The toilet auger is the secret weapon of any plumber that knows their business. It’s a toilet-saver even in the most hopeless situations. Many homeowners aren’t aware of its existence and end up paying good money for a stranger to use a tool that costs up to 50 bucks. In the toilet business, we call that the cost of a lack of knowledge.
Some of the other perks of owning your toilet auger, besides the functionality, is the self-satisfaction it gives the regular person after successfully fixing the toilet at just a fraction of the plumber’s cost. Nothing will make you feel more like a handyman than fixing a nightmarish clog that leaves your household members stumped. But that’s enough daydreaming, time to unclog a toilet.
What Is a Toilet Auger
A toilet auger is a fancy toilet snake that can clear clogs jammed in the depths of the toilet. Like most toilet or drain snakes, the auger has a handle that is cranked to turn a flexible metal cable that can dislodge even the most stubborn clogs.
The toilet auger cable is outfitted with a rubber sleeve which protects the inside of your toilet from scratches. It’s especially handy if you have a porcelain toilet that a regular toilet snake or coat hanger can damage. The cable fits through the metal tube; the cable tips work like a hand drill to bore through the clog in the toilet.
As the instrument is designed to handle poop and other disgusting items down in the drain, you might think it’s stinky, sticky, and generally a nuisance for storage, but that’s not the case. Toilet augers are meant to be submerged in water; you can thoroughly clean them after every use in your bathtub or backyard.
You don’t need anything but your two hands to operate the toilet auger. Drain tools can pick up toxic bacteria from the bottom of the toilet or pipes, so wearing a pair of protective goggles and elbow-height rubber gloves is a must.
How to Use a Toilet Auger
The first step would be to pull the auger handle all the way up so that the cable is as close as possible to the end of the metal tube.
The second step is to insert the auger into the toilet. The tube is often curved so that you can place it in the toilet with ease, and the rubber sleeve will prevent any damage to the bowl.
You shouldn’t be able to see the end of the cable as it goes beneath the toilet bowl. The only visible parts of the auger should be the metal tube and the handle.
The third step is to start cranking the handle. Use one hand to hold the auger firmly, and use your other hand to crank the auger gently and allow the cable to do its job. Be slow and steady, as using too much force might make the cable double back on itself instead of moving down the drain. In order to make the cable reach a bit further down the drain, you might need to reverse the motion of the crank a few times in a left-right manner.
Crank the auger in one direction until the cable stops feeding, and then switch to the other direction to feed the cable until the handle is tight against the metal tube. Rotate the cable a couple of times until it reaches its maximum extension length, and you should be able to feel when the cable reaches the clog. The clog might be in the flange or go deeper down the pipes. Usually, you feel the cable hitting something solid, and you know that you’ve reached the clog.
Once you’ve forced the cable through the clog, simply pull it back from the toilet by rotating the handle and pulling it backward. It’s similar to catching a fish, except you’re fishing for clogs. When the tip of the cable comes close to the metal tube, remove the entire tool from the toilet. If you remove the auger without cranking the cable, you risk splashes with parts of the clog.
To check whether you’ve done a good job, flush the toilet and see what happens. In most cases, the dismantled clog will go down the drain, but you should flush it a couple of times to make sure. If your toilet is not flushing properly, repeat the auger cranking action.
For a Smooth Flushing Experience…
While the toilet auger works wonders in dismantling toilet clogs, the best way to handle clogs is to prevent them. The simplest way is to invest in a toilet wastebasket where you can discard items that are not really meant to be flushed. The most common culprits for causing toilet clogs are wet wipes, tissue papers, kitchen towels, condoms, tampons, and other items.