How To Snake a Toilet? (6 Steps)
Dealing with a clogged toilet is really annoy you and your whole family. Especially with children in the home, it is almost inevitable. At times, you can unclog just by using a plunger, but what if the plunger alone doesn't fix the problem? If you have tried a plunger, a hot-water flush or even a homemade baking soda solution and things still are not flowing like they should. Then this is the time when you probably need to summon the snake (also known as a plumber’s auger).
What it is?
This highly effective tool features a long metal cable with a coiled hook at the tip, perfect for dredging unwanted material from your toilet that have become impacted in narrow pipes. The snake’s unique design allows it to flex and infiltrate the tricky curves of the toilet’s lower plumbing, which is beyond the reach of conventional tools. It looks like a snake so it named exactly what is look like.
But that does not necessarily mean calling a pro, however. You can rent a snake specifically made for the task at hand from your local hardware store for about $10 to $15 per day (far more affordable than even the most reasonable $50-an-hour plumber’s fee). To snake a toilet successfully, you will need to use certain tools, materials, and procedures.
Tips: Make sure you DO NOT use any kind of chemicals before using the auger/snake. If you put a chemical into the toilet, using the auger after that can make the chemical splash back on you and will get the chemical on the auger. Try the auger/snake before trying other methods
What you will need?
– Rubber gloves
– Plumber’s toilet auger (“snake”)
– Toilet plunger
– Widemouthed bucket or container for wastewater
– Household bleach or vinegar
We just mentioned about some materials or tools that you might need for you process. Snaking itself is easy and only requires one simple movement, but it is important that you know how to properly dispose of the extracted materials, keep your workspace clean and protect your pipes. Simply do as the following steps to learn how to snake a toilet and simply flush the problem away. Let’s take a closer look!
Step 1: Determine the cause of the Clog.
If you find that the water in your toilet is not flow out into the drain as usual, the first step should be to try plunging. If water is present in your toilet bowl, try plunging without flushing the toilet as it could very well cause your toilet to overflow onto the bathroom floor. If plunging is successful and the water begins draining you may have solved the problem. But what if the toilet bowl water continues to back up? Try to determine what may be causing the obstruction. The most obvious and usually most successful way is to ask members of your family (especially the kid) if they attempted to flush things down the toilet, such as toys.
Step 2: Get a best snake.
Come to your favorite hardware store to find out the most suitable one for your toilet. Check and familiarize yourself with its mechanics before using it. The snake housed within a thin rubber hose and it has an angled handle that also acts as a crank on one end and the other end goes into the toilet bowl. Be sure you get one with a smaller turning head. Otherwise, you risk breaking a drain pipe. Begin with the small snake head, only moving to a larger one if you are unable to unclog your toilet. Be sure to take care in the way you use it. Do not push it or turn it too forcibly. Also, be sure you get a drain snake that is mean for toilets (not kitchen sinks) or the auger could end up scratching the porcelain bowl.
Tips: An electric auger would attach to your power drill, but manual augers are usually successful for this job and cost far less to rent
Step 3: Starting your snake.
To start using your snake, put on the rubber gloves and place a large empty bucket or waterproof container next to the toilet. Put the end of the snake into the toilet. Unwind three or four feet of cable from the winding spindle and place the snake head into the opening at the bottom of the toilet bowl. At the end of the snake is a curved hook, which will help break up and grab debris that has accumulated in the pipes. Water in the toilet bowl will help flush away any pieces that end up breaking loose from the clog, so if there is no water, pour some in before you continue and do not flush.
Now, begin turning the snake handle in a clockwise motion. Turn the handle slowly but firmly at first, until you feel it begin to bind. If it doesn’t turn, pull the snake back a little ways and quarter turn the handle counterclockwise and try again. As you turn it, the snake should find its way down the drain pipe without you forcing it. Keep turning the crank until it stops and you have reached the clog.
Step 4: Breaking the clog.
Pull back slightly on the snake as much of the clog as you can. When the snake head makes it way along the drainpipe and comes in contact with the clog, you will feel the resistance that against you to turning the handle, it likely means you’ve hooked the source. When it happens, wind the snake back in the opposite direction to bring the unwanted material back to the surface. You will likely bring up debris from the clog, allowing you to see what was causing it. If you pull some debris out, the clog will also likely begin to break apart. Remove it from the bowl and dispose of it in the bucket. Try working the snake head back down the drain to the clog again, turning the handle to break loose more of the clog. Again, wind the snake back when you meet resistance. Always pull out the clog rather than trying force it deeper into the pipe. Pushing the clog further in may end up making the problem worse, as eventually it can get so deep that you can no longer reach it. Repeat this process until the pipe is completely unobstructed.
Always make sure to sanitize your snake after each use. This can be accomplished by rinsing the snake off outside with a garden hose. You can also leave the end of the snake in the toilet for a few flushes after you've added toilet bowl cleaner.
