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For the sake of this question, assume that:

  • There is a clogged toilet that cannot be unclogged with a plunger
  • A toilet auger magically appears in the bathroom

It seems that the auger could leave a bit of a mess on the toilet (at least the part where the bottom hole is) because the end of the auger is a spiral shaped metallic thingy.

How could I avoid marking up the toilet if I were in such a situation?

Side Exhibit:

Let's say that all the advice is ignored and it turns out that the auger does leave marks. Can the marks be removed?

Edit:

Thanks for the answers. I've up-voted everyone's responses.

Unfortunately, reality kicked in the door by:

  • Leaving no marks from the auger or the metal bits
  • Leaving black marks where the bend at the bottom of the toilet auger goes (often covered with some sort of black plasticy or rubbery material)

So, my new question is:

  • How do I get those marks off the toilet?
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A wild toilet auger appears! Zian uses a spin attack! It's super effective! –  Doresoom Jan 26 '11 at 18:12
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2 Answers

This toilet is 60 years old, and the bottom was was looking pretty bad. Years, stains, and heavy augering seemed to take its toll. It turned out it was all mineral deposits. Soaking overnight with vinegar and scrubbing with a pumice stick cleaned it up really nicely. I'm going to start soaking in vinegar as a regular treatment. Point is: I think the china is strong enough to handle the augering.

However, if your clog is all poop and toilet paper, you may be able to get away without an auger.

A good plunger and proper technique help. Make there's enough water in the bowl before you start. Lift the plunger periodically to let fresh water flow in to the system.

A trick I just learned is put a 1/4c of dish soap and warm water in the toilet. Not really hot water, as it can stress and crack the ceramic.

If your clog is something else (like a toy or a diaper) you may be better off removing the toilet and clearing the obstruction from the other side. In my case, the main obstruction was a plastic toy that went down a year ago. An auger cleared most of the toy, but left a 3" plastic disk. Clogs still came easily, as stuff got hung up on it. It was wedged in a way that no amount of augering could remove. Now that it's removed, things are working great.

If your toilet was installed in the last 20 years or so, it isn't too bad a job. Old screws can be corroded and difficult to remove. In my case, the toilet was installed 60 years ago, and there was a lot of putty to clean up. Once that was all done, it went back together very easily. Now that I know how to do it, I could probably do it again in an hour.

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I've had to use one a couple of times, and haven't had any problems with it marking the toilet. The auger is flexible, so it's going to bend before you damage the porcelain... that is, unless you're using a lot more force than you should be. IME, the clog is softer than the porcelain: the auger will take the path of least resistance through the clog, so you just need to apply enough pressure to keep the bit moving forward.

More instructions for using one are on about.com, ehow.com and acmehowto.com.

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