Blocked Drains DIY

This article will help you understand what a blocked drain is and how you can unblock it.

What you’ll learn

What is a blocked drain?

How to identify the blockage

DIY unblocking bechniques

Tools & how to use them

What is a Blocked Drain?

This article will help you understand what a blocked drain is and how you can unblock it.

A blocked drain is when the water in your sink, bathtub or toilet gets stuck because the pipe that takes the water away from your home is too narrow. This can be caused by things like food, hair and other household items that have been flushed down the toilet or washed down the sink.

There are some signs of a blocked drain which include:

– A slow draining sink or bathtub

– A slow draining toilet

– Standing water in a sink, bathtub or toilet bowl

– Drains that produce gurgling sounds

– A build up of scum on the inside of a sink, bathtub or toilet

How to Identify the Cause for Your Blockage

A blocked drain is a common issue in the household. It can lead to a lot of issues like flooding, water seepage, bad odor, etc.

Signs of a blocked drain include slow draining water, gurgling noise when the water is draining, and an unpleasant smell coming from the sink or shower. A blocked drain can also cause your drain to overflow.

If you see any water pooling around your drain, then it is likely that your problem is hair or soap scum buildup. The most common cause of a blocked drain is hair. Hair is often found in sinks and baths, but it can also get stuck in the trap of a shower or washing machine. If there is no water pooling around your drain but you notice a foul smell coming from it, then it could be grease buildup or food particles causing the problem.

Sometimes food particles will get caught in the pipes and cause a blockage, or grease from the kitchen might have leaked into the pipes too. . The other cause of a blocked drain is the pieces that come off shower curtains. These often find their way down the plughole and will cause a blockage when they are caught on one of the jets in the sink.

How to Unblock Your Drain Without Calling Professionals

Trying to unblock a drain without professional help can be difficult and time-consuming. If you are in doubt we always suggest calling a Plumber to assist to make sure the blockage is not only cleared, but prevention measures are put in place.

Everyone will need to know how to unclog a drain at some point. And naturally, a drain will usually get blocked up at the most inconvenient of times… Think Christmas Day, a milestone birthday celebration or a Monday morning. So you’ll want to clear the blockage fast and with minimal mess. While instinct will lead you to get out the plunger, sometimes it won’t work and sometimes you won’t actually own one. Thankfully there are ways to unclog your drain without a plunger, calling on dish washing liquid, hot water, even baking soda and vinegar for quick, effective results that don’t require a plumber.

It’s not the nicest job, but still an essential part of keeping your drain clean and your home happy. Keep reading to tend to your drain and to get clued up on how to avoid a repeat blockage in the future.

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How Do You Unblock A Badly Blocked Drain?

Steve Bennett Plumbing does recommend to go down the classic route first if you’re dealing with a bad blockage ‘Always start with a plunger. But don’t be shy with it! You may need to plunge up and down 20+ times. That being said, if there’s really no give, be careful. Plunging too wildly can break your seal.’

The team highlight the importance of knowing what type of drain blockage you’re dealing with. If you have the first type – slow drainage – it is easy to clear. However, don’t wait for your drain to become completely blocked. Early action and regular cleaning are vital for avoiding blockages. For more severe blockages where your sink, bathtub or toilet is filled with water, transfer as much water from the sink, bathtub or toilet bowl into a separate bucket before attempting to unblock it.

One of the easiest ways to unclog a badly clogged drain is by using a drain snake. When methods like pouring hot water or dish washing liquid down the drain don’t cause the clog to unjam, a physical tool like a drain snake is needed.

How To Unclog A Drain Using Dish Washing Liquid

Hot water and dish washing liquid can be a quick fix solution if you don’t have a plunger around the house. We have personally used this trick, and it worked very well. Pour about 1/4 cup of dish soap in the drain and begin nearly boiling kettles of water, then dumping it in the drain. We don’t recommend boiling it all the way, because you don’t want to crack the porcelain. It can take many kettles, but after about 15-30 minutes of dumping hot kettles into the drain, you may find this to be an easy, household DIY solution to even some of the worst drain blockages.

1. Start by pouring about one cup of dish washing liquid into the drain so that it covers the entire waterline.

2. Leave this for half an hour to start dissolving the matter.

3.Next, fill a bucket with hot water and pour this from a height for added pressure, into the drain.

4.Leave for a few more minutes and then run the tap or flush. If the water level drops you’re sorted, if it’s not 100% clearing, repeat or contact your local plumber.

