How to Unclog a Toilet with a Snake

There are endless possibilities as to why your toilet is clogged. From the accumulation of debris such as sanitary towels and wet wipes to stuck unflushable items such as pens, plastics, toys, and large bar soaps. Sometimes, it could even be a plumbing issue.

A snake is one of the tools you can use when it comes to unblocking your lavatory. You should give it a try before hiring a pro plumber, who of course won’t smile when payment time comes.

This tool comes designed with a shaft and a crank which maneuver through the drain until you locate the cause of the blockage. Following is an in-depth guide on steps to unclog using a plumbing snake both the manual and electric version.

Unclogging Toilet with Snake

You will need the following;

  • Rubber gloves
  • Cleaning bucket
  • Household detergent or bleach
  • Plumber’s snake/ auger
Plumbing snake
Plumbing snake


Step 1: Assembly and Preparations

Put together all the essential items you will need to unclog the toilet. Head to the hardware store and ask for a toilet snake with a rubber hose and a crank so you can use it effectively. For some areas, you can simply rent out the tool and return it as soon as you’re done.

Step 2: Unclogging

The next step is to put on your protective attire and hold up the snake in the right position. The cable should be the leading end that gets into the toilet. Position it to get into the drain as you slow crank it to reach the back.

The appropriate rotation is clockwise so steadily unwound into the drain. You’ll know you’ve arrived at the clog when the snake can’t crank anymore. Once you feel some pressure or resistance, crank the toilet snake in the opposite direction (anti-clockwise) to remove the cause of the clog.

This is the longest step as you’ll need to repeat the cranking in and out as you remove whatever material is clogging the toilet. Once you remove the unwanted items, place them in the container or bucket for easy disposal.

Step 3: Alternative Unclogging

In some cases, pulling out the debris may seem too much work so the best option is to push the dirt to enable it to go down the drain, allowing you to flush. You simply need to jiggle the clogged area gently with the auger, retract, and repeat until you’ve pushed through.

Once the unclogging is done, retract the toilet snake and place it inside your bucket awaiting cleanup. At this point, you can flush the toilet to see if there’s still some resistance due to clogging. Leave the flapper for a full flush.

Step 4: Cleaning Up

The final step is to clean up the toilet to get rid of any skunk or dirt that may come up because of unclogging – especially if you were retrieving the debris from inside the toilet and into the bucket.

Use the household detergent to thoroughly clean the toilet, as well as the bucket used to empty the debris. Do a final rinse with bleach and hot water to disinfect the bowl and the bucket. You can do the same for the auger before storage or returning it if you took it on a lease.

Further Reading: Toilet Auger vs Snake

How to Unclog With Electric Snake

An electric auger works the same way as a manual toilet snake but it’s powered by electric power. . This type will not require any cranking up or manipulation to get inside the drain, you simply press forward and backward and it’s done. Some will require a drill to run while others have an inbuilt power mortar.

One of the most popular e-snake is the Tacklife 20 ft drain snake

How to electric snake to unclog toilet
Tackline Power Drain Snake

Materials Needed

  • Rubber gloves
  • Bucket
  • Cleaning equipment – rags and household  cleaners
  • Electric snake


Step 1: Assembly and Preparations

Gather all the items you’ll need for the job. Place your bucket close and rag close to the toilet to cater to the splashing that’ll occur once the powered auger starts unclogging. Also, ensure you have access to electricity – obviously.

Step 2: Unclogging

Connect your snake to a power source and insert the head into the toilet drain to begin the process of unclogging. Before you start head-on with this step, it’s is recommended that you prepare the drain. This means that you can try loosening up the debris so the powered snake won’t be doing much pushing.

Start off by adding a drain cleaner to the loo and leaving it for about 15 minutes to half an hour. You can also try unplugging the toilet to see if the debris will loosen up from the drain. Pouring hot water with a solution like dish soap or bleach/ vinegar is also an option.

If the area has been prepped, insert the head into the drain until the elbow section is completely inside. Click the forward button to activate the snake to colt through the drain. You should feel some resistance. Power through until you arrive at the blockage, here now the snake will push the blockage further down the drain as a whole or disentangle.

Step 3: Testing and Cleanup

Once the drain is unclogged, press the reverse button on the electric snake to pull it out of the drain so you can commence testing. You’ll need to flush the toilet to confirm that the blockage is actually gone. It the flush is complete, now take your toilet cleaners and wash out the area.

Use some bleach, hot water, and a disinfectant to wash down any debris you could have brought up. Thoroughly scrub the toilet and the toilet snake as you also rinse it down with hot water.

The auger has to be clean and scent-free before to return it much to the store. Wipe the rest of the bathroom to remove any splashed water.


  • Working with the electric snake can be messy so ensure you wear enough Protective attires.
  • While retrieving the electric snake, be gentle to avoid pulling out any debris, or getting it entangled up while still in the drain.
  • Gently insert/remove the snake to avoid scratches on the bowl
  • Purchasing an electric auger is very expensive, you best lease it for the job.

How to Unclog Without a Snake

If, for whatever reason, you don’t want to use the snake to unclog the toilet, there are various other options you can use.

Option 1: A Wire Coat Hanger

Its thin, metallic, and sturdier than any other household item. You’ll need to unwind the coat hanger from its ordinary look into a long wire enough to fit into the drain. You can opt for a completely straight hanger or bent a bit into a hook to avoid damaging the inside of the drain. 

Pull in the hanger as further back as possible until you reach the blockage, continue as if you’re using a snake to unclog the toilet.

Option 2: Dish Soap And Half A Bucket Of Hot Water

This specific method acts as a drain cleaner, you’ll not be getting your hands dirty from having to push something into the drain. Simply take a bucket of hot water, add some dish soap in the water and in the toilet. Pour down the hot water into the drain as you wait for the clog to clear out.

The process is not guaranteed but you can repeat as many times as you want. Probably use a bar soap so there’s enough time for it to dissolve as it works on the drain.

Option 3: Baking Soda And Vinegar

This method is extremely common with washing the sink area in the kitchen. You pour your entire box of baking soda inside the toilet as to slowly add in the vinegar. Some foam may come up but that’s just the reaction.  Allow the mixture to sit for some time the flush the toilet.

Option 4: Drain Cleaning Chemicals

The next method is using store-bought drain cleaners. The DIY methods above may not suit your style, so simply head out to the store and look for the lost aggressive drain cleaner. Add it to the toilet and let it sit to soften the blockage. After about half an hour, flush the toilet, you should see some results.

Option 5: The Plunger

Back to the original method of using the plunger. About 80 to 90% of the time, the plunger always gets the job done. You simply need to suction the drain in a consistent manner with some bit of force to disentangle the blockage.

Since there are different types of plungers, go for one that fits your toilet drain perfectly. It’ll offer the right force required to get the job done.

Check the links below for details on using the method mentioned above

Further Reading on Unclogging Toilets

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