If you have a clogged toilet and a plunger and toilet snake fail to clear the blockage, removing the toilet may be necessary. Before removing the toilet, be sure you plunged and snaked correctly. The plunger and snake are ineffective if improperly used.

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If a snake can't clear toilet clogs, you must lift the bowl.

Proper Plunging

Use a plunger with an extension flange designed to clear toilets. Set the plunger over the toilet drain so the flange seals the drain. Make your first plunge a gentle one, forcing all air out of the plunger bell. Then plunge vigorously up and down 20 times. Pull up the plunger and see if the water drains. Make sure there's always enough water in the bowl covering the plunger. You want to force the water forward and back repeatedly. This plunging action clears most common clogs.

Sensible Snaking

If plunging fails, reach for a plumbing snake. Common household snakes are about 25 feet long. You may also use a special snake called a closet auger specifically designed for clearing toilet clogs. Plumbing snakes have a crank at one end. The other end has a corkscrewlike wire tip. Crank the snake clockwise down into the toilet, pushing and cranking at the same time. Keep doing this until you feel the snake hit the clog, and then crank some more. The corkscrew tip usually breaks up the clog or catches the clogging object, so that you can pull it back out.

Pull Up Toilet

If plunger and snake fail to clear the toilet, check to see if the bathroom sink and tub are also backing up. If they are, the trouble is in the bathroom waste line. A professional plumber is needed to clear it. If they're fine, pull up the toilet to get at the clog. Turn off the water supply to the toilet tank and bail the water from bowl and tank. Unthread the exterior coupling nut holding the water line to the tank and pull the line free. Most toilets are held to the floor by two bolts with nuts, one on each side hidden underneath trim caps. Remove the trim caps and unscrew the nuts. Rocking the toilet breaks the seal with the floor drain. Lift it clear of the bolts and move it to one side.

Check the Drain

With the toilet removed, you will see a floor mounting flange and the top of the waste drain. Clear the remains of the wax sealing ring. Inspect the drain with a flashlight. If you can see the clog, remove it. Otherwise, run the snake down the drain until you get to the clog and either break it up or retrieve it. If flange and bolts are in good shape, place a new wax sealing ring on the flange, lift the toilet back over the flange so the holes line up with the bolts and press it down. Retighten the hold down nuts, replace the trim caps, reconnect the water line and open the water valve. Now your toilet should flush.