How to Clean a Toilet Drain Pipe

Keeping your toilet drain pipe clean is essential for maintaining a healthy plumbing system. Over time, various substances can build up in the drain pipe, leading to clogs and unpleasant odors.

In this article, we will explore several effective methods for cleaning a toilet drain pipe, as well as preventive maintenance tips to keep your plumbing system in top condition.

How to Clean a Toilet Drain Pipe

Why Clean Toilet Drain Pipes?

Toilet drain pipes can become clogged due to various reasons, including the buildup of hair, soap scum, and other debris. Over time, these clogs can cause slow drainage, unpleasant odors, and even water damage. Regular cleaning and maintenance of toilet drain pipes can help prevent these issues and keep your bathroom clean and hygienic.

Understanding Toilet Drain Pipes

Before delving into the cleaning process, it’s important to have a basic understanding of toilet drain pipes. These pipes are responsible for carrying waste and wastewater from the toilet to the sewer or septic system. They are typically made of durable materials such as PVC, cast iron, or copper to withstand the rigors of daily use.

PVCDurable and lightweight, commonly used in modern plumbing systems.
Cast IronExtremely durable and long-lasting, often found in older homes.
CopperResistant to corrosion, less common in toilet drain pipes.

Signs of a Clogged Toilet Drain Pipe

Recognizing the signs of a clogged toilet drain pipe is the first step in addressing the issue. Common indicators include:

  • Slow drainage
  • Gurgling sounds
  • Water backup in the toilet bowl
  • Unpleasant odors

If you notice any of these signs, it’s crucial to address the clog promptly to prevent further complications.

Using Drain Cleaners

Drain cleaners are among the most popular tools employed to combat clogs in toilet drain pipes. These products come in different forms, each utilizing distinct mechanisms to eliminate obstructions.

Here, we discuss the working principles behind drain cleaners and present the available varieties along with their respective benefits and drawbacks.

Working Principles

Chemical drain cleaners utilize highly corrosive agents, such as sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), potassium hydroxide, or sulfuric acid, to dissolve grease, soap scum, and other organic materials. As these chemicals react with the clogged material, heat is generated, causing the substance to liquefy and flow freely.

Enzyme-based drain cleaners employ microorganisms called enzymes to break down organic matter. Unlike chemical cleaners, enzymatic solutions pose no threat to pipes and are considered eco-friendly alternatives.

Natural drain cleaners consist primarily of household items like baking soda and vinegar. They rely on chemical reactions between ingredients to loosen and lift clogs, rather than relying solely on aggressive chemicals.

Varieties of Drain Cleaners

Chemical Drain Cleaners

These products offer quick results but may damage pipes over prolonged usage due to their high concentration of corrosive compounds.

Enzyme-Based Drain Cleaners

Slower acting compared to chemical counterparts, yet gentler on pipes and septic tanks. Ideal for regular maintenance and prevention of clogs.

Natural Drain Cleaners

Safe for both pipes and the environment, although less efficient than chemical cleaners. Best suited for occasional use or mild clogs.

Advantages and Disadvantages

ChemicalFast-acting, effective against tough clogsCan cause damage to pipes, especially after repeated use
Enzyme-BasedSafe for pipes, gentle on the environmentSlower acting, less effective against tough clogs
NaturalEnvironmentally friendly, non-toxicLess efficient than chemical cleaners

Regardless of the type chosen, it is imperative to adhere strictly to manufacturers’ guidelines while handling drain cleaners. Misuse could potentially harm users and compromise the integrity of plumbing systems.

2. Water Blast Method

The water blast method, also known as a hydraulic ram or blow bag, is a powerful technique for clearing clogs in toilet drain pipes.

This method uses water pressure to forcefully clear away obstructions, making it an effective solution for stubborn clogs that are resistant to other cleaning methods.


A water blast is a device that is inserted into the toilet drain and then inflated to create a powerful surge of water that dislodges clogs.

The device consists of a rubber bladder that is attached to a hose. The bladder is inserted into the drain and then inflated with water, creating pressure that forces the clog out of the pipe.

How to Use a Water Blast

To use a water blast, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the water supply to the toilet.
  2. Remove the toilet tank lid and flush the toilet to empty the tank.
  3. Insert the water blast device into the toilet drain.
  4. Inflate the bladder with water using a garden hose or other water source.
  5. Wait for the bladder to fill and then release the water blast, creating a surge of water that dislodges the clog.
  6. Repeat the process as necessary until the clog is cleared.

Safety Precautions

When using a water blast, it is important to take the following safety precautions:

  • Wear protective gloves and eye goggles to prevent injury from water or debris.
  • Do not overinflate the bladder, as this can cause damage to the plumbing system.
  • Do not use a water blast if you suspect that the clog is caused by a foreign object, as this can cause the object to become lodged further in the pipe.
  • Do not use a water blast if you have a septic system, as this can cause damage to the system.

By following these safety precautions, you can safely and effectively use a water blast to clear clogs in your toilet drain pipe.

3. Auger or “Snake” Method

The auger, also known as a “snake,” is a tool that can be used to physically remove clogs from a toilet drain pipe.

