10 Tips For DIY Drain Unblocking

A blocked drain doesn’t have to be a complete disaster – and in some cases, there are ways to fix the blockage yourself. If you’ve noticed that your kitchen sink is draining more slowly than usual, that your shower floods whenever you use it, or that a nasty smell is coming from your sinkhole – you should fix the problem as soon as possible. If you neglect it, it’ll only get worse and potentially cause permanent damage or leaks to your pipes.

Here are 10 ways you can DIY your blocked drains.


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Chemical drain cleaner

Drano, and other sodium hydroxide formulations sold over the counter, can be an effective way to deal with stubborn clogs. Always follow the instructions on the bottle, and be very careful to avoid eye and skin contact – these chemical products are often corrosive. 

Dish detergent & boiling water

Pour some dish detergent down the affected drain, wait for five minutes, and then pour some boiling water down. The dish detergent loosens grease, and the hot water dislodges it. If you’re trying to unblock a toilet, combine this method with plunging.

Baking soda & salt

Pour one cup of baking soda and half a cup of salt down the drain. Leave it overnight (without using the drain in the meantime!). The next morning, pour two cups of boiling water down the drain.

Baking soda & vinegar

In this natural remedy, mix 50% baking soda with 50% vinegar in a cup. They’ll start to react as soon as you’ve added them together, so you should immediately pour it down the blocked drain. Let it sit for an hour, then pour some boiling water down.

Baking soda & vinegar (for baths)

Begin by following the same process outlined above. Instead of pouring boiling water down it, however, completely fill the bath with hot water then remove the plug. The sheer force of gravity, combined with the loosening effects of the baking soda and vinegar, should be enough to dislodge many blockages.

An old metal clothes hanger

A classic remedy, and surprisingly effective. Find a wire clothes hanger, twist the hook into a rod, and use it to poke at whatever’s clogging your drain. If it doesn’t work the first time, try twisting the wire into different shapes.

A (hygienic) plunger

What works for toilets can work for any other drain – but please, please buy an unused plunger! Combine plunging with one of the other remedies outlined here for an extra chance of success.

A “Drain Snake”

You’ll need a buy something called an “augur” for this solution, but they’re not expensive. The process essentially involves lowering a coiled line down through the sinkhole until you snag the clog. Here’s a detailed description of how it works.

Get your hands dirty.

Most people are extremely reluctant to start meddling with the pipes themselves, but there’s one solution which is fairly easy to implement. First, place a bucket underneath the U-shaped pipe (often found inside a cupboard below the sink). While wearing gloves, remove this pipe and inspect it. If you can see the clog, remove it manually. Problem solved!

A professional

Some blocked drains take a lot more work than these DIY methods to fully fix. If nothing you’re doing seems to work, it’s probably time to get in touch with a professional drain technician.

We can help with your blocked drain. Contact us today and we’ll give you a free, no-obligation assessment and quote if you live in the Auckland region.

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