How to Use a Toilet Auger 

Toilet augers are used for many things and are much more versatile than you may imagine. Of course, everyone’s first line of defense when a toilet gets clogged is to use a plunger. However, that may not always work for what you are dealing with.

A toilet auger allows you to get deeper into the toilet and resolve the problem easier with less work. The main difference is that this mechanism has a center flange that will seal this tool to the drain of the toilet so that it works far more efficiently than a traditional plunger.

If you are here you are most likely confused about how exactly to use the tool. Don’t worry, though, this article will outline the exact process.

So keep on reading!

How to Use a Toilet Auger 

What Is a Toilet Auger and When Should It Be Used?

A toilet auger goes by many different names. One of the common ones is the plumbing snake. As such, you might have to search for different things on the Internet to find all the details you need to know about this tool. Luckily, this article should give you a good overview and hopefully be a one-stop-solution.

A toilet auger is a stand-alone tool that is able to move through the train of the toilet so that it can disburse obstructions that may be within the drain. This is done with a fairly long (although there are different sizes) metal shaft that is connected to a mechanism, normally a hand crank.

With this, you are able to push the metal shaft into the drain of the toilet and normally through obstructions that might be there as well. This will then work to break up the clog that is within your toilet and it does it far more effectively than a plunger.

You may have already figured out when using a toilet auger is necessary but just for verification here it is.

When you go to use a plunger for a toilet clog it may not work and you may feel very defeated and have no idea what to do next. Luckily, this is exactly what this tool was created for!

This works like a drain snake that you may have used on clogged sinks or even a clogged shower. The same concept is used with a toilet auger. However, the toilet auger is far gentler than a drain snake so that it will not scratch up the toilet bowl.

If this sounds like something that would work for you at this moment you just aren’t sure how to use it then just keep on reading.

How to Use a Toilet Auger: A Step-by-Step Guide

We are not getting into the step-by-step instructions for how to use this useful tool.

Step #1: Prepare the Area

Step one is to ensure that you are being as sanitary as possible which I am sure you appreciate when working with a toilet. This first step is to simply make sure that anything you absolutely don’t want toilet water on is not near the toilet. Although the process should not splatter there is a chance that toilet water will come out while using the auger.

Also during this step, to ensure your own hygiene it is best to get a good set of gloves on. This will just help you protect your hands and might even help you get a better grip on the tool.

Step #2: Insert the Auger

Inserting the toilet auger may seem like the easiest step but you must do it correctly to ensure that your auger will work well and that you won’t damage the toilet bowl.

The first step is to pull the handle as far up as possible. This will make sure that the end of the metal shaft is as close as possible to the curved end of the toilet auger. By making sure it is as close as possible it will help to feed the metal part into the drain much, much easier.

After this, you will simply push the curved end of the auger into the toilet until you cannot see the end of the shaft. This will ensure that it is in all the way and that you will properly be able to unclog your toilet with it.

Step #3: Break Up the Clogging

Just as most drain snakes work the toilet auger also rotates within the drain so that it can clean any obstructions by doing a screw-like action. Based on where most of the clogs happen in residential toilets the auger will be able to get past that area in the drain. This was done so that almost all clogs could be fixed by the simple use of a toilet auger.

One hand should always be holding the toilet auger firmly so that it stays in place. Once again this will help to protect your toilet bowl from getting scratched up.

The other hand will be working on the crank handle of the auger. As you move this you should go slowly. If you crank the auger too fast it may mess up rather than going further into the drain as you want it to.

As you crank the auger handle you may feel it stop. At this point, it is best to crank the opposite way for just a little bit and then return to cranking the other way. This will help to break up the obstruction even more so.

Luckily, you will be able to feel when the toilet auger is fully extended. At this point, it is best to rotate it back and forth a few times to ensure that the entire obstruction is out of the way.

Step #4: Remove the Auger

Once you believe you have cleared the clog you can start rotating the metal shaft back towards you so that it goes back into the toilet auger mechanism.

Once that is done simply pull the auger out of the toilet and try to flush it.

If it flushes successfully then you were able to get rid of the clog!

Tips & Tricks

To make the entire process easier, make sure to keep in mind the below tips and tricks as well:

  • Remove any viable debris first, this will ensure you are doing all you can to remove the clog.
  • Figure out where the clog is coming from, is it a sewer clog or a toilet clog? This will help set you up for success.
  • Wiggle the toilet auger around while cranking it into the toilet. This will help to break up any of the more difficult to break debris.
  • Put dish soap into the toilet while using the auger. Dish soap has the right chemical configuration to break through some debris.

What to do if Even a Toilet Auger Doesn’t Unclog Your Toilet

If the toilet auger fails to help you unclog your toilet then you may be dealing with a clog deeper in the sewer system, not just your toilet. This may mean that calling a plumber is inevitable.

Keep in mind that trying to unclog a deeper clog yourself could result in you messing up your toilet or the drain.


When a regular plunger won’t fix a clogged toilet, an auger may be a necessary tool to use. Luckily, with the right directions, it’s not that difficult.

Most of the time a toilet auger will do the trick, however, if it doesn’t it is time to call a plumber to avoid further issues with your plumbing or toilet drain.