break down, and you might not have to use the snake; if they don’t, snaking will only take a short time.

However, this tip only works if your toilet bowl is not full. Otherwise, it could overflow and flood the bathroom.

3. Use the Auger Correctly

plumber unclogging toilet
Image Credit: David Spates, Shutterstock

Most people make the mistake of not learning how to use the auger correctly since it’s a simple tool. Contrary to popular belief, there is a right way to use this tool, and following the right steps will give you great results within a shorter time.

To do so, you should:
  • Insert the end with the metallic cable into the toilet bowl and push down the toilet drain.
  • Turn the metallic handle in the clockwise direction. This enables the cable to go all the way through. If the handle cranks and can’t turn anymore, stop, remove it and try again.
  • Retract the cable slowly by turning the handle in the opposite direction; this enables you to grab the clog, after which you can try to break it down or remove it.
  • Check the water level to ascertain that you have succeeded in removing all the debris or breaking it down.
  • Flush the toilet to confirm that it is working normally.
  • Clean both the toilet and auger correctly; make sure you disinfect.

4. Use Chemicals

liquid toilet unclogger
Image Credit: Rolandas Grigaitis, Shutterstock

If, after using the snake, you still can break down or remove the clog, consider using chemicals. Caustic soda (Sodium Hydroxide) is strong enough to break almost all the debris that ends up in your toilet drain pipe.

Simply pour ¾ a gallon of cold water into a bucket, add 3 cups of Sodium Hydroxide and stir the mixture well until it starts to fizz. Pour the mixture into the toilet and leave it for around 30 minutes, after which you should flush with warm water. You can get the warm water from the bathroom sink for easier access.

5. Make Concoctions From Your Kitchen

baking soda and vinegar
Image Credit: focal point, Shutterstock

If you don’t have access to Sodium Hydroxide, you can use basic items in your kitchen cabinet to aid in unclogging your toilet drain. Simply add half a cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar to hot water, stir, and pour it down the drain.

Leave it for around 15 minutes to see what happens. Most homeowners swear by this method. It’s also quite easy, and quite cheap too.

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Safety Considerations

Wear gloves; this goes without saying. You should never handle any toilet cleaning without wearing gloves first.

The best type of gloves to wear is rubber gloves. Not only do they not tear easily, but you can also reuse these gloves several times. If you are afraid of getting toilet water or chemical fumes in your eyes, consider wearing safety goggles too.

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Final Thoughts

If you try all the tips and tricks above and your toilet drain is still clogged, it might be time to call in the professionals. Most plumbers have a drill-activated snake that is sure to get the job done. Just be ready to part with around $100–$275, but first, verify that your plumber has experience unblocking a toilet before proceeding with them.

Featured Image Credit: David Spates, Shutterstock


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