Sometimes known as a toilet jack, a plumber’s snake is a flexible auger used to remove clogs in plumbing that cannot be loosened with a plunger. Most of these devices consist of a coiled metal wire with space between the coils at the end. The other end is attached to a device with a crank that rotates the wire as it moves down into the pipe. Drains are cleared by one of several mechanisms: the auger end of the wire digs itself into the clog much like a corkscrew, allowing retrieval of the object causing the clog when the snake is pulled out. (Commonly hair, combs, small toys, cloth.) The end of the snake breaks up the object, allowing it to pass through the drain. (Commonly tree roots, foam insulation, plastic objects.) The snake flails around the inside surface of the pipe, scraping off accumulated matter (ranging from mineral deposits to bacon fat) which was reducing the effective interior diameter of the drain pipe. The auger should be turned clockwise only, unless it has become jammed in the drain. Not only is this essential for retrieval of foreign objects, but for the longevity of the cable.