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In the video titled “Learn How to Use an Auger to Unclog a Toilet – Video by Roger Wakefield,” Roger Wakefield, LEED AP, The Expert Plumber, demonstrates how a closet auger is an effective tool for unclogging toilets. This tool, when used correctly, can save homeowners hundreds of dollars that would otherwise be spent on professional plumbing services. Wakefield explains the different parts of a closet auger, and how it works, and shares some useful tips to ensure successful unclogging. The video emphasizes the importance of knowing how to use a closet auger, as it can be a valuable tool for homeowners in maintaining their plumbing systems.

Wakefield’s channel focuses on teaching Realtors, homeowners, and home buyers various DIY plumbing techniques, how to work with plumbers, and how to protect their plumbing. He encourages viewers to check out his social media channels and engage with him in the comments section of his videos. Whether it’s a simple clog or a more serious blockage, Wakefield’s video provides step-by-step instructions and valuable insights on using a closet auger effectively, empowering viewers to tackle their plumbing issues and save money in the process.

When it comes to dealing with a clogged toilet, a plunger is often the first tool that comes to mind. However, if you’re looking for a more effective and efficient way to unclog your toilet, a closet auger is the ideal choice. In this article, we will explore the benefits of using a closet auger over a plunger and how it can save you money on plumbing expenses. We will also discuss the different parts of a closet auger and how it works to clear out clogs. Additionally, we will provide precautions and step-by-step instructions on how to properly use a closet auger. So let’s dive in and learn more about this valuable plumbing tool.

Benefits of Using a Closet Auger

Better than a plunger

While plungers can be effective in clearing simple toilet clogs, they often struggle with more stubborn and severe clogs. This is where a closet auger shines. Unlike a plunger, which relies on water pressure to dislodge clogs, a closet auger uses a flexible cable to physically remove the blockage. This makes it much more effective in breaking up solid clogs and clearing the drain completely. By using a closet auger, you can avoid the frustration of repeatedly plunging without success and potentially damaging your toilet in the process.

Saves money on plumbing

One of the major advantages of using a closet auger is that it can save you money on plumbing expenses. By investing in a closet auger and learning how to use it correctly, you can tackle minor toilet clogs on your own without having to call a professional plumber. This can save you the cost of a service call, which can be quite expensive, especially if the clogged toilet occurs outside of regular business hours. By having a closet auger at hand and the knowledge to use it, you can handle toilet clogs quickly and efficiently, saving both time and money.

Learn How to Use an Auger to Unclog a Toilet - Video by Roger Wakefield

Parts of a Closet Auger

To understand how a closet auger works, it’s important to know the different parts that make up this handy tool.


The handle is the part of the closet auger that you hold onto while using it. It is typically made of durable materials, such as plastic or metal, to withstand the pressure and force applied during operation. The handle provides stability and control as you manipulate the auger into the toilet drain to remove the clog.


The shaft of the closet auger is a long, flexible metal tube that houses the sewer cable. It is designed to be inserted into the toilet drain and navigate through the pipe system to reach the clog. The shaft is usually extendable, allowing you to adjust its length based on the depth of the clog. It is important to use the shaft responsibly to avoid damaging the toilet or the plumbing system.

Bulb (sewer cable)

The bulb, also known as the sewer cable, is the business end of the closet auger. It is a flexible, coiled cable made of durable materials, such as steel, that can withstand the rigors of clog removal. The bulb is attached to the shaft and is responsible for physically breaking up the clog, allowing it to be flushed away. The length and diameter of the sewer cable can vary depending on the specific model of closet auger.

How a Closet Auger Works

Now that we understand the different parts of a closet auger, let’s delve into how it actually works to clear out toilet clogs.

Clearing out the trap

The first step in using a closet auger is to reach up and pull the handle up. This extends the sewer cable down to the end of the shaft. By doing this, you can ensure that the head of the sewer cable will go past the trap and into the p-trap, which is where most toilet clogs occur. The goal is to clear out as much of the clog as possible by physically breaking it up.

Going through the P-trap

With the handle pulled up, insert the auger into the toilet drain while simultaneously spinning the bulb by hand. This spinning motion helps the cable navigate through the p-trap and break apart the clog. Apply steady but gentle pressure as you push the auger down into the drain, making sure not to force it or cause any damage to the toilet or plumbing system.

Reaching the drain

Continue pushing the auger down until you feel resistance or until the cable has reached the main drain. The resistance you feel is likely the clog being broken apart or dislodged. Once you have reached this point, slowly pull the auger back up, again spinning the bulb as you go. This allows the cable to catch any remaining debris and remove it from the drain.


