How to Roto-Rooter a Toilet Like a Pro

Written by

Paulk Webb


Freddie J. Hagopian

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How To Roto Rooter a Toilet

Clogged toilets can be frustrating, but there are different ways to fix the problem.

However, if you’re not getting anywhere with a plunger, using a toilet rooter can save the day.

The original Roto-Rooter machine uses a flexible cable or auger rotated by an electric motor to clear clogs and restore proper drainage in drains or sewer pipes.

This method can be a practical toilet unclogging solution when used correctly and for the right type of clogs.

If you’re ready, follow the steps on how to roto-rooter a toilet below.

Step-by-Step Guide to Roto-Rooter a Toilet

Your toilet’s pipe system is long and flexible, so a deep toilet clog won’t budge with regular plunging alone. You’ll need to take a different approach.

To use a roto-rooter in a toilet means to use a plumbing tool like a toilet auger to clear stubborn clogs in the toilet’s drain.

Pro Tip: Before using a toilet auger, find out the source of the clog.

  • Excess toilet paper or flushed objects like tiny toys are often the culprits.
  • However, if other fixtures are clogged, or you notice discolored water from faucets, it might indicate a sewage line issue requiring a professional plumber’s help.

If the problem is only with your toilet, try following these steps before calling a toilet unclogging service.

Step 1: Get the tools ready and set up your work area


You can easily get a toilet auger for $30- $100 or rent one at your local hardware store. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use the auger.

Since it’s impossible to plunge the toilet without splashing, you must clear the area around it. That makes it easier to clean up any spills, and it keeps your things from getting dirty and contaminated.

Turn off the water supply to prevent overflow and keep water in the toilet. Afterward, it would be best if you drained the toilet. Use a plunger to force down the drain.

Once you’re all set, follow the next step.

Step 2: Insert the Toilet auger cable


Insert the toilet auger’s flexible cable into the bowl’s drain opening.

2 things to follow:

  • Pull the auger handle up so the cable is near the bottom curved end of the auger tube. This makes it easier to feed the cable into the toilet.
  • Insert the cable gently to avoid damaging the toilet bowl or causing any issues. The curved elbow and the rubber or plastic sleeve on the auger protect the toilet from scratches as you insert the cable.

When properly inserted, you should only see the tube and sleeve, not the end of the auger cable. This ensures the auger is positioned correctly.

Step 3: Break down the clog


After you successfully insert the auger cable, turn the handle of the auger clockwise while gently pushing the cable down the drain.

A standard toilet auger typically has a flexible cable that can extend anywhere from 3 to 6 feet. Keep turning the handle to extend the auger cable into the drain. If you encounter resistance, you’ve likely reached the clog.

Move the auger back and forth a few times and continue cranking to break down the clog. The aim is not to bring the entire clog back up the drain but to break it down enough so the toilet can flush.

Step 4: Extract the toilet auger cable


Turn the handle counterclockwise to extract the auger carefully. Be sure not to scratch the toilet bowl with the cable.

If you have managed to remove the nasty clog debris as you retract the auger cable, be sure to carefully catch it in a container to collect all the debris.

Step 5: Flush the drain


Turn the water supply back on and flush the toilet to see if you’re able to clear the toilet clog.

If it’s still not fixed, repeat the process as needed. Once the toilet flushes without any issue, you’re all set.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to deal with a stuck toilet auger?

Dealing with a stuck toilet auger can be frustrating, but there are steps to safely remove it without damaging the toilet or the tool.

If the auger gets stuck, try alternating between unwinding and winding the cable until it frees up. In some rare cases, you may need to remove the entire toilet to get the stuck auger out.

What’s the difference between a toilet auger and a drain snake?

A toilet auger and a drain snake differ in design and functionality.

  • A toilet auger is heavier and has special bowl guards to protect the toilet’s surface. It operates with a manual crank and a closed-spear tip to break up and push through the clog in the toilet drain.
  • A plumbing snake, designed for sink and bathtub drains, is usually lighter and has a longer coil. It uses an open hook tip to grab and pull out clogs when it reaches the obstruction.


Roto-Rooter is a good solution to unclog toilets because it is specifically designed to address tough clogs without using chemicals to unclog toilets.

Now that you know how to Roto-Rooter a toilet, you can easily handle stubborn clogs on your own without calling expensive plumbers. Just follow these 5 simple steps, and you’re all done!

If the clog is stubborn and the toilet auger still doesn’t work, call a professional plumber for help. They have the right tools and knowledge to clear the clog effectively.

Tell us about your experience as you try to Roto-Rooter your toilet.

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