How to Fix a Blocked Drain

In this article we suggest the how to fix a blocked drain, these are the best ways we have found to work best, and can be easily applied by a DIY homeowner. We also suggest what you should not do. If these suggestions do not work the next step will probably be some form of rodding, or jetting, if the point of the drain clogging is in an external underground sewer.

All kinds of things could trigger a blocked pipe from excessive use of bathroom tissue, to little bits of plastic, food, hair, fat that accumulates within the pipes. In addition we often see ladies’s hygienic towel type items in blockages and disposable, non reusable, nappies. These items should not be being flushed away, and any homeowner will need to find who is the guilty partner, and stop them doing this.

You can download the free eBook version of this article below:

Introduction to the Ways we Would Fix a Blocked Drain

how to mend a blocked drain - image shows the effect of a flood.
A plumbing disaster to be avoided. – CC BY-NC by The Bees

Blocked drains can be a real headache, so we’ve assembled a fast guide to how you can help yourself if it happens to you. A blocked drain is usually accompanied with by a gruesome sulphur kind of odour, slow-moving drainage pipes sinks and high rising water in bathrooms and WCs. They’re quite simple to prevent before they take place, by sensible maintenance, however they are a lot more difficult to get eliminate once they occur.

Prior to you resolving the trouble with a clogged drain, you will have to determine the cause. A lot of sink, kitchen and bathroom or toilet obstructions or “clogs”, develop, gradually with time. The water drains away gradually, and you might not see it right away or even very quickly, yet the problem is in the making!

Pay attention to sinks and basins when they drain after each use. You might hear an odd gurgling noise as the water clears away. As the obstruction gets worse, the water will take longer and longer to drain away. If you have an obstruction which is getting worse, and the sink is draining away slower and slower, it is not a good idea to leave it.

To fix a blocked drain either use methods 1 and 2 as described below, yourself, or call a plumber. If you decide to call a plumber make that call before the drain blocks completely.

Method 1 – Flushing and Washing Soda

Our Leading suggestion is that for a slow flowing drain a flush with hot water, or vinegar, or perhaps kitchen soda crystals, perhaps both simultaneously, may be enough to clear the problem. If this does not work, or the drain is already completely blocked with no flow, or almost no flow at all, continue to read this article.

Blocked drains happen most often in kitchen areas from food fragments. In bathrooms, shower rooms, and washrooms, hair and various other substances often called “crud”, accumulate in the drain and can stop water flowing. Blocked drains are in addition, frequently brought on by flushing unsuitable things down toilets.

Method 2 – Physical Unblocking Using a Sink Plunger

plumber working to unblock a sink
CC BY-NC-ND by FlyingDJI

If the blockage is in a sink, it is possible to buy and use a sink plunger. These comprise a straight handle (round dowling) with a bell-shaped flexible rubber “plunger” on the end of it. The way to use this is simple. The rubber part of the plunger is placed in a position straddling the drain hole, to fully cover the sink, bath, shower, or basin, plug-hole, and pressed down and up again, rapidly and firmly in a sequence of up to a dozen strokes.

In more detail the method should be as follows:

1. Ensure that any other openings which connect to the same drain are blocked-up, before you start using a plunger to unblock a drain.
2. Run about 4 inches of water into the basin. That should be sufficient to provide water over the plunger’s head.
3. Place the plunger over the drain opening or plug-hole, so that it covers the hole completely, and seals it.
4. Hold the plunger handle firmly and plunge (press) it in, and out, repeatedly using enough force to move the water in the pipe and any obstruction clogging the drain.
5. Repeat plunging 3 to 4 times, and remove the plunger.
6. The water should drain away rapidly. If there is improved, but not perfect drainage flow, it may be worthwhile repeating the plunging sequence again.

Tip: Sometimes it helps to apply some petroleum jelly to the rim of the plunger. That can help to seal the rubber plunger to the basin, for maximum effectiveness.

This action is often enough to loosen the blockage enough for the blockage to move away down the drain pipe.

If neither methods 1 or 2 above work, call a plumber. You can call us on [phone]

How Much Will A Plumber Charge to Fix a Blocked Drain

Employing a plumber to find out and repair a blocked or a clogged up drain will certainly cost a minimum of £50 and as much as £300. It depends upon the extent of the drain blockage and obstruction.

What are the Most Common Causes of a Blocked Drain?

Bathrooms can block with toilet tissue, children’s playthings, and various other things that are accidentally flushed. Plumbing professionals can get rid of toilet and bathroom blockages, and we likewise provide a range of other kitchen toilet and bathroom maintenance and repair services. Call us on [phone]

More About Using a Plunger to Unblock a Blocked Drain

Don\'t use the sink when it is blocked!
Remember not to use the sink when it is blocked! CC BY-SA by out of ideas

Normally, plumbers are contacted to fix blocked drain problems of this kind. However if you are not afraid of obtaining your hands dirtied, there are in fact a number of points you could do to obtain your blocked drain taken care of prior to turning to the assistance of an expert.

