a toilet auger being inserted into a toilet bowl drain

Toilet Auger

Originally contributed by Jeff Butler • last updated 12/28/2020

If you’re like most people, you probably have a deep-seated fear of accidentally clogging a toilet. When it happens, your first thought should probably be to clear it with a plunger. But, if that doesn’t work, you might need to grab a toilet auger.


A toilet auger (sometimes referred to as a closet auger) is a relatively short and slender cable made from coiled wire that is fed into the drain at the bottom of the toilet bowl through a hook-shaped length of tubing. The cable is then rotated, extended, and retracted to clear the clog using the attached hand crank. The hook-shaped tubing makes it easier to feed the coiled wire through the toilet drain and helps to prevent damage to the porcelain.

Why Not Use A Plumber's Snake?

A toilet auger is basically a shorter, more manageable type of plumber’s snake. Like a regular plumber’s snake, it’s designed to get deep into the drain to clear out any clogs that are preventing water from draining properly. However, there are a couple minor differences that make it more suitable for use in a toilet:

  • Not only is a toilet auger shorter and more manageable, it’s also fed through a hooked shaped tube to guide it further into the toilet bowl for better access to the clog.
  • A toilet auger also comes with a special rubber sleeve that covers the auger tip to prevent it from scratching the porcelain finish in your toilet bowl.