Can You Use a Drain Auger on a Toilet?

Can you use a drain auger on a toilet? If you’re already got a drain auger at home, why buy a toilet auger? 

The differences will make you think twice about using a drain auger in your toilet. 

can you use a drain auger on a toilet
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Toilet or Closet Auger Vs a Drain Snake

If you have a clogged toilet with paper (or poop!), or the toilet water rises then slowly drains, you definitely need to get that solved ASAP! 

Forget about the home remedies of flushing vinegar in your toilet or unplugging your clogged toilet with baking soda.  Can I use drain cleaner in a toilet?  Drop that liquid plumber, it probably won’t work.  Will bleach unclog your toilet?  NO! 

Most likely, you’ve got a foreign object lodged in your pipes, build up of hair and TP, or a poop party! 

You’re going to need an auger to unplug your toilet.  Why not use the drain auger you already have?   

Well you can’t use a drain auger on a toilet and we will tell you why you shouldn’t! 

Toilet AugerDrain Auger
For ToiletsFor Sink, Shower, Bathtub Drains
More expensiveCheaper
Breaks through clogsPulls clogs out
More powerfulLess powerful
Vinyl Porcelain Toilet Bowl GuardMay scratch your bowl

Can You Use a Drain Auger on a Toilet? 

NO. You can’t use a regular drain auger on a toilet. Drain augers are built differently than toilet augers. If you use a drain auger you could damage the porcelain bowl, scratching it to hell. Use a toilet auger on a toilet at all times. We explain the differences in detail below for you.

Just a quick tip that before you try to use a toilet auger, we recommend trying a plunger first, it will probably work any shallow clog out.   I do find that it’s hard to get the plunger to make a seal on the low flow toilets that are in homes these days. 

Our advice is to buy both a drain auger and a toilet auger.  It’s always better to have the right tools for the job. Is a drain auger the same as a toiler auger? No, and we explain why below.

Is a toilet auger the same as a snake?

No. Toilet augers are shorter and built with thicker, rotating cords that are designed with a special head to grab onto foreign objects in your toilet.  We explain the differences below so you know why you should use a toilet auger on your toilet and drain augers on your drains. Be prepared for any clogs by owning a toilet auger and a plunger (for the easy clogs).

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What is the Difference between a Drain Auger and a Toilet Auger?

There are so many differences between a drain auger and a toilet auger that we have to explain each type of auger separately below.

What is a Drain Auger? 

A drain auger is built specifically for drains.  The steel cord or “snake” on a drain auger is usually much longer than a toilet auger.   

The cord doesn’t have any protective vinyl or plastic around the steel because you are using it in drains.  There is no risk of scratching anything.   

Toilet augers come with a special vinyl protective casing to stop the porcelain in your bowl from getting scratched. 

Will a Drain Auger Work on a Toilet?

Drain augers or drain snakes have a thinner cord than a toilet auger.  That’s because kitchen and bathroom drains are much smaller in diameter than your toilet drain. Regular drains are about 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter while toilet drains are 3-4 inches.

This means a drain auger isn’t big enough to do more than put a band aid on your clogging problem. It will leave behind goo on your pipes that will cause another clog, and it won’t remove the entire clog you currently have.

This means that while rotating your drain auger cord inside your toilet, you could tangle in up because there is too much room in the pipe. 

Drain augers are multipurpose and can be used in any drain in your house because they come with cords that are usually 25 to 50 feet long. 

What is a Toilet Auger? 

Toilet or closet augers are designed with a “head” on the end of the cord.  It can be shaped like a pear or a half pear.  The coiled up head pushes through clogs.   

It also retrieves and grabs foreign objects, so you can pull them out of your toilet pipes.  This is not the case with a drain auger.  

A toilet or closet auger vs a snake comes ready to get around the P trap in your toilet.  The smaller but specifically shaped head grabs onto objects as you rotate the cord.   

A snake is a straight piece of plastic that goes into your toilet bowl and can remove very basic clogs.

Toilet augers are great because they do double duty.  As your rotate your auger, it cleans up the insides of your pipes.  This will remove any debris that may cause future clogs and backups. We recommend you rotate as much as you like while unplugging your toilet.  Also, we recommend you use a toilet auger on your toilet pipes on a regular basis, maybe twice/year, as part of your routine home maintenance schedule.

Because of the shape of the pipes in your toilet (the U bends etc.) a toilet auger is designed to get passed those bends and right into the pipe to clear your clog. This is the best way to unclog a badly clogged toilet is with a toilet auger.

Is it safe to Use a Toilet Auger?

Yes, its safe to use a toilet auger. Make sure that you have eye protection and proper fitting clothing on before you auger your toilet to avoid any splashing of water in your eyes and skin. You also want to keep any clothing from getting tangled up in the auger as it spins.

How do You Unclog a Toilet with a Drain Auger

We recommend against this, but we know people will do it anyways. So we made a post to help you as much as possible, check it out HERE. Follow the instructions for clearing out drains in that post but be careful not to scratch your toilet bowl.

Toilet Clog Prevention

Here are some tips to prevent future toilet clogs:

  • Don’t flush too much TP down the toilet at once
  • Flush multiple times during a big poop
  • Watch that the kids don’t flush anything
  • Don’t flush any wipes down the toilet
  • Clean out your pipes twice per year with a toilet auger
  • Don’t flush cat litter: it turns into cement in your pipes
  • Grease should be poured into a container and thrown out, not down your toilet


Can you use a drain auger on a toilet?  You really shouldn’t.

If you need to get your toilet cleared quickly, get a toilet auger.  Especially if you have a large family and/or small children. 

If you are absolutely desperate because you only have 1 toilet, you can go for it.  Just be careful not to kink up the cord on your drain auger, or scratch your toilet bowl. It’s impossible to repair the scratches.

How do you unclog a toilet with an auger?

Place the auger against the hole in your toilet bowl and push it down the pipes until it stops. Rotate and continue to push until it grabs the clog. Rotate the auger to make sure it’s grabbed the clog and then pull the auger out.

Can you Snake a toilet with an auger?

Yes you can, they make special augers designed for unclogging toilets called toilet augers and they are powerful enough to remove most clogs.

Can you use a drain pipe auger on a toilet?

No, you shouldn’t because its not designed for toilets, its designed for drains.