How to unclog a drain

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How do I unclog a drain?

06/02/2022

Did you know you can unclog your own pipes at home without the help – or the cost – of a professional plumber? Sure, it's not the most pleasant of jobs, but it's worth a try if your bath is taking a long time drain or there’s water rising from your toilet.

How to unblock a kitchen or bathroom sink


Before buying any instant drain unblocker products, which aren’t great for the environment, try this effective and easy method to unblocking drains using supplies you’ll already have at home.


Use vinegar, baking soda, and water for a super easy way of unblocking drains using household supplies.
The baking soda and hot water will loosen up any build-up that’s clogging your waste pipe, and the vinegar will cause the sludge to move on down the drain. It’s that easy!


  • • Pour boiling water down your drain.

  • • Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain and leave for 5 minutes

  • • Add a mixture of 1 cup vinegar and 1 cup very hot water and leave for 10 minutes.

  • • Pour one more pot of boiling water down the drain, which will flush the scum that has been loosened up by the baking soda and vinegar

You can use this method to unblock bath drain, shower drain and sink clogs.


Alternatively, you can purchase liquid cleaners from your local hardware store. These chemical solutions are often very effective, but can sometimes cause damage to pipes if they are old or worn down.


You’ll also need to ensure you rinse it out with hot water before taking a bath or shower. Take extreme caution and always read the instructions carefully.



How to unblock a toilet


Unblock a toilet using hot water


Using hot water is one of the simplest ways of eliminating partial blockages and should be your first port of call.


• Close the water supply at the valve. Pour a bucket of warm water into the pan from a height. Adding some washing up liquid can also help remove the blockage.



Unblock a toilet using a plunger


Plungers are highly effective provided the blockage is not solid.


Place a large toilet plunger over the opening and pump up and down. Gradually increase the force with which you push and pull, until the water starts to recede.



Using a drain snake to unblock a drain


If your plunger does not clear the blockage, try using a drain snake. A drain snake is a long, flexible piece of steel attached to a handle that is used to dislodge the build up that clogs pipes. You should be able to pick one up in your local hardware store.

Alternatively you could also unbend a wire coat hanger.


It works in the opposite way to a plunger, as instead of trying to flush the blockage out, you pull it out of the sink. Drain snakes are good for clearing clogs further down your drain.


  • • Push the end into the drain opening

  • • Turn the handle on the drum to feed the coiled-up snake down

  • • Keep going until you feel resistance

  • • Twist the snake until it moves more freely (it will either attach itself to the clog or breakthrough it)

  • • Carefully pull out the snake and the blockage will come with it

  • • Run water to check your sink now drains efficiently


I still can’t unblock my drain


If these easy home methods don’t solve the problem, the blockage may be hard to locate or require special tools to remove it.


Calling a professional plumber or taking out home cover to protect your drains is best.

PlusHeat premium level of cover covers emergency repairs to internal and external drains.

PlusHeat premium covers emergency repairs to internal and external drains.

Problems with your property can arise at any time of day and any day of the year, so we promise to be on hand to respond to your issue no matter when it occurs. You can reach our team 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (yes, even Christmas Day!) so you can be confident that our expert team of Gas Safe™ engineers and tradespeople are never more than a phone call or click away.