A Step-by-Step Guide To Clearing Your Drain Using A Snake

When faced with a clogged toilet, it might seem like nothing short of a plumber’s intervention could solve the problem. However, learning how to snake a toilet by yourself is a handy skill that can save the day—and your budget. In this guide, I’ll walk you through the steps and provide some insights into troubleshooting common issues when using a drain snake.

Understanding What a Drain Snake Is and When It’s Needed

Before you dive into the task, it’s essential to understand what a drain snake is. Unlike a plunger, which uses air pressure to dislodge blockages, a drain snake is a flexible coil of wire that can navigate through the curves of the toilet drain.

A toilet clogged with toilet paper roll.
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It’s particularly useful for tackling obstructions that are too stubborn for a plunger. The decision to use a snake comes when you’ve tried a plunger without success or when you suspect the clog is caused by objects that a plunger can’t handle.

Step-by-Step Guide For How to Unclog a Toilet Using a Drain Snake

Nothing is worse than having a toilet get clogged in your home, but knowing how to snake a toilet is a skill that will save the day. However, you must have a snake handy, but other than that, you can follow these easy steps to unclog your toilet quickly and easily:

Preparing to Snake the Toilet — Steps to Get Ready

A stack of towels with overlay of rubber gloves and white bucket.
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Preparation is key to successfully snaking a toilet without causing damage or unnecessary mess. First, gather your materials: you’ll need rubber gloves, a high-quality toilet snake (also known as a closet auger), some towels for cleanup, and a bucket. Before you begin, make sure to remove as much water from the toilet bowl as possible to minimize spillage. Placing towels around the base of the toilet can also catch any water that might escape.

Inserting the Snake into the Toilet — Techniques and Tips

A toilet snake being inserted into toilet bowl.
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Inserting the snake correctly is crucial. Start by placing the head of the snake into the toilet bowl and slowly feeding it down the drain. Ensure the handle is in a position that allows you to crank it comfortably. As you feed the snake down, crank the handle in a clockwise direction. This helps the snake to move deeper into the drain while minimizing the risk of scratching the porcelain.

Navigating Through the Clog — How to Effectively Use the Snake

Once the snake reaches the clog, you’ll feel resistance. At this point, it’s important to increase the force slightly, but proceed with caution to avoid damaging the pipes. Continue cranking and pushing the snake forward to break through the obstruction. Sometimes, it may be necessary to pull the snake back slightly and then push forward again to better tackle the clog.

Removing the Snake and Finishing Up — Ensuring a Clear Drain

A toilet unclogged being flushed.
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After you’ve successfully navigated through the clog, slowly retract the snake from the toilet, being careful to keep the potential mess contained. It’s advisable to flush the toilet a few times once the snake is out to ensure the obstruction is completely cleared and the water flows smoothly. Clean and disinfect the snake and any area affected by the snaking process.

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Learning how to snake a toilet is more than just a money-saving skill; it’s an empowering addition to your DIY repertoire. With a bit of practice and patience, you can handle common plumbing problems and maintain the efficiency of your home’s most essential facilities. Remember, the key is to approach the task with preparation and caution, ensuring you preserve the integrity of your plumbing while resolving the issue effectively.