How to Unclog a Toilet with an Electric Snake

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Nothing is more frustrating than a clogged toilet, especially if it clogs up at just the worst of times.

At some point in your life, you will have experienced a clogged toilet. If you haven’t yet, that’s great!

But as an adult who should be responsible enough to unclog their own toilet, here’s a quick article on how to unclog a toilet with an electric snake.

Say goodbye to plungers, because we have a better unclogger -- quite literally -- in our hands.

How to Unclog a Toilet with an Electric Snake

What causes a toilet clog?

There are a lot of possible causes of your toilet clogging up. Here are few of the most common culprits behind a toilet clog which you need to avoid (at all costs!).

  • Accumulation of debris. The most common cause of household toilet clogs is the accumulation of debris, particularly debris that shouldn’t be in the toilet in the first place. This includes wet wipes, dental floss, tampons, sanitary napkins, and any other toiletries that don’t disintegrate in the toilet water.
  • Things accidentally dropped in the toilet. If you accidentally drop something in the toilet, don’t flush it! Flushing accidentally dropped things that cannot dissolve in water is another common cause of toilet clogs. Examples are toys, soap bars, bottles, pieces of plastic, and other unflushable items.
  • Plumbing problems. Other times, it may be the plumbing itself that’s having problems and causing your toilet to be clogged. Unfortunately, in these cases, you would need to call in a professional to diagnose and repair the problem.

What is a toilet snake?

A toilet auger or toilet snake is a tool, typically made out of metal, consisting of an auger, a shaft, and a crank handle. Unlike a regular toilet plunger, a toilet auger can maneuver through the drain system of a toilet in order to get rid of the clog head on.

Usually, people use augers when all the other de-clogging techniques have failed.


An electric snake is basically the same as a regular toilet auger. The only difference is is that an electric snake does not need to be manipulated using a crank handle. The user can simply press a button to make the “snake” move forward or backward while inside the toilet drain.

I can certainly vouch for the effectiveness of these tools. I was at my wit’s end and about to call the plumbing service when my toilet clogged up for the third time that week (thanks to my roommate’s habit of flushing questionable items down the toilet), when thankfully, I scoured the Internet for a cheaper solution.

And viola - I discovered the amazing tool that is a toilet snake.

How to unclog a toilet with an electric snake

What you need:

About 90% of the time, toilet clogs can be remedied using a toilet plunger. The suctioning of a toilet plunger will usually free the clog from the toilet’s drain. Other clogs take a bit more of elbow grease, but still become unstuck with enough effort using the plunger.

However, what do you do when you’ve spent what feels like forever trying to unclog a toilet using a plunger? If you’ve done everything you can and the clog is still not budging, it’s time to take out the big leagues -- an electric snake.

1. Prepare the area 

Before doing anything with your toilet, it’s best to prepare the area in your bathroom where you’ll be doing the dirty work. Lay down some rags or newspapers around the toilet, a.k.a. “The splash zone” so that toilet water won’t end up all over your bathroom floor.

2. Use a bit of drain cleaner

Put on your gloves and plug in your electric snake at a nearby outlet (unless your electric snake is rechargeable). You’re almost ready to work out that pesky clog!

But before anything else, it’s recommended that you loosen the clog first for best results. Pour a bit of regular drain cleaner in the toilet and let it sit for about fifteen minutes.

drain cleaner

3. Start with your electric snake

Insert the head of the auger into the toilet drain until the elbow portion is almost completely inside.

Then, activate your electric snake so that the coil starts moving through the drain. Don’t worry if you feel a bit of resistance as this is completely normal.

4. Keep feeding the snake through the drain

Allow the snake to be fed into the drain until it reaches the head reaches the blockage.

Either the head of the auger will break down the blockage and push it further down the drain, or the blockage will be entangled with the snake.

5. Proceed as needed

To get rid of the clog, you can push the snake further down so that the debris will be loosened enough to drain normally.

Alternatively, when the clog gets tangled with the snake’s coils, you can pull it up and out of the drain hole along with the snake.

6. Remove the snake

Once you get rid of the toilet clog (test it out by flushing), you can now start removing the snake from the drain.

Set the electric snake to ‘reverse’ and start pulling back the coil.

Do this gradually and slowly. Otherwise, the snake may snap and hurl toilet debris and water all over the bathroom. Yikes!

7. Commence clean-up

Clean the electric snake by scrubbing it down with a mixture of hot water, disinfectant soap, and a little bit of bleach. Spray it down with water right after and make sure to store it dry. Don’t forget to wipe down the toilet itself as well as the surrounding area.

If necessary, disinfect the area with bleach if a bit of toilet water spilled out.

How to Unclog a Toilet without a Plunger or Snake

Conclusion: Unclogging a Toilet with an Electric Snake

Clogged toilets are nasty and often a hassle to fix. Sure, you can use an old regular plunger to fix the problem, but what if plunging the toilet simply doesn’t work?

This is where toilet snakes or toilet augers come in. With this tutorial on how to unclog a toilet with an electric snake, you can get rid of a toilet clog in no time.