If you are unable to pull out the clog out entirely, attempt to break it up enough so that it will flush down. Crank the cable as far as it will go, jiggle it lightly, retract and repeat several times. Once you are able to move it farther and more freely than you were when you started, you have breached the clog.
Step 5: Cleaning up
Cover the floor around the toilet. Lay down a couple of towels to protect the floor. It is possible that water may splash out of the toilet bowl as the snake works on the clog. This water will often become dingy as whatever is causing the clog disintegrates and leeches back through the pipes. Covering the floor can keep you from having to deal with a second mess later on.
If you are using a towel, wash it right after you are finished and wipe down the floor beneath with a disinfecting solution. Pull on a pair of rubber gloves to provide a barrier between your bare skin and whatever muck you may find on the other end of the snake. Toilets are full of germs, and if you do not take proper care to protect your hands and keep them clean, the result may be illness and infection. Throw the gloves away when you are finished and wash your hands for a full minute with antibacterial soap and hot water.
Have a trash bag or a plastic grocery bag makes a perfect means of disposal. You have managed to pull out the clog that is been blocking the pipe, but now what do you do with it? Rather than trying to flush it again and risk creating a new problem, have a trash bag or bucket on hand that you can put the icky clog material into. That way, you can simply drop the bag in the garbage or give the bucket a good rinse and carry on with your day. After you drop the offending clog inside, tie off the bag and throw it in the trash.
Step 6: Testing again
To prevent the possibility of overflow when you flush, remove the tank lid and manually stop the flapper from releasing too much water into the bowl. This is a two-handed procedure: With your less-dominant hand, flush the toilet as usual and close the flapper, the 2 or 3-inch rubber disc attached to a chain inside your tank with your dominant hand to prevent the bowl from filling up too high. Once you’re sure the clog is gone, flush again while leaving the flapper alone.
Flush the pipes with toilet cleaner. When the job is done, plunge the toilet a few times to get rid of any remnants of the clog. Next, pour some concentrated toilet bowl cleaner into the toilet and give it a couple flushes. The chemicals in toilet cleaning solutions are potent enough to dissolve and whisk away whatever residual debris remains in the pipes. A homemade declogging solution made from vinegar and baking soda can also work wonders on clearing out your pipes after they have been snaked. Simply pour about a cup of baking soda into the bowl and add two cups of vinegar, wait about 10 minutes and flush.
Then, clean up the bucket and the auger with very hot water and bleach or vinegar before returning it to the store.
Tips: Only use cleaners that are intended for toilets. Regular drain cleaners can eat through galvanized plumbing pipes and wreak havoc on septic systems.
Avoiding toilet clogs in the future
You may be able to save yourself the trouble of a repeat performance by being careful about what you put in the toilet. Before putting anything in the toilet, make sure that it is meant to be there. The list of things that is okay to flush down the toilet is pretty short: in most cases, human waste and toilet paper only. Any other items namely paper towels, Kleenex tissues, makeup pads, tampons, condoms, cardboard, hair or any other materials that aren’t easily dissolved by flushing them must never be flushed. You’ll just be setting yourself up for inconvenience (and possibly expensive plumbing repairs) later on. If you have particularly old or sensitive pipes, you will need to consider switching to a lighter ply brand of toilet paper to help keep things moving along.
Reduce the amount of toilet paper you use. Most clogs are caused by a buildup of excess toilet paper that gets stuck in the pipes before it has time to completely break down. Be aware of the amount of toilet paper you flush on a regular basis and see that you only use as much as you need. If you have multiple bathrooms in your home, try using a different one from time to time so that one toilet’s plumbing isn’t constantly getting overworked.
Identify the problem early. The best way to avoid a clog is to take note when you suspect one might be building up. If the water level in your toilet seems low or it has trouble flushing or refills slowly, there may be an obstruction throttling the water flow somewhere. Use a plunger to dislodge clogs before they get bad enough that you have to use the snake.
Keep the toilet and pipes clean. Make sure that you are cleaning your toilet at least once or twice a month. Use chemicals specifically formulated for use in toilets and pay attention to any signs that suggest a clog might be forming. As has already been mentioned, chemical cleaners will help melt down stubborn clots of toilet paper and other gunk that’s become lodged in the pipes. Besides that, it will keep the place where you do your business fresh and pleasant.
We have mentioned all the steps to help you snake a toilet like a professional plumber. From now on, you can use it in your DIY project (Do It Yourself). It is not just help you to saving your money but it also turning you to a professional plumber in your own house. We hope that we are successful to make you widen your knowledge about your toilet. Last but not least, keep in mind the important things we have mentioned above to make your toilet is the best one. If you have anything to ask or to add, feel free to comment in the section below and we will answer you one by one!
Read more: "Things To Consider When Buying An Automatic Toilet"