How to Clean Toilet Pipes

Things You'll Need

  • Adjustable wrench

  • Drain auger

  • Towels

  • Bucket

  • Gloves

  • Safety goggles

  • Lye

Pipes leading from your toilet must be kept in working condition.

Dirty or clogged toilet pipes can cause your toilet to stop flushing properly and lead to expensive repair bills. You can save yourself the expense of a plumber by maintaining your pipes yourself. Regardless of your experience level, you can clean your toilet pipes using one of two different methods. A drain auger can be used to clean larger obstructions out of your pipes, and lye, or caustic soda, can be used to remove smaller debris for blockage prevention.

Using a Drain Auger

Step 1

Turn off the water to your toilet and flush it to remove any water from its rear tank.

Step 2

Remove the flange bolt covers located near the floor on the left and right side of the toilet. Use an adjustable wrench to remove the bolts holding the toilet in place.

Step 3

Place several towels around the base of the toilet and slowly lift the toilet up and off of the drain hole opening.

Step 4

Feed the auger tip into the drain hole opening while turning its handle in a clockwise direction.

Step 5

Continue feeding the auger tip through your pipes until you feel resistance. This indicates that you have reached debris in the pipe. Repeatedly work the auger backward and forward to chew through the blockage.

Step 6

Turn the knob of the drain auger in a counter-clockwise direction to remove it from the pipe.

Step 7

Pour a bucket full of hot water into the drain hole opening to help clear out any residual debris.

Step 8

Reinstall your toilet and secure it in place using the screws you removed earlier. Place the bolt covers over the bolts securing the toilet in place and turn the water to your toilet back on.

Step 9

Flush your toilet after the tank is full to ensure that the pipe is adequately cleaned and that the toilet seal is not leaking.

Cleaning with Lye

Step 1

Put on a pair of gloves and safety goggles.

Step 2

Place 2 tbsp. of lye directly into your toilet and allow it to settle to the bottom of the bowl.

Step 3

Flush the toilet and wait for the bowl to completely empty and the tank to refill.

Step 4

Place an additional 2 tbsp. of lye into the toilet and allow it to settle to the bottom of the bowl.

Step 5

Flush the toilet and hold the handle down so that the bowl and tank are empty.

Step 6

Resume normal use of your toilet.


Do not attempt to use a drain auger without removing the toilet. Running an auger through a toilet can damage the surface of the bowl and the toilet's internal pipe.

A drain auger can also be used to clear total blockages in your toilet pipes.


Do not allow the lye to come in contact with your skin. It is extremely caustic and can lead to chemical burns.