Home Plumbing How To Unblock A Drain: 5 Great Tips


How To Unblock A Drain: 5 Great Tips

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. It’s something you need to deal with quickly, or face the mess of a burst pipe.

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

Always start by removing the excess hair and gunk that has 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 as best you can, then bend one end over 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 be pulling gunk out, not pushing it further. When you’ve got as much out as you can, flush with hot water, and it 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 a several seconds in 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 fix the problem.

  1. Start by filling your drain until there is enough water to completely cover the cup of the plunger. If you are plunging a double sink, make sure to plug the other sink as well.
  2. Place the plunger into the water, letting out all of the air in the cup. The plunger will only work when the cup is completely filled with water.
  3. Create a seal by pressing the cup firmly against the sink or toilet.
  4. Plunge rapidly. If you feel little resistance, or hear water sloshing around and you are plunging a double sink, check to make sure 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. You can then 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 and leave for 20-30 minutes, then flush the drain with boiling water. Repeat if necessary.

SAFETY TIP 1: Never use caustic drain cleaners in drains that are totally clogged. This can cause the dangerous chemicals to build up in your pipes and cause more damage.
SAFETY TIP 2: Never use a plunger on a drain that has caustic drain cleaner in it. This can cause the dangerous chemicals to splash back out and harm you.


If you want more advice or you just want it fixed – call us on 1300 601 601. We can unclog your drains quickly and efficiently.  We also have some great equipment for pinpointing the exact location of clogged areas.

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


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