Your toilet is clogged. You’ve tried using a plunger. You’ve tried flushing it a dozen times, but it still won’t work. Luckily, there is a method that you can use before calling the plumber. Toilet clogging is caused by too much waste in general or by being flushed with non-flushable items like feminine hygiene products.This article will explain how to snake your toilet in 10 easy steps.
Image source: Pixabay
Before you get started, make sure you have the proper equipment for the job. All you will need for this job are some rubber gloves, a bucket, and a plumber’s toilet auger. These augers can be purchased from a hardware store or even rented if available at your nearby Home Depot.
A toilet auger has a cable that is rotated by the handle. This is different from a regular drain auger because it comes attached with a hollowed tube connected to the elbow fitting with rubber. The rubber on the auger protects the porcelain from scratching, which a regular auger will not do.
A hand crank is also attached to the toilet auger and is used to feed it through the toilet drain. The end of the cable on the auger is the sturdy part that will actually dislodge the clog once it reaches it.
How to Snake a Toilet in 10 Easy Steps
Put the bucket on one side of the toilet. This will be used for cleaning up any mess made from the auger so as not to get it on the bathroom floor, and for possibly any debris that gets stuck on the cable end of the auger.
Once your gloves are on and you’re familiar with the auger tool, position the end of the tool into the bottom of the toilet.
Place one hand on the bar of the auger and the other on the crank end of the tool.
Begin cranking the auger gently in a clockwise motion. If you do this with too much force or too fast, it can cause the cable end to not going through the toilet’s drain properly.
Once you’re unable to crank the auger tool anymore, this means the cable end has found the blockage. Rotate the cable several times to begin clearing the clog in the drain.
After the cable has broken its way through the clog, crank it backward to remove it.
Once you have removed the cable end from the toilet’s drain, try flushing the toilet to see if the clog is fully cleared. If it does flush, skip step 8.
Repeat the process if the toilet is still not flushing properly.
Once the clog has dissipated, remove the auger tool, and place the cable end into the bucket. Clean this with a bleach or cleaning solution to remove any unsightly mess. Dry the auger tool is also important afterward so as not to let it rust.
Make sure you wash your hands and store the auger away carefully for the next time your toilet encounters a clog.
Why You Shouldn’t Use a Drain Auger
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If you have a regular drain snake or drain cable, this is not ideal to use on your toilet. These are usually not long enough to reach the clog, and it can also scratch up your toilet. This leaves unsightly marks everywhere on the porcelain.
Another reason why you should stay away from using a regular drain auger to snake a toilet is that it is possible for these to get tangled inside of the toilet drain. This can happen since the diameter of a toilet drain is larger than a regular kitchen or bathroom sink drain.
Avoid Chemical Drain Cleaners
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Although it is easier and more convenient to just pour a drain cleaner down the toilet and hope that it clears the clog, it is not ideal in the long run.
First, the chemicals and fumes that are in these cleaners are terrible for your lungs. If you have small children in your household, these aren’t good to have around at all.
Sometimes when one chemical drain cleaner doesn’t work, people are likely to buy another one to try for the same clog. This causes the chemical agents to mix, and a negative reaction can occur, possibly even an explosion. This would ruin more than just your toilet, and it wouldn’t even clear up the clog.
Drain cleaners are also terrible for the environment and the state of the greenhouse gas effect. They contain chemicals that contribute to Earth’s air pollution.
Lastly, chemical drain cleaners are not ideal for sustaining the quality of your drains and pipes. These cleaners are unable to tell the difference between the debris that is stuck in your toilet and the actual pipes, and they tend to eat away at everything. PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipes are the most likely to be susceptible to damage by chemical drain cleaners.
It’s always best to try a manual toilet auger instead. That way, you know no harm can come to your pipes if you’re careful, and the clog is more likely to be cleared.
What if the Toilet Auger Doesn’t Work?
If even snaking the toilet with the toilet auger doesn’t clear the clog or blockage inside your toilet’s drain, it would be time for more drastic measures: calling a plumber.