5. To be on the safe side, finish the process with one cup of baking soda and two of white vinegar for at least half an hour. This will break up any remaining particles.

How To Unclog A Draing With Vinegar & Baking Soda

To unblock a drain with baking soda and vinegar, pour a cup of baking soda or bicarbonate of soda if that is what you have to hand, into the drain. Follow it with a cup of white vinegar. Allow this to fizz for 20 minutes. Run the tap or flush; this should have cleared most blockages and left a fresher smell also.

How To Unblock A Drain With Hot Water

1.  To unblock a drain using just hot water, start by boiling the kettle, but not all the way.

2. Pour the hot water into the bowl and leave it to sit for three minutes.

3. Then flush.

4. This might be enough to soften and push through any blockage, especially if a light blockage. But, if not, try one of our other methods.

How To Unclog A Drain Naturally

To try a natural approach we recommend you use the hot water and dish soap trick mentioned above. This works surprisingly well.

How To Unclog A Drain With A Snake

Be very careful when inserting the snake into the drain. It’s very easy to scratch the porcelain in the basin, bathtub, sink or toilet bowl.

Put the snake down the drain and through the pipe. Once you have it in, start to crank it and carefully move the auger through the system. You might need to move it around the curves, so be careful and do it slowly in order to not cause any damage to your pipes. Eventually, you’ll hit the clog and at this point, there are several steps to take.

Either the head will fully push through the clog and split the debris or run right into it. If you didn’t split the debris you need to keep pushing until it powers its way through. As soon as it does this, continue cranking in order to clear up any leftover debris to prevent any future clogs. Go up and down and to the sides a few times to get as much debris as possible. Once you’re done with that, pull the snake up slowly and carefully. Have a trash bin around to put any debris that comes up cause it can get messy.

For maximum efficiency, run either hot water down it or 1/2 a cup of white vinegar and 1/2 a cup of baking soda. This will help clean up some of the debris left behind.’

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How To Unclog A Drain With A Plunger

If you do own a plunger, first of all, ensure that the plunger you use is big enough to cover the hole and create a vacuum.

Plug the plunger over the plug hole on the drain and pump it backwards and forwards. If your plunger is small and doesn’t fit the hole exactly, you can still use it, but run the tap or flush the loo as you pump the plunger as this will create the necessary force to push the blockage through.

How To Unclog A Toilet With Cling Wrap

1. Dry the surface of your toilet with paper towels and cover the top of the toilet bowl tightly with 3-4 layers of cling wrap.

2. Ensure it is well sealed and then flush the toilet.

3. The pressure should cause the cling film to balloon.

4. Press down on the clingfilm gently which should ease the blockage down the toilet pipe successfully.

How To Unclog A Toilet When Nothing Else Works

If you’ve tried the hot water and flushed the toilet once and it’s filled the bowl but the blockage has remained, your next option should be to don rubber gloves and see if you can deal with the blockage by hand. That might range from hooking out the toy your child has stuffed down there to lifting out excessive clumps of toilet paper they’ve used into a waiting plastic bag. We hate to say it, but it might also mean taking an old knife to a large (let’s call it ‘organic’, sounds better) deposit and slicing it up a little. Try the flush again and keep fingers crossed.

Remove the toilet and snake the drain – If you’re uncomfortable at this step, call your local plumber. What you need to do is unbolt the toilet, remove it, use drain cleaning equipment, clear the blockage, replace the wax seal, and reinstall the toilet. It’s a bit of a process, but this will almost always fix a blockage.

Other than that, if special drain cleaning equipment like a large drum machine or a hydrojet couldn’t clear the blockage…. You’ll need to replace the segment of pipe affected by the blockage.. This is not very common.

For a clogged toilet, consider renting a toilet augur or snake from your local Bunnings. In most situations, you’ll want to avoid Drano or other liquid plumbers, which can damage your drains and pipes. Renting or even buying a toilet augur or plumbing snake is really affordable and can’t hurt to have around the house, making this a cheap repair for do-it-yourselfers. While you can do some drain repairs yourself, a professional plumber will know the best way to fix your blockage quickly, and without causing further problems while also preventing any future issues.


So there you have it, a ton of tips and DIY ideas to try and get you over the line without having to contact a professional local plumber.

Just to be clear, if at any point you feel unsafe or you are unsure of what you are doing, please don’t risk damaging your drains or home. Contact your local plumber immediately.

We offer Emergency callouts for all kinds of plumbing issues 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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