A clogged toilet can be a real headache, especially if you’ve tried plunging and other hacks with no success. The pipe system in a toilet is long and bendy, so if you've got a deep clog that won't come out with regular plunging alone, a toilet auger will help you get the job done. Also known as a toilet snake, this tool has a unique hooked head and crank handle that can reach in and remove even the toughest blockages—as long as you know how to use it properly. This guide will show you exactly how to use a toilet auger to unclog your porcelain throne so you don’t have to worry about calling a pro.
Prepping to Clear a Clog with a Toilet Auger
There are just a handful of things you need to do before using a toilet auger to set yourself up for success.
Determine the Source of the Clog
So you’ve tried plunging again and again with no luck. Before resorting to a toilet auger, determine where the problem lies. Most toilet clogs are caused by excess toilet paper or by objects that shouldn’t have been flushed (tiny toys, for example).
However, some toilet clogs occur because of damage to the sewage line, which is a problem that can only be fixed by a pro. You’ll know the latter is your issue if other plumbing fixtures (like your sink or shower) are also clogged or if brown or discolored water comes out of your faucet. In these cases, hire a local plumber to make sure everything is safely fixed.
If the problem is limited to your toilet, though, try using an auger to unclog it before recruiting a pro.
Clear Your Work Space
Unclogging a toilet can get messy, to say the least, so make sure that your surrounding area is as clear as possible. That way, overspill is easier to mop up, and nothing you love—like a hand-stitched bath mat—is at risk of contamination.
Getting an auger is easy—a good one costs less than $100, and some can be found for under $10, though you can also rent one from your local hardware store if you’d rather not have to worry about storing this additional tool. Daily rates to rent an auger range from $35 to $45 on average.