10 Tips for Unblocking Drains

Blocked drains is one of the most popular reasons why homeowners hire a plumber. Blocked drains can appear out of nowhere – in the sink, in the toilet, or in your outside drain. Sometimes, it even gives off foul smells, which can be a nuisance to your household.

If you have a blocked drain, don’t ignore it. A blocked drain can be a health hazard as it can harbour bacteria and other organisms that can cause diseases. It can also attract pests like rats, cockroaches, and flies. These pests not only spread diseases but can also damage your property.

The foul odours emanating from a clogged drain can also signal a more significant problem lurking beneath. If you don’t get the blockage fixed right away, the problem can worsen and become more costly to repair.

On the bright side, there are simple ways you can clear a blocked drain, especially if it’s a minor problem. However, if the problem seems to recur, this may signify a more serious drainage issue.

Now that we’ve covered the risks of having a clogged drain let’s look at the common signs of a blocked drain.

Signs of a blocked drain

There are four major signs of a blocked drain. If you experience any one of them, it’s time to take action and unblock that drain.

  • Your drain is emitting a bad smell.

Is there a foul odour coming from your drain? Did you notice it as soon as you walked into the room or did it gradually build up over time? This is a common sign that there is something wrong with your drain.

The foul odour is usually a sign that there is rotting food or other organic matter caught in your drain. If you have a kitchen sink that smells bad, it’s probably because there is food caught in the drain. You can try to clear it yourself or hire a plumber to do it for you.

  • Your drain is overflowing.

Overflowing drain water is another common sign that there is a blockage. This can happen in any type of drain, including sinks, toilets, and showers. 

Overflow is usually caused by a build-up of hair, grease, or soap scum in the pipe. If you have an overflowing drain, it’s essential to act quickly as this can lead to water damage in your home.

The best way to deal with an overflowing drain is to try to unblock it yourself. If you can’t, you should call a plumber as soon as possible.

  • You hear gurgling sounds coming from your drain.

Do you hear bubbling or gurgling sounds coming from your drain? This is another common sign of blockage. The sound is usually caused by air being trapped in the drain and preventing the water from flowing freely.

  • Your drain is slow to empty.

Slow drains are another sign of blockage. If it takes a long time for water to drain from your sink, shower, or tub, this is a sign that your drain is clogged.

There are many reasons why drains become slow, which include a build-up of hair, grease, or soap scum in the pipe. Another reason is tree roots growing into the pipe and blocking water flow.

  • There is a water puddle around your drain.

Do you see a water puddle around your drain? This is usually a sign of a leaking pipe. If you see water pooled around your drain, it’s essential to call a plumber as soon as possible.

  • Water repeatedly backs up into your shower, sink, bathtub, or toilet.

This is one of the most serious signs of blockage. If you notice the water is backing up into your sink, bathtub, shower, or toilet, the drain is completely blocked. This can lead to sewage problems and health hazards.

The best way to deal with this problem is to call a plumber immediately.

These are the common signs of a blocked drain. Now, let’s discuss what causes a clogged drain.

What causes a blocked drain

There are several household items, inside and out, that can cause a blocked drain. Here are some of them:

  1. Tree roots – Roots from trees or shrubs are one of the most prevalent reasons why drains get blocked. They can grow into the sewer pipes and block the flow of water.
  2. Hair – Hair can quickly clog your drain, causing a blockage. This is especially common in the shower as hair can easily be trapped down the drain.
  3. Grease – Over time, grease can accumulate in your drain and solidify. This can cause a blockage in the pipe and is often the cause of slow-running drains.
  4. Soap scum -Soap scum can accumulate in your drain and obstruct it. This is one of the common causes of drain blockage in the bathroom.
  5. Toiletries – Cotton buds, tampons, and condoms are not biodegradable and can clog drains and pipes.
  6. Foreign objects – Foreign objects such as toys, jewellery, and coins can be accidentally flushed down the toilet and cause a blockage in the pipes.
  7. Food scraps – Food scraps can quickly build up in your drain and cause a blockage in your kitchen sink.
  8. Mineral Build-up – Over time, minerals can build up in your pipes and cause a blockage. This is often the cause of slow-running drains.
  9. Natural Debris – Debris such as leaves and twigs can fall into your outside drains and cause a blockage. To prevent this, regularly clean your gutters and remove any debris that has been collected in them.
  10. Pet litter – Pet litter can be accidentally flushed down the toilet and cause a blockage in the sewer pipes. To prevent this, dispose of pet litter in the rubbish bin instead of flushing it down the toilet.

Now that you know what causes a blocked drain, let’s discuss how to unblock a clogged drain.

How to Unblock a Drain

For minor drainage issues, there are certainly several DIY fixes you can do to get your pipes running smoothly again. However, remember that while a simple blockage can be a quick fix, it may actually be a sign of a more severe problem. This is where reliable drainage companies like All Drain Services can help you.

