One of the most annoying situations one can face, particularly in the bathroom, is a drain blockage in the sink or toilet. Often unhygienic, messy, and even embarrassing, a blockage in the sink or toilet will prevent anyone from using that appliance. Thankfully, there are a few different solutions to resolve this issue, from using a plunger to Typically, you can try quick fixes like using a plunger, a chemical solution, or one of our other recommended strategies.
However, what happens when you’ve tried these other options and they still don’t work? Or sometimes, the situation is so severe that you want to go to the most reliable solution from the beginning. If you’re either of these positions, you may be tempted to call a plumber.
However, before making the call, we suggest you try out a toilet snake first. Basically, a toilet snake is a hollow tube attached to an elbow fitting, covered by a rubber sleeve to ensure the toilet bowl doesn’t get scratches. With this tool, you can successfully dislodge waste or many other items that can cause a clogged drain.
Read on to learn more about what a toilet snake is, and how to use one to resolve all of your blocked drain concerns.
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What is a Toilet Snake?
To start, a drain snake refers to a long retractable metal cable that’s used to wind down a drain in case of a clog. Therefore, in simple terms, a toilet snake is a type of drain snake specifically designed to be used in toilets.
Toilet snakes function by either grabbing or breaking through the blockage material, which helps disperse the blockage. Some other common terms for a toilet snake include a toilet auger, closet snake, and toilet snake;.
If you’re looking to purchase a toilet snake, one distinguishing feature is the coating on the metal shaft of the tool. Toilet snakes usually include a protective rubber coating over the metal shaft to ensure your toilet bowl doesn’t get scratched or damaged while you’re using the snake. Look for a toilet snake that’s well-made with a sturdy rubber coating to avoid any damage to your toilet!
Causes of Toilet Clogs
Just like any other drain, your toilet drain is also prone to clogs. In general, the most common causes of toilet clogs include excessive toilet paper, waste, or any other object that’s too large to flow through the pipes.
You’ve likely seen the pipe with a bend under your sink that carries away waste. This bend is referred to as the p-trap, and this shape is also integrated into the porcelain making up your toilet. Everything you flush down your toilet must go through this pipe, which is why larger objects can get stuck and prevent your toilet from draining properly.
Therefore, as you attempt to unclog your toilet, keep in mind that you’re basically trying to move the blockage material through the bend. When your toilet works as expected, the force of the flush pushes all waste through this pipe. However, when blocked, you’ll need to manually move the waste, which is where the toilet snake comes in handy.
5 Simple Steps to Snake a Toilet
The great thing about snaking a toilet is that the entire process is relatively straightforward, meaning you won’t need a plumber at all to resolve the issue on your own. Basically, the only tools and materials required for the task are the toilet snake itself and a pair of gloves.
Here are the five simple steps that you should follow:
- Insert the Toilet Snake: Take the toilet snake and insert the metal cable into the toilet bowl. Ensure that the snake goes all the way down into the drain.
- Turn the Toilet Snake: Next, crank the handle in a clockwise motion to push the cable deeper into the drain. Continue cranking until the whole cable has made it through the drain. In case you encounter any difficulty, allow the crank to reset before starting to turn again.
- Slowly Remove the Toilet Snake: The next step involves turning the handle counter-clockwise to retract the cable gradually. Don’t go too fast, as the goal of this step is to either pull out or break up the clog with the snake’s motion.
- Test the Toilet with a Flush: When the cable has retracted fully, you should have successfully removed the clog. Then, you’ll notice the water level going back to normal in the toilet. To confirm you’ve fully resolved the issue, flush the toilet and make sure it flushes fully, and refills like normal.
- Clean-Up: After you’ve confirmed that the toilet is back to normal, you’re done! You can now clean your toilet snake and safely store it away.
In five easy steps, you’ve successfully resolved your blocked drain issues!
Preventative Measures Against Clogging
Now that you have solved the problem, you may wonder how you can minimize the chances of another clog happening in the future. Here are a few tips on ways to ensure your toilet does not clog again:
- First, only try to flush things that are meant to be flushed. For instance, we all know that toilet paper is specifically made to break down well when you flush it down the toilet. However, items such as cleaning wipes and paper towels do not break down that well, so it’s better to dispose of these in a waste bin.
- Another player in preventing your toilet from clogging is the toilet seat and cover. Any object that falls into the toilet can easily lead to blockages. Therefore, we advise that you always put the cover down after using the toilet. Not only does the cover help keep your bathroom more hygienic, but it also helps block foreign objects from dropping into the toilet unexpectedly.
- One other common culprit that causes clogs is chemical drain cleaners. Over time, certain chemical cleaners can build up in your drain, causing damage to the bowl. So, try your best to avoid such products, choosing options marked as fully safe for your toilet and drain instead.
- Another top recommendation is to identify and resolve any issues early. For instance, if your toilet seems to be having trouble flushing or its water level appears lower than usual, something could be interfering with the water flow somewhere. If you identify the problem early enough, you may not even get to the point of needing a snake as a plunger could be enough to solve the problem.
- Finally, one other way to keep your toilet free from clogs is through regular maintenance. Keeping both your toilet and the pipes clean helps minimize the risk of material build up over time. So, always clean your entire system once or twice a month.
Are Toilet Snakes Readily Available?
Toilet snakes are a very common tool that you can find in most hardware stores. They’re also fairly affordable, so it’s easy to have a basic toilet snake on hand in case of emergency. However, if you do want to invest in a drain auger or other more powerful tool option, be prepared to spend more.
Thankfully for your wallet, snaking a toilet is not as complicated as it may sound. Provided you have the toilet snake on hand, you’ll be able to remove that stubborn clog all by yourself. If the process seems unsuccessful at first, all you have to do is reset the tool and start again. The second attempt rarely fails.
We hope this article helps you resolve any blockage issues when they occur. And, with our preventative tips, you should be able to avoid future clogs, so you’ll have a clog-free toilet moving forward!