While using a closet auger, it is important to take certain precautions to protect yourself and your surroundings.

Protecting the floor with towels

Before using a closet auger, it is recommended to place towels around the base of the toilet to catch any water that may spill out during the unclogging process. This will help prevent any damage to the floor and make clean-up easier.

Being careful with the water level

If the water level in the toilet is close to the rim, be cautious while using the closet auger. Movement and manipulation of the auger can cause the water level to rise and potentially overflow. To avoid a mess, consider removing some water from the toilet bowl before using the auger.

Using the Closet Auger

Now let’s go over the step-by-step process of using a closet auger to unclog your toilet.

Pulling the handle up

To begin, reach up and pull the handle of the closet auger up. This ensures that the sewer cable is fully extended down to the end of the shaft, allowing it to effectively reach the clog.

Positioning the snake head

With the handle pulled up, insert the auger into the toilet drain. Make sure the head of the sewer cable is aligned with the drain opening. Aiming for the middle of the opening can help you navigate through the trap more easily.

Spinning the cable as you push down

As you push the auger down, spin the bulb by hand in a clockwise motion. This spinning action helps the cable navigate through the p-trap and break up the clog. Apply steady pressure while pushing the auger down, but avoid using excessive force to prevent damage.

Extending the cable for a longer reach

If necessary, extend the cable’s length by pressing on the extender located near the handle. This will provide additional reach, allowing you to clear clogs deeper in the drain. The combined length of the shaft and extended cable can give you enough reach to tackle even stubborn clogs.

Removing the Closet Auger

Once you have successfully cleared the clog, it’s important to remove the closet auger properly and clean it before storing it.

Wearing rubber gloves

After using the closet auger, it is advisable to wear rubber gloves when handling it. This is to protect yourself from any residual debris or bacteria that may be present on the cable.

Pressing the button to retract the shaft

To remove the auger from the toilet, press the button located near the handle to retract the shaft. Slide the shaft all the way in until it locks. This ensures that the bulb is fully retracted and secured within the shaft, preventing any accidental injuries while handling the auger.

Cleaning and drying the auger

Before storing the closet auger, it is essential to clean and dry it thoroughly. Remove any visible debris from the bulb and shaft using a brush or cloth. Once clean, place the auger on a towel or mat to dry completely. This will prevent any moisture from causing damage or rusting the cable and other parts of the auger.

Using a Closet Auger with a Drill Motor

For even more effective cleaning, some closet augers can be used with a drill motor. This can increase the power and rotational speed of the cable, providing a more thorough removal of stubborn clogs.

Unscrewing the handle

To attach a drill motor, unscrew the handle from the closet auger. This will expose a shaft that can be connected to the drill motor.

Attaching a drill motor

Connect the shaft of the closet auger to the chuck of the drill motor. Ensure that it is securely attached to prevent any accidents or slippage during operation.

Increasing RPMs for better cleaning

Once the drill motor is attached, turn it on and increase the RPMs (rotations per minute) to a suitable speed for effective cleaning. Keep in mind that higher RPMs may cause the cable to rotate more rapidly, potentially causing splashing or splattering. Use caution and work slowly when using a drill motor with a closet auger.

When to Use a Closet Auger

A closet auger is specifically designed for unclogging toilets, making it the ideal tool for toilet-related clogs. You can use a closet auger in various situations, such as when you experience a toilet clog that cannot be cleared using a plunger or when you want a more effective method of removing clogs. However, it is essential to use the closet auger correctly and troubleshoot any other potential plumbing issues if the problem persists.

For toilet clogs

When your toilet is clogged and a plunger is not effectively removing the blockage, it is time to bring out the closet auger. Its flexible cable and spinning bulb can break through even stubborn clogs, allowing water to flow freely again.

Monitoring other fixtures for potential issues

If you notice other fixtures, such as showers or bathtubs, experiencing drainage problems along with your toilet clogging, it could indicate a larger issue. In such cases, it is advisable to monitor the situation closely and consider contacting a professional plumber to diagnose and resolve any potential plumbing problems.


In conclusion, a closet auger is a valuable tool for unclogging toilets efficiently and effectively. With its ability to break up solid clogs and clear drains better than a plunger, a closet auger can save you time and money on plumbing expenses. By understanding the different parts of a closet auger and how it works, you can confidently use this tool to tackle toilet clogs on your own. Remember to take precautions and follow the correct steps when using a closet auger. By having this tool in your plumbing arsenal, you can maintain a smoothly running toilet and avoid unnecessary plumbing costs.

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Categories: Plumbing Tips & DIY