How to use an Auger to Unclog a Toilet + What to do if it won’t go in

If you have a clogged toilet in your home, chances are that you will grab a nearby toilet plunger as the first option to clear the clog. However, the plunger might not always cut the mustard and therefore, you will need an alternative, a toilet auger.

To unclog your toilet using an auger, also known as a closet auger, all you need is to gently insert the auger cable into your drain, spin it as you break through or catch the clog, pull it out, and finally flush to clear the blockage.

Following is a step-by-step guide on how to use a toilet auger plus what to do if it won’t go in the drain.

Steps to unclog a toilet using an Auger

Before starting, wear your gloves and safety goggles to avoid the splashing water which in most cases won’t be clean.

Steps to unblock a toilet drain with an auger
Toilet Auger

1. Get the auger Ready

Extend the crank handle of the auger while retracting the coil into the shaft.

coil head extension
Extending the coil

2. Insert the auger cable

Insert the cable head into the toilet bowl in the drain. The cable of this plumbing tool usually has a curved end that can easily go through the toilet drain. The good news is that it usually has a rubber covering it to ensure that your toilet does not get scratched.

inserting auger in a toilet bowl

The auger housing should help you know if you have inserted it correctly. If you can still see the cable’s end, chances are that you have not inserted it well.

Suggested Reading: Toilet Auger vs Snake

3. Crank the auger handle

Once in the right position, crank and pull the handle towards the shaft/housing of the auger. This action extends the coil head into the toilet U/P trap. The toilet trap is the first section of the toilet drain. It is usually located below the bowl. In most cases clog sets typically in the toilet trap.

Hold the auger housing with one hand and then crank the handle using the other hand. It is advisable that you crank it slowly to avoid potential damage.

 If you apply excessive force, the cable will coil backward instead of moving through the toilet drain.

You might have to crank the handle severally in the reverse direction to make the entire cable move through the toilet. As you do this, you ought to be patient enough and do it in one direction until you feel that the handle is actually tightening.

Rotate the handle until it is fully extended. You will start feeling some resistance when the cable is rotating. This is an indication that you have reached the clog.

The auger head either breaks or catches the clog. As soon as the clog or blockage breaks loose, water should begin to drain from the bowl.

4. Pull out the auger

Pull out the auger cable, once the water from the bowl drains and there no resistance. Rotate it in the opposite direction as you pull it backward.

5. Flush the toilet

Once you have removed the cable, you can now try to flush the toilet to check if it is actually draining effectively.

The toilet should flush be perfect in the first attempt. If not repeat the process two or three times for the toilet to clear.

Once you are done, you can wipe the auger cable and then store it. You should avoid keeping the toilet auger when wet as it might rust in the long run.

If this process does not work, it probably indicates that the clog may be too hard or past the U trap. Seek help from a professional plumber in your local area.

Toilet Auger won’t go in : Causes and Fixes

While attempting to unblock your toilet with an auger, there are situations when the auger won’t go in the drain: it stops or feels like it is stuck somewhere with the drain. This happens because;

  • You are using too much force
  • You have hit a hit a clog that is too hard to break through
  • The bends of in the pipes/drains are stopping it
  • You’re using the auger incorrectly

To make it go in smoothly, first understand how you should use it, be gentle pushing the coil head into the toilet drain. In case of hard clogs disconnect the toilet traps and clean or get help from a plumber.

Essential tips to consider when using the auger

When using the auger, there are several things that you should consider. These include:

1. Be gentle when using the toilet auger

The toilet auger is a blunt force that requires special handling. This is because this plumbing tool can scratch your toilet if it is not used in the right manner. Sometimes, it might even break inside your drain or even toilet. If such happens, you might have to remove the entire toilet to mitigate this situation.

Therefore, when using this plumbing tool, you should let it do the work. Do not force the auger into the blockage as this can be detrimental. Using extra muscle to crank the handle will bind the flexible snake and make the rod to break or even get bound up in the waste line. Apart from this, depending on the design of the toilet auger, it can recoil back and injure you.

2. Clean and dry your auger

Once you finish using the toilet auger, chances are that it might have some debris on it. Ideally, you should not leave it like that. Therefore, you should submerge it in a bucket that is filled with detergent and disinfectant.

Alternatively, you can use hot water, and vinegar of you are looking for a greener solution. However, as you soak the toilet auger in this solution, you should not leave it to soak for long. To be precise, 5 minutes are enough.

Using a toilet brush, scrub the flexible cable and coil at its tip. Here, you should remove any visible dirt. Besides this, you should also clean the insider of the tube with a pipe cleaner.

It is vital that you focus on the bits you can reach with ease. Thereafter, you can rinse the auger in clean, warm water, dry and oil it. Failure to dry or oil the auger can make it rust in the long run.

3. Store it in a dry place

Sorting the auger in a wet or moist area will encourage rusting. Once this plumbing tool rusts, its lifespan will be shortened by a great margin.

Since toilets do not clog each and every day, this tool might remain in the store for longer. If you use this tool when it is rusty, your toilet might get stains.

A toilet auger is a cheap DIY draining tool that can help you get rid of most clogs in the toilet drain without having to spend a lot of money on plumbers.

You can find an auger in most stores especially stores that deal with home improvement tools. The price depends on the length; 6-foot toilet auger costs about $64 while a 3-foot one goes for around $30

If you use this tool in the right manner, you can be sure that your toilet will be functional once again. You can still keep it for future use.

Further Reading on Unclogging Toilets

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