It consists of a long, flexible cable with a coiled metal auger or blades at one end. Augers are particularly effective for dealing with solid obstructions, such as tree roots or mineral deposits.


An auger is a flexible cable that is inserted into the toilet drain pipe. The cable is then rotated, causing the auger or blades to break up and remove the clog.

Augers come in different lengths and sizes, and some models have interchangeable heads for different types of clogs.

Step-by-Step Guide

To use an auger to clean a toilet drain pipe, follow these steps:

  1. Put on protective gloves and eye goggles.
  2. Insert the auger into the toilet drain pipe, feeding it in slowly and carefully.
  3. Rotate the auger handle clockwise to advance the cable into the pipe.
  4. Continue rotating the auger handle until you feel resistance, indicating that the auger has reached the clog.
  5. Rotate the auger handle back and forth to break up the clog.
  6. Once the clog has been broken up, slowly retract the auger from the pipe.
  7. Flush the toilet to ensure that the clog has been cleared.


When using an auger to clean a toilet drain pipe, it is important to take the following precautions:

  • Wear protective gloves and eye goggles to prevent injury from debris.
  • Do not force the auger into the pipe, as this can cause damage to the plumbing system.
  • Do not use an auger if you suspect that the clog is caused by a foreign object, as this can cause the object to become lodged further in the pipe.
  • Do not use an auger if you have a septic system, as this can cause damage to the system.

By following these precautions, you can safely and effectively use an auger to clean clogs from your toilet drain pipe.

4. Professional Drain Clenaing

If you’re unsure or unable to clean the drain yourself, it’s best to seek the help of a professional drain cleaning service such as MKE Drain Cleaning. MKE Drain Cleaning is a reputable and reliable plumbing company that specializes in drain cleaning and maintenance services. Their team of experienced and skilled plumbers has the expertise and equipment necessary to tackle even the most stubborn clogs and blockages.

MKE Drain Cleaning offers a range of services, including drain cleaning, sewer cleaning, sewer scoping, rooter services, hydro-jetting, and camera inspections. Their drain cleaning services utilize the latest technology and techniques to ensure that your drain pipes are thoroughly cleaned and free from debris. Hydro-jetting is a powerful method that uses high-pressure water to blast away buildup and blockages, while camera inspections allow plumbers to identify and diagnose underlying issues that may be contributing to drain pipe problems.

5. Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance is crucial for keeping toilet drain pipes clear and preventing future clogs. Regular maintenance can include using natural cleaners like baking soda and vinegar once a week to help prevent small clogs from forming.

It is also recommended to have a professional maintenance service done once a year to thoroughly clean and inspect the plumbing system, reducing the likelihood of clogs and other issues.

Weekly Maintenance

Using natural cleaners like baking soda and vinegar is an easy and effective way to maintain a clean toilet drain pipe. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Pour half a cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl.
  2. Add one cup of white vinegar to the baking soda.
  3. Allow the mixture to sit for 15 minutes before flushing the toilet.
  4. Repeat this process weekly to help prevent clogs from forming.

Annual Professional Maintenance

Having a professional maintenance service performed annually is an excellent way to ensure that your toilet drain pipe stays clean and free from clogs. During this service, a licensed plumber will:

  1. Thoroughly inspect the entire plumbing system for leaks, cracks, or signs of wear.
  2. Clear any existing clogs or debris from the toilet drain pipe.
  3. Perform a camera inspection of the pipe to identify any hidden issues.
  4. Apply sealants or coatings to protect the pipe from future damage.

Additional Tips

  • Avoid throwing large objects or wipes down the toilet, as these can easily get stuck and cause clogs.
  • Keep a trashcan near the toilet to encourage proper disposal habits.
  • Install strainers in sinks and showers to catch hair and debris before they enter the plumbing system.
  • Monitor the water level in your toilet regularly to detect any leaks early on.

By implementing these preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of clogs and other plumbing issues in your toilet drain pipe.

Remember that regular maintenance is key to preventing clogs and maintaining a healthy plumbing system.


In conclusion, maintaining a clean and functional toilet drain pipe is essential for a healthy plumbing system and a hygienic bathroom environment.

In this comprehensive guide, we have explored various methods for cleaning toilet drain pipes, including using drain cleaners, the water blast method, and the auger or “snake” method.

We have also discussed the importance of preventive maintenance, such as using natural cleaners and having professional maintenance services performed annually.

By following these methods and tips, you can ensure that your toilet drain pipe remains clean and free from clogs, allowing for smooth and trouble-free drainage.

Remember to always prioritize safety and consult with a professional plumber if you encounter persistent clogs or are unsure about the best approach for your specific situation. With regular maintenance and proper care, you can maintain a healthy plumbing system and a clean, functional bathroom.

Share This Post:

Related Posts

There’s nothing more frustrating than dealing with a clogged outdoor drain. Whether it’s rainwater pooling

Tree roots can wreak havoc on underground sewer lines, leading to costly repairs and headaches

Imagine waking up to a flooded basement or a backed-up toilet – a homeowner’s nightmare.