How Not to Fix a Blocked Drain

Do not unblock your drain with strong chemicals/caustic acids. They are too harsh and could dissolve the adhesive binding your pipes, or even the pipes themselves. They might also damage aquatic life and could attack your skin.

In the event that you have multiple drains that are blocked, miss out on reading any more of this article. Our suggestion is that you stop trying to cure the problem now, and call your plumber immediately to fix your blocked drain. Call us on [phone]

Beware of a Common Misconception

Most people assume that a persistent blockage will be in their sink or WC close to the sink basing or WC pedestal. However, most plumbers will tell you that they are called out for this quite seldom.

The obstruction clogging the drain pipe is often further away. The place where it is clogged isn’t really usually very likely to be in the pipeline under the sink/ basin/ shower drain but, more likely is generally located in the sewer which is part of the local sewage system If you have a septic tank, the blockage may be in your septic tank gravity pipeline.

All the vinegar on the planet will not touch those types of blockages! So, if the simple cures in Methods 1 and 2 do not work, give up and call a plumber!

Prevention – Avoid Having to Fix a Blocked Drain

Prevention is the best way to avoid having to fix a blocked drain. If a sink or toilet starts to drain way slowly, use methods 1 and 2 before the slow flow becomes a complete blockage and possibly then also causes a flood. Also, don’t wait if methods 1 and 2 fail to prove effective. Get your plumber to look at the problem sooner, not later. Always fix a blocked drain when you first see it, as these problems only get worse in 99% of the time!

One more sign of an impending drainage issue is an unpleasant scent rising from the drain. If an odour occurs you should consider that something is seriously wrong, and call your plumber.

Smells most often occur from exterior drain pipes, particularly a drain dealing with foul sewage drainage from the kitchen area and toilets. If left untreated, any blocked drain could overflow, triggering possible flooding and serious water damage.

Cover Gullies With A Cover Grid

Source :

Exterior drains ought to be covered with a gully cover grid to stop sand, leaves and various other yard sweepings from obstructing the drain. Tree roots as well as nearby pipes could trigger fractures and obstructions/ pipe clogs. You may need to cut down trees which grow roots close to sewer pipes, otherwise the re-growth of roots, even after a plumber has cleared a blockage, can cause a recurring clogging problem and in which case you would be forever repeatedly having to fix a blocked drain.

Final Warning – Read This Whatever You Plan to Do to Fix a Blocked Drain

Prior to dealing with the issue of fixing a blocked drain, consider your safety and secure yourself against injury. Put on gloves and also safety glasses. If in any doubt about any aspect of your ability to carry out any work safely, do not do the work yourself at all. In that case always employ a fully trained and qualified expert to do the work.

Disclaimer: By reading this article it is required that the following be accepted. This article is provided for general informational use only. No liability for any actions taken is accepted. No instructions are intended, or given, in this article which is general in its nature. Any actions suggested may not be appropriate in individual cases, and any actions taken are entirely the responsibility of the reader. Any reader not willing to accept these conditions is not permitted to use this document and shall leave this website, or (if stored digitally or printed) immediately delete, or destroy, this document.


How to fix a blocked sink infographic
How to fix a blocked sink infographic

If you would like to use this infographic on your website, you are welcome to so, as long as you provide a hyperlink on that page, back to this page.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Previous Post
Vokera boiler guide and review

Vokèra Boiler Review

Next Post
Main Combi Eco Elite bolier

Main Boiler Review


  1. Pingback: Emergency Plumbing Services

  2. Great tips! I can now fix our drainage! Finally!

    1. Reply

      Some would say that praise will get you everywhere. But, you are actually just another plumber seeking a link. There are limits to that and you just reached one. So, please do not spam my comments. I will allow this one time only, but if you send such a general comment it really does not help our readers and I will in future consider this as spam and mark all your future comments as banned and as spam for all to see.

  3. hello from Southside Plumbing in Port Kennedy.
    Thanks for sharing this plumbing information.

    • Not so good
    • 30/10/2017

    hi I just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to
    share this information.The general plumbers tips you
    have written about are the same as where I come from.

    Thanks for sharing this information.

    problem is, my drain has blocked again and was only
    unblocked and flushed clean 4 weeks ago!!

  4. great article! thanks for this!

  5. Reply

    Thank you for the lively way you express things through this website and cause response from others. But, the blocked drain in my apartment would not clear through these hacks. Turned out the next apartment was at fault. Eventually removed socking great wadge of putrid nappy wipes. That’s all.

  6. Reply

    It totally worked. Thank yoiu.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Image showing Shrewsbury plumbing credibility logos