9 Tips for Unblocking a Drain


If your sink is draining more slowly than usual or you are experiencing overflows in your plumbing, you may have a blocked drain. This blockage might have been triggered by the build-up of grease or minerals in your drain, or by more solid material like hair or wood.

All hope is not lost, however. Here are 5 DIY and 4 plumber-handled ways of unblocking a drain.

DIY Methods of Unblocking a Drain

These are simple ways you can unblock your drain by yourself without having to call a plumber. The materials are easy to find and the steps even easier to learn.

Boiling Water

Add detergent to boiling water, then pour it into the sink to clear blockages caused by soft materials like grease. Don’t let the boiling water touch the seal, and if your pipes are made of PVC then use hot water instead.


This works by the use of force created by the pressure exerted from the upward and downward movement of a plunger in the drain to clear the blockage. To avoid creating a mess, make sure to seal off any leaks or points of overflow before you begin to plunge.

Natural Cleaners

Natural cleaners such as bacteria-based enzymes and white vinegar can be used to clear a blocked drain. They are mixed and poured into the drain to dissolve soft blockage causing materials, after which the drain is rinsed with hot water to wash off the cleaners.

Caustic Cleaners

Caustic cleaners are made up of corrosive substances such as sodium hydroxide. For this reason, safety precautions must be taken, and protective gear should be used to cover the entire body when using caustic cleaners in the home.

DIY Drain Snake

These are used to remove blockage materials that are lodged close to the surface of the drain. Drain snakes are made using an iron hanger or any other thin metal wire, and a hook is created at the end of the snake to pull the blockages out. Extra care should be taken when using DIY drain snakes to avoid damaging your drain.

Plumber Handled Methods of Unblocking a Drain

Plumber Drain Snake & CCTV

Oftentimes, CCTV is used alongside a drain snake to achieve the best results, and you can hire a plumber that offers CCTV services. The camera is inserted with a material similar to the drain snake to inspect where the blockages are lodged, and then the drain snake is used to remove them.

Pipe Relining

When using the pipe relining method, the plumber first removes the blockage, then relines the pipe using epoxy resin to make the pipeline resistant to tough materials.


Hydro-jets are water jets that use force to move the materials causing a blockage. They are best handled by professional plumbers, as the force with which the water is ejected is very strong.


In situations where the blockage is extreme, unblocking is achieved by the plumber first deciding where to excavate from. He then proceeds to dig out the earth around it, removes the blockage materials, fixes the pipe, and finally, refills the area with sand.