How to Unclog Drains

Try to unclog drains with mechanical methods first, as cleaners can be harsh on the environment as well as your skin and eyes. Put safety first and always wear gloves, goggles and a paper face mask to avoid contact with chemical drain cleaners or bacteria.

Unclog toilets
Unclogging a toilet is off-putting but usually straightforward. Buy yourself a funnel plunger designed for the inside of a toilet bowl. You need a plunger with an extendable fluted flap to fit tightly inside the toilet bowl. Fit the plunger to make a tight seal inside the bowl. Plunge up and down rapidly and then abruptly break the seal. Repeat a few times to free the blockage eventually.

If the clog remains, insert a closet auger. Put the bent end into the toilet bowl trap and push the rod until you hit the clog. Turn the closet auger handle to hook the clog. With the spiral tip/ball, pull the auger backwards and forwards. Repeat several times carefully until the clog is free.

Test by pouring water carefully from a bucket into the toilet. If the water doesn't go down, the clog is still there. Repeat the process as before.

Unclog sinks
Hair often clogs bathroom sinks. Kitchen sinks can get blocked with food waste. Start with a standard handheld plunger.

Place your plunger over the plug hole. Cover the plunger lip with water and form a seal. Cover the overflow with your hand to create suction. Plunge up and down before popping the plunger off. Repeat a few times as necessary. See the clogged grime surface as the water flows away.

If the clog continues, put a bucket underneath the sink trap before you unscrew each end of the trap to drain the water into the bucket. Clean out the sink trap as well as disconnecting your waste disposal unit if you have one to check the waste line.

Failing to find debris is likely to mean that the clog is further down the drain line or in the main drain.

Sewer snakes
Sewer snakes are flexible metal rods with spiral hooks or balled end. A closet auger sewer snake has a bent tip to fit a toilet built in trap. A drain auger sewer snake has a coiled rod or a metal strip.

Use the auger to fish for the obstruction. Tightening the handle to push the snake into the clog.

Crank the rod clockwise to hold the clog. Pull the snake back slightly before pushing inward again inch by inch. Keep turning the handle clockwise to get a firm grip on the debris.

Steadily push the snake forwards and back bit by bit. The clog may move further down the drain and get stuck again. If this happens, keep repeating the process. Run the water gently and feed out more line. Try to move the clog all the way to the septic tank or sewer pipes.

Once the drain is unblocked, you can reconnect the sink trap and fill it with water by running just a bit of water from your cold tap. Do this carefully to check all connections for leaks. Run the water for a few minutes to be entirely sure the clog is gone.

If the is due to tree root ingress, renting a commercial power auger with a rotor blade to chop the clog is an option for you.

If you’ve tried everything you want to work on, but without success, then please do call a plumber for further assistance. We have plumbers across London including Chelsea, Fulham, Wimbledon, Wandsworth, East Ham and Enfield, to ensure we have a plumber near to you at all times. To contact Plumb London simply email us, call us, chat to us online or fill in our contact form and member of our team will be in touch.