How to Unclog a Drain Without a Snake

We understand that not every homeowner will have all the tools or equipment needed to deal with every type of drain or sewer line blockage. In some cases, you may be missing the plunger, chemicals, or drain rod or “snake” that would be perfect for the job. In some cases, you may not need to take care of the problem yourself at all, because problems located in mains sewers and drains are the responsibility of your local water company. They are the people to call if there is a problem located in a public drain or main sewer line. 

However, in some cases, it may be that the problem falls within the boundary of your property, not in the mains. In these cases, it will be your responsibility to make sure that the problem is taken care of. That’s why we at Coastal Drains have put together this guide, in order to teach you how to unclog a drain in or around your home without a snake, offering several different options that may see your drains cleared again.

If you’ve been having problems with a blockage in your drain and you think you may need the help of a specialist service to get it cleaned out, get in touch with our team today. We can send one of our trained and qualified engineers to take a look at the problem for you, and once they’ve looked at the cause of the blockage, they’ll be able to get it removed in no time at all using the latest in technology and the best equipment available.

Getting Started

Before you begin work on getting your sewer line or drain unclogged without using a drain snake, you should always ask yourself a few questions first, and know the answers to each:

  • Where is the blockage?
  • What’s causing the blockage?
  • Do I have the right equipment to handle it?
  • Am I experienced enough to take care of the problem?

If you can answer all of these positively, then you’ll be ready to unclog your drain. If not, you may wish to contact a professional drainage company to take a look at the problem for you. This is especially important if you know there’s an issue, but you don’t know where the blockage is, or what’s causing it.

Services like ours at Coastal Drains can quickly carry out a CCTV drain survey in order to determine the cause of your blocked drain. From there, we can also determine the best way of getting it cleared out, with minimal disruption to your routine and leaving your home as clean as we found it when we arrived.

The Hot Water Method

The first method you may consider trying is pouring hot, boiling water down your drains. If the drain is only partially clogged, this may be enough to clear it on its own. It’s also particularly effective if the problem is located in your kitchen sink, as the cause of most blockages in this area will be a buildup of fats, grease and oils from cooking.

In order to prevent these blockages from building back up again in the future, we highly recommend pouring leftovers from cooking and mealtimes into a bag or box that can then be disposed of in the bin. This prevents them from entering your drains in the first place, so you won’t have to worry about them becoming blocked up. If you occasionally run hot water through the drain, this should also help to keep it clean.

Using Baking Soda and Vinegar

If you prefer a more natural remedy for your clogged drains and need something slightly more powerful than just hot water, you may wish to try using a combination of baking soda and white vinegar. Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain, then follow this with a cup of vinegar, before waiting for at least 10-15 minutes so the solution has time to do its work. After the time has passed, follow it up with boiling water to see how well the drain has cleared.

Using a Plunger

If you have a ball spring plunger, sometimes known as a “force-ball plunger”, you may be able to force the clog out of the drain. This plunger type creates an almost perfect seal with the drain you’re using it on, creating more pressure and dislodging the blockage. While ensuring that you have plenty of water in the toilet bowl or sink, use the plunger several times and repeat the process until the blockage is freed.

Unclog a drain

Clean Out Plugs With a Coat Hanger

If your blockage is in a bath or shower drain and you suspect it’s been caused by a buildup of soap and hair, you might be able to fashion an old coat hanger into a hook and use it to fish out the blockage. 

Applying Chemical Drain Cleaners

If you would like a fast and efficient method of clearing out softer blockages, such as buildups of food and fat, soap particles or toilet paper, a chemical drain cleaner might be the best option. However, we do recommend this method is done cautiously and infrequently, as some brands can often damage or corrode your drains. You should also keep all windows and doors to the room open so that it properly aerates, and leave the chemical for at least 15-20 minutes before flushing the drain through.

Whenever you are using chemicals to unclog a drain, please always follow the instructions on the bottle and use protective gear, such as rubber gloves.

Using a High Pressure Washer

If the drain clog is located in a pipe or gully outside your home, using a jet wash or garden hose to break it up is also an option. However, this may depend on the type of blockage you’re dealing with. This method will work best on softer blockages, such as mud or buildups of fat and grease from your kitchen outpipe. A garden hose will not work on harder, more complicated blockages, such as tree roots intruding into the pipes, and high pressure jet washing is usually more safely performed on drains when carried out by experts.

Contacting a Professional Service

If you know that you don’t have the right tools or experience to unclog your drain, or you have tried and the method you used didn’t work, it will be time to get in touch with a professional drainage company. It’s understandable that you would like to handle the problem by yourself, but this may not always be what’s best for your system. In some cases, the problem may simply be made worse, which will prove more time-consuming and costly to fix. 

By contacting a specialist drainage firm to take care of the blockage in your drains, you’ll be saving yourself time and could save yourself money in the long term. You can also rest assured that any expert who comes to fix your drains will have all the tools and equipment needed to clear a drain or sewer line clog.

If you choose to call Coastal Drains to tackle the task of unblocking your drain, we will have a range of methods to choose from when cleaning and clearing out problems in almost any drain. From powerful chemical cleaners to wet vac, industrial drain rods and snakes to drain jets with high-pressure nozzles, we are certain that we’ll have the solution to get your drains flowing as they should.

drain jetting

For Fast and Effective Drain and Sewer Line Unblocking

If you have a blockage in a sewer line or drain on your property and you haven’t been able to fix it yourself, then Coastal Drains are here to help. We are passionate about what we do and we want to see your drains in perfect working order, so we’ll do everything we can to clear out the clog that’s been causing problems for your property.

Our offices are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so there is never a bad time to call or send us an email about your drainage issues. Contact us and we’ll tell you what to do when you need to know how to unclog a main sewer line without a snake, or set out to help clean out your drains if the problem is your responsibility to fix.

Author: Greg Child

Greg is an expert in drainage and has been in the business for over 30 years. He's the owner of Coastal Drains Ltd and a very, very friendly chap.