Need emergency residential or commercial plumbing repairs now?

Allen Plumbing and Gas Logo

How to unblock your drain: the top 5 best methods

Overflowing kitchen sink

We all rely on our drains more than we realise. Washing our hands, cooking, doing the laundry or simply getting a glass of water would be very difficult without a well-flowing drain. So, when they become blocked it’s important to get them cleared, both for convenience and cleanliness. 

Don’t suffer from smells and stagnant water longer than you need to. When it comes to unblocking your drains, the quicker the better, and luckily there are a few at-home methods you can use to get things back to normal. Let us show you how to unlock your drain at home. 

5 at-home methods to clear your blocked drain 

When you’re not sure what to do when your drain is blocked, give these tricks a try. 

1. Boiling water 

All you need is a kettle or stove, and water straight from your tap. Once boiled, simply pour the water down the drain. This is great for minor clogs and is an easy way to help dislodge fat buildups, grease, soap and even small debris. 

Repeat it as needed, but keep in mind it isn’t always enough for more major blockages. You may have to combine it with some other methods further down the list. However, regularly pouring boiling water down your sink is a great preventative measure that can help avoid anything accumulating in your pipes. 

2. Baking soda and vinegar 

With a few kitchen staples, you can break up clogs, eliminate odours, and clear out minor blockages. Combine a 1:1 ratio of baking soda and vinegar (a half cup each should suffice) and slowly pour it down the drain. It should start to fizz, and it helps to cover your drain to contain the mixture within your pipe. After about 15 minutes, flush out your drain with hot water.

As with boiling water, if problems persist you may need to test some other methods. 

3. Plunger  

If boiling water and baking soda don’t fix the problem, you might need the power of the noble plunger. They can handle more severe blockages; simply place the plunger’s suction cup over the drain hole, creating a seal, and then push and pull to create enough pressure to dislodge the clog. 

This can be used on toilets, sinks, shower drains, floor drains and more to dislodge significant dirt and debris build-ups and even foreign objects. 

4. Drain snake or hanger  

Like the plunger, a drain snake or hanger is great for more severe blockages. It can be especially handy in removing hair clogs. 

You can get your hands on a drain snake from your local hardware store. It collects blockages with a corkscrew head that’s fed down your drain. You can also straighten a wire hanger to achieve the same effect. Keep in mind that this process can be challenging, and when done incorrectly you could potentially damage your pipes. Follow these steps to avoid any issues, or contact Allen Plumbing and we can do it for you. 

  1. Insert the drain snake or wire into the drain and carefully manoeuvre it through the pipe.
  2. When you reach a blockage, gently push, pull or twist the snake or wire to pull out or break up the blog.
  3. Keep feeding the snake or wire down the pipe until the clog is cleared. 
  4. Remove the snake or wire carefully, being mindful of your pipes and any debris you may bring up. 

5. Chemical cleaners 

Chemical cleaners should be your last resort, so be sure to attempt the other drain cleaning methods first. This is because they can be harsh on your pipes and the environment while posing safety risks. 

There are two main types of chemical cleaners for drains; caustic cleaners and acidic cleaners. The former possess alkaline chemicals and are great at dissolving organic matter causing partial blockages and slow drains. The latter contains strong acids that dissolve mineral deposits or rust and scale buildup. These are highly corrosive and can damage your pipes, so should be used with extreme caution. 

Regardless of which you use, we advise following these precautions: 

  • Use protective gear like gloves and safety goggles. 
  • Make sure there is proper ventilation in the room. 
  • Don’t mix drain cleaners – you don’t want a dangerous reaction. 
  • Only use the recommended amounts.
  • Flush out the chemicals with water to remove residue. 

If all else fails, call Allen Plumbing to unblock your drain 

If none of these methods work or you want to skip using chemical cleaners entirely, talk to the experts at Allen Plumbing. Our team can identify the exact location and cause of any blockages with state-of-the-art CCTV technology that shows us exactly how to unblock your drain. From there, we blast it away with water-jetting tools and even provide you with before and after footage of your pipes. 

If you want to know more about how your drains get blocked in the first place, get the insights here. Otherwise, find out more about our drain-clearing services, or get in touch today.