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How to unclog a waste drain

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If your sink, shower and bathtub are taking a while to drain or there’s water rising from your toilet bowl, it’s safe to say you’ve got a blocked waste pipe. Don’t worry - it’s not as scary as it sounds. In fact, it’s something you might be able to fix yourself with the help of our drain unblocker tips.

Yes, that’s right, unclogging a waste drain is something you can try yourself. Sure, it’s not the most pleasant task in the world but if it saves you having to pay a plumber then it’s worth a try, right?

Below you will find a complete guide to unblocking waste and sewage drains. We’ve covered the tools you’ll need, drain unblocker methods to try and how to clean your drains to prevent future blockages.

What is the best drain cleaner tool?

The good news is that you don’t need any expensive tools to repair a clogged drain. All you will need is a plunger and drain snake. These can both be picked up fairly cheaply from your local hardware store.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to spend money on a drain snake, you can always try unbending a wire coat hanger and using that instead. All you need is something thin and metal that you can feed through your waste drain and use to push through the clog.

Outside drain blocked? You’re going to need to get your hands on a drain rod. Again, these are also available from most hardware stores. Drain rods are a type of long metal drain unblocker that you can plunge and twist to break up big clogs.

How to unblock a drain

The method you use to unblock a drain will all depend on the location of the blockage and the severity of the problem. Here we’ve shared a few different ways you can unclog the waste drains in your home:

  • Unblocking kitchen and bathroom sinks
  • Insert the plug, fill the sink with hot water and drain
  • Use a plunger
  • Try baking powder and vinegar (see how to clean drains section for more info)
  • Feed a drain snake into the waste drain to see if it dislodges the clog
  • Turn the water supply off, unscrew the waste pipe at the u-bend (with a bucket underneath to catch the water) and physically pull out the clog with your fingers

Unblocking toilet

  • Pour a bucket of warm water into the pan from a height
  • Place a large toilet plunger over the opening and pump up and down
  • Use a toilet auger (a type of drain snake for toilets) to shift the blockage

How to unblock a sewage drain

Unblocking a sewage drain outside tends to be a little harder but is still possible to do yourself. You’ll need protective gloves and clothing, as it can get a little messy. We’d also suggest grabbing a bucket and drain rod before following the steps below:

  • Lift the drain cover (you may need a screwdriver or rope to leverage it)
  • See if you can spot the blockage in the waste drain
  • If you can reach it, try pulling it out with your hands and putting any debris in your bucket
  • Insert the drain rode, plunging and twisting it (clockwise) into the clog
  • When it starts to feel easy, you’ll know the clog is clearing
  • Finish off by washing down your waste drain with a power hose

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How to clean drains

When you enter 'how to fix a clogged drain,' in search engines, a lot of articles will tell you to buy an instant drain unblocker product. The problem with these products is that they’re full of chemicals that can do more harm than good. Sure, they might eliminate the blockage but also potentially erode your pipes or cause a chemical reaction so big that your waste drain bursts. There’s also the fact that chemical-based drain products aren’t great for the environment either and in this day and age, that’s something we all have to be conscious of.

So what can you use instead? Well, it’s simple really. A mix of baking powder and vinegar will do the trick. Simply pour a jug of boiling water, followed by the baking powder and vinegar. Insert the plug and leave for ten minutes, before finishing with another jug of hot water. The reaction between the baking powder and vinegar should clear any clogs in your waste drain, whilst also cleaning the pipe on the way down.

You can use baking powder and vinegar to safely and effectively unblock bath drain, shower drain and sink clogs.

Cleaning a waste drain outside

To clean outside waste drains, we’d recommend using a power hose. The powerful blast of water should be enough to dislodge any leaves, twigs, moss and litter clogging up your outside drain. Cleaning your outside waste drains regularly will help to prevent future blockages and save you time and money in the long run.

Speaking of preventative measures, we’d also suggest investing in outside drain covers. These are grates that prevent outdoor debris from entering your waste drain and causing blockages. They can be purchased online or from hardware stores and are well worth the small expense.

What if I can’t unclog the waste drain?

Although there are plenty of drain unblocker methods to try, if you’ve exhausted them all unsuccessfully, it may be time to call a plumber. It could be that there is a problem further down your main waste drain that you simply can’t access without specialist tools. Drainage experts will use CCTV equipment to locate hard-to-reach blockages so they can be successfully removed.

How much does drain unblocking cost?

There’s no denying that you can save a lot of money by learning how to unblock a drain yourself. However, if this isn’t possible, your only option is to call out a plumber. The cost of drain unblocking services will depend on the location of the blockage, the severity of the problem and how quickly you need the work done. We suggest getting a few quotes from several plumbers so you can make sure you’re paying a fair price.

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