Although it is not very common for a clog to be too dense or too large for snaking a toilet auger, it is possible. If you have constantly tried working the auger down the drain and nothing is happening, the clog might just be too difficult for the auger to handle.
This is an uncommon occurrence since the toilet auger works most of the time on toilet clogs, but if this is the case for you, a plumber would need to come by to search for another location to clear the clog from and possibly do a full pipe or drain clean-out.
Risks of Snaking a Toilet
If you’re not careful and do not crank the toilet auger slowly, you could be risking damage to your pipes, which would then call for a pipe replacement.
Another risk is the potential for scratching the porcelain on the toilet. If you purchase or rent the correct auger, the toilet auger, this should not be a problem. The toilet auger comes with a plastic coating near the table to prevent scratching from occurring.
Lastly, if you’re unsure as to why the toilet is clogged, it is always a risk sticking metal equipment down a drain.
Especially if it turns out that your pipes are corroded or rusting, the auger tool could scratch against these pipes and add to the current blockage. Also, just because the toilet is flushing, that does not necessarily mean the toilet is fully unclogged.
If you’re uncomfortable with using a toilet auger, it never hurts to call a plumber just in case. But of course, it is cheaper to be able to clear a toilet’s clog on your own.
What If Your Toilet Keeps Clogging?
Your toilet may continuously clog because you’re flushing something that should not be flushed, such as tampons, tissues, paper towel, cotton balls, condoms, diapers, or q-tips.
Another reason could be the flapper inside the tank of the toilet. The flapper is the part of the toilet that opens and closes when you press the handle down to flush and let it go.
It is connected to a small chain, and sometimes you just need to adjust that chain to fix the clogging problem since it’s causing a weaker flush.
If the flapper is completely broken, you will need to replace the entire flapper. Broken flappers also contribute to leaks and wasted water supply because of tears in the material. These can be found and purchased online or in any hardware or plumbing store.
Sometimes, as toilets are used more frequently and get older over the years, they lose their flushing power. Many older houses still have the toilets that were there when the house was built, so it is best to replace it with a more modern, updated toilet as to avoid any more clogs.
Another scenario that could be causing frequent toilet clogging is that there’s something immovable stuck in the S-shaped tube inside the toilet.
This object could be several things, two being either a toothbrush or a hair comb. When you continuously flush while this object is lodged inside S tube, more debris just gets trapped around it.
This issue can only be fixed by removing the toilet off of the floor. Screwdrivers and wrenches are needed for this job. If you don’t have the necessary tools, this particular issue would need to be fixed by a plumber.
Baking Soda and Vinegar Method
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There is one more method that you can try if the auger did not work for your toilet. Before calling a plumber, try the baking soda and vinegar method. This uses a little bit of chemistry to get that pesky clog removed.
Ensure that the water level inside the toilet tank is halfway or more. If not, add some hot water to fill it up more. Next, pour one cup of baking soda directly into the toilet bowl. Afterward, slowly start pouring one cup of vinegar.
If you pour in the vinegar too quickly, it can cause the water to fizz and spilled over the sides of the toilet bowl.
Let the fizzing concoction you just made sit for about 20 minutes, and then try flushing the toilet. For more difficult clogs, you can also leave the baking soda and vinegar mix in the toilet overnight, as well as adding a cup of boiled kettle water into the toilet bowl.
If this does not work, it’s best to move on to snaking the toilet with a toilet auger as detailed above.
This is a much better alternative to buying a chemical drain cleaner, and it is a good idea to try this home remedy before renting a toilet auger from the hardware store.
Conclusion for How to Snake a Toilet?
The toilet auger is the way you should go if a regular plunger or any other tricks, such as the baking soda and vinegar method, are not working.
Nobody likes dealing with a clogged toilet, especially at inconvenient times such as the holidays. A toilet auger is a great thing to have on hand for those just-in-case moments.
The task of clearing a clogged toilet can be daunting at first, but if you follow the steps of how to snake a toilet, listed in this article word-for-word, you will have a perfectly flushable toilet in no time!
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