But first, let’s discuss the simple ways you can unblock a clogged drain:

Pour boiling water down the drain

Pour boiling water down the drain is one of the simplest tricks to unclog a blockage. This should be able to break up any grease or soap scum that is blocking the pipe. If you suspect that food, cooking oil or soap is causing your sink to drain slowly, pouring hot water may just do the trick.

Use natural cleaners

There are several natural cleaners that you can use to unblock a drain. One of them is baking soda and vinegar. Simply pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by vinegar about half a cup. Next, you should cover your drain with a plug and leave it for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, flush the drain with boiling water.

Another natural cleaner that you can use is lemon juice. Pour a cup of lemon juice down the drain and leave it for an hour before flushing with boiling water.

Acidic cleaners

If natural cleaners don’t work, you can try using acidic cleaners. Acidic cleaners are chemical cleaners that can dissolve grease and hair. 

However, they are also corrosive and can damage your pipes if used too frequently.

Using a plunger

First, fill the sink or tub with enough water to cover the plunger. Place your plunger on top of the drain and make sure that there is a tight seal. Pump your plunger up and down a few times before pulling it off the drain. Then, with boiling water, flush the drain to remove any debris that may have been dislodged.

Use a drain snake

A drain snake is a long, flexible rod that can be used to unblock a drain. It works by pushing the blockage through the pipe and into the sewer. To use a drain snake:

  1. Insert the end of the snake into the drain and push it through until you feel resistance.
  2. Turn the drain snake’s handle to rotate the coil and push the blockage through the pipe.
  3. Flush the drain using boiling water to remove any debris that may have been dislodged.

CCTV Drain Survey

If your drain is still blocked after doing the methods above, it is time to call a professional. A CCTV drainage survey should be able to identify the cause of the blockage and recommend the best course of action to take.

Hydro jetting

Hydro jetting is where your drain experts use high-pressure water to clean your drains. It effectively breaks up stubborn blockages and is also safe for your pipes.

Drain relining

If your drain is damaged, drain relining can be used to repair it. This is a method of relining the inside of your drain pipe with a new pipe.

Drain replacement

If your drain is too damaged to be repaired, it may need to be replaced. This is a more invasive procedure and will require the help of a professional.

What happens to a drain left clogged?

There are several consequences of leaving a drain clogged. Since the water has nowhere to go, it will start to build up. This can cause your sink or tub to overflow.

Additionally, the water building up in the drain can start to seep through the cracks and cause water damage to your home. This will lead to further repairs, which can get expensive. Instead of dealing with a single area like the kitchen or bathroom, you may end up attending to multiple areas in your home as the problem is already aggravated.

Finally, a clogged drain can cause sewage to back up into your home, which can be a health hazard. As we’ve mentioned earlier, a blocked drain can attract pests, which can also pose a risk to you and your family’s health.

Cockroaches, rats, and mice are some of the most frequent pests attracted to clogged drains. These pests are known to spread diseases such as leptospirosis and typhoid fever.

You can avoid any of these consequences by just unblocking your drain. So if you notice that your drain is starting to slow down, don’t wait for it to become completely blocked. Take action as soon as you find the problem to prevent further property damage and keep your house clean.

When to call professional drain unblockers

If your drain is getting clogged repeatedly over time in spite of all the efforts and troubleshooting, it may be a sign of a more serious problem in your plumbing. Call a professional drain unblocking service like All Drain Services if the attempt to unclog your own drain fails.

You need to call a professional if you notice that:

  • Your drain is clogged more than once in a month
  • You notice water damage around your drains
  • There is sewage backup in your home
  • There are strange sounds coming from the drains even after it’s unblocked
  • Your drains continue to emit bad odours

As soon as you’ve noticed these common signs, don’t hesitate to call a professional. Ignoring the problem will only worsen and may even lead to serious damage to your home.

A professional drain unblocker will have the necessary tools and training to unblock your drains fast and effectively. They will also be able to identify the cause of the blockage and recommend the best course of action.

At All Drain Services, our experts in drain unblocking are available 24/7 to help you with any drainage problems you may have. We’ve been in the drain cleaning industry for years and have the experience to deal with any issue, big or small.


There are several ways that you can unblock a drain. One of the simplest ways is to pour boiling water down the drain. You can also try pumping your sink or toilet with a plunger or using a drain snake if the water trick doesn’t work. If your drain is still blocked, it is time to call a professional at All Drain Services. We’ll be able to determine the reason for the blockage and advise you on what to do next.

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Call us now for an enquiry on drain repairs, drain lining, CCTV surveys, or any other plumbing and drainage problem. Our fully trained engineers are on call 24/7, 365 days a year to help out residential and commercial clients in the south of the UK.