How to unblock a drain – 6 ways to success

When it comes to plumbing problems, blocked drains are right up there as one of the most frustrating scenarios you can come home to… and that’s even before you consider how to clear it (which is a headache in itself). To help you out, we have put together a short video to give you a little bit of information regarding the causes of blocked drains, the symptoms and the right to unblock a drain, so take a look below.

If, after watching the video, you have decided that DIY is your way to go, you’ll find ‘Unblock Drain – 6 Ways to Success’ a useful home plumbing how-to. As with all DIY projects, you need to consider all of the alternatives and weigh up the pros and cons (including safety!). If you have still decided that you will try DIY, we hope our ‘How to Unblock A Drain – 6 Ways to Success’ article helps!

How to Unblock A Drain

We have put together 6 different ways to clean your blocked drain yourself – but be careful! If you have any issues, give your local blocked drain plumber a call and they will be able to assist further.

Option 1. The Natural Way

If it’s just soap or fat that has clogged your drain, you should always start by trying to unblock it with boiling water (but be careful not to burn yourself or melt the sink seal!). If this is unsuccessful, using natural enzymes is then a good next step, so in the following order try putting 1/2 cup salt, 1/2 cup bi-carb, 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup hot water down the drain, one after the other. This method is perfectly harmless for you, the sink, pipes, and the environment and can be repeated as often as required… however it will have limited effect on severe blockages. Alternatively, your local health food store or chemist may stock bacteria-based enzyme cleaners which are also quite successful at doing the job, and they often smell quite pleasant too!

Option 2. The Old-Fashioned Way

You can’t go past the good old fashion plunger to force the block from the plumbing pipe. It’s the force of the push that forces air through the pipe to clear the clog. Before plunging cover the overflow with a damp cloth to ensure a drain seal and force the air out through the drain blockage. If you have a double kitchen sink make sure you block off the second drain to insure good pressure. Try this a few times before you throw your hands in the air. Many home DIY-ers have reported this to be one of the most successful methods.

Option 3. The Technical Way

You can hire a Drain Auger (AKA Plumber’s Snake or Electric Eel) from most hire places, however, be aware that these require a bit of skill and can be quite dangerous if not used correctly. These will unblock just about anything, including tree roots. I know of an apprentice plumber who had a bad experience when using a snake for the first time: he yelled out ‘STOP’ to his colleague just as the toilet block was dislodged. For those with a weak stomach I won’t go any further with that story, but needless to say, his wife wasn’t too keen on a kiss that afternoon. The moral of this story is – do wear protective clothing and practice good hygiene after coming into contact with drain fluids. The snake does have the potential to scratch ceramic surfaces of plumbing fixtures.

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Option 4. The Toxic Way

Many of us have been convinced that you need a full chemical arsenal to clear a blocked drain. Drain-O, Hydrochloric Acid or Caustic Soda are commonly used and are available at most hardware stores. You generally pour the substance down the affected drain, leave for 20-30 minutes (refer to instructions), and follow with cold water afterwards. Do not put hot water down immediately after the chemicals as it may spray back up in your face. Follow instructions carefully, and always wear gloves and a breathing mask.

Option 5. The U-Turn Way

Before you get carried away with all of the above, check that the blockage is not in the U-bend of the sink. Often food blockages have not got further than the drain directly beneath the sink, so place a bucket under the drain to catch any water or waste, unscrew the two connections and unblock the U-shaped pipe and give it a quick clean. This may seem too simple, but you would be amazed at how many blockages don’t travel too far!

Option 6. The Easy Way

Contact a licensed plumber at Fallon Solutions, as we can be there today! We are a member of the Master Plumbers Association Queensland and employ experienced, fully trained plumbing professionals. All our plumbers drive well-stocked vans with all the equipment required to quickly carry out most plumbing jobs, meaning your plumbing issues will be solved both quickly and efficiently every time.

Your local blocked drain specialists

If you have any questions regarding a drain blockage at your home or office, or would like one of our qualified team members to attend to fix a blocked drain, simply call our team on 1300 762 260 or Book Online today.

Check out some more information on blocked drains.

Resources :

Queensland Urban Utilities (How to clear a blockage):

Queensland Urban Utilities (Blockage or sewage overflow):