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You may have a drain problem when you notice that the sink takes a little longer to drain or there’s water pooling around your feet in the shower, and then there’s that strange, unpleasant smell. They’re all signs that you may soon be facing a clogged drain. And then one day, boom. Your drain is blocked completely. You need to deal with it quickly or face the mess of a burst pipe.

The drain may be blocked in the trap area (the curve) or a problem outside.

Always start by removing the excess hair and gunk built up at the surface of the drain.

Then try any or all of the following:

1. Clean It Out With A Coat Hanger

Take a wire coat hanger and straighten it out best, then bend one end to create a small hook. Push that past the drain cover and start fishing. You should be able to get all sorts of hair and nasty stuff out of the drain. Remember, you need to pull gunk out, not push it further when you’ve got as much out as possible; flush with hot water, which should clear things up nicely.

2. Flush With Boiling Water

Pour lots of boiling water down the drain slowly in two to three stages, allowing the hot water to work for several seconds between each pour. This is usually the easiest and quickest way to unclog a drain.

3. Use A Plunger

If you haven’t resorted to tipping caustic drain cleaners down your drain, you can try to fix your clog with a plunger. This handy tool can break up clogs quickly and easily. You may need to have several goes at it to correct the problem.

  1. Start by filling your drain until enough water covers the plunger cup completely. If you are plunging a double sink, plug in the other sink.
  2. Place the plunger into the water, letting out all the air in the cup. The plunger will only work when the cup is filled with water.
  3. Create a seal by pressing the cup firmly against the sink or toilet.
  4. Plunge rapidly. If you feel slight resistance or hear water sloshing around and you are plunging a double sink, check to ensure the second sink is plugged.
  5. Once you have loosened the clog, flush the drain with hot water.

4. Try Baking Soda And Vinegar

If plunging does not solve your problem, mix ½ a cup of vinegar with a handful of baking soda and pour it down the drain. Follow this with several cups of boiling water. Let this sit overnight and flush with more water in the morning.

5. Use Caustic Soda

Caustic soda (also known as Sodium Hydroxide) can cause nasty chemical burns, so always use rubber gloves and eye protection. Add 3 cups of caustic soda to about 2 litres of cold water in a bucket (read the instructions on the packet to get it right) and mix it well with an old wooden spoon or stick. When it starts to fizz and heat up, pour it into the clogged drain, leave for 20-30 minutes, and flush the drain with boiling water. Repeat if necessary.

SAFETY TIP 1: Never use caustic drain cleaners in clogged drains. This can cause dangerous chemicals to build up in your pipes and cause more damage.

SAFETY TIP 2: Never use a plunger on a drain with caustic drain cleaner. This can cause the dangerous chemicals to splash back out and harm you.


If you want more advice or want it fixed – call us on (03) 9511 1336. We can unclog your drains quickly and efficiently. We also have some excellent equipment for pinpointing the exact location of clogged areas.

Our special camera picked up a plastic cup blocking this drain.

Photo of Justin Morris

Justin Morris

Find them on their website: Precision Electrical & Plumbing, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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