How to Unblock an Outside Drain: What you can do and when to call the pros?

How to unblock an outside drain

A blocked outside drain is both inconvenient and unpleasant, which is why regularly checking its condition and performance is crucial. In this article we’re looking at how to unblock an outside drain and when to call a professional local drainage company.

When a drain becomes blocked it can slow down or even completely prevent drainage in your kitchen and bathroom, which in turn could result in it being difficult to wash dishes or have a shower without potentially flooding the floor. Blocked drains can also lead to bad smells and unhygienic living environments, so early detection of problems is very important.

Read on to discover the common causes of blocked drains, quick solutions for how to unblock an outside drain, and when to book a drain unblocking service.

What causes blocked drains?

There are a few factors that can cause blocked drains, so it’s crucial that you check for these causes regularly in order to prevent your outside drain from becoming blocked. The most common causes of blocked drains are:

  • Leaves, twigs, mud, soil, litter and dirt that have entered the drain and blocked its flow.
  • Liquids and food waste that have been poured down the kitchen sink and congealed, such as cooking oil, fat, coffee grounds and food scraps.
  • Wet wipes and sanitary items flushed down the toilet are another common cause, even if the packaging says that they’re biodegradable.
  • Large volumes of soap and hair that have built up in the shower and clogged the outside drain.

Common blocked drain issues

Before you put on your rubber gloves, you need to know whether the drain blockage is your responsibility to fix. If the problem is located in your private drain within the boundary of your property, you can try to unblock it yourself. However, if the issue lies within an external drain or lateral drain that’s shared with neighbours, it will probably be a case of calling your water provider and letting them know that a repair is required.

If the drain is situated in your garden or any other part of your property, you can go ahead and try to fix it yourself. There will be clear signs of drain blockage, such as overflowing water, rotten smells or even a very obvious obstruction like a clump of soggy leaves. Read on to discover how to unblock an outside drain yourself, or if you’d rather leave it to the professionals you can opt for local drain unblocking services from All Drain Services.

What to do if your outside drain is blocked

You may be able to unblock your outside drain yourself, as sometimes the blockage will be easy to shift. Below are some tips for taking a DIY approach to unblocking an outside drain.


We recommend using the following items to make unblocking an outside drain a safe and easy process:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Old clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty
  • Eye protection and a face mask are a good idea, as there may be some splashback
  • Bucket
  • Bin bags
  • Large sponge
  • Drain rod (available from Amazon, hardware stores and some supermarkets)
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Cleaning equipment for afterwards

Steps to unblock a drain

Using the equipment above, you can now follow these steps to unblock an outside drain:

  1. First of all, if there’s a large amount of standing water, remove as much as possible using your sponge and bucket.
  2. Next, remove the drain cover by prising it up with the screwdriver. If this doesn’t work, you can tie some string around one of the grates in the drain cover and lift it off. Either way, make sure not to allow the drain cover to fall into the drain.
  3. Wearing your rubber gloves, remove as much of the blockage as possible and put the muck straight into the bucket or a bin bag. This might solve the problem right away, but if the blockage persists you can move on to step 4.
  4. Insert the drain rod into the drain as far as it will go until it meets some resistance. Once the drain rod is in contact with physical material, apply a little more pressure so that it sinks into the mass. Twist the drain rod in a clockwise direction, apply a little more pressure, twist again, and repeat until the blockage starts to shift.
  5. Pull up the drain rod and remove the gunk (this will most likely be shower scum, hair, food waste and garden detritus). Pop this in a bin bag and repeat the process if the drain is still blocked.
  6. Once the blockage has been removed, using your cleaning equipment to remove any remaining mess and to bad prevent smells.

When to book professional drain unblocking services

If you’ve tried unblocking your outside drain using the above steps and the blockage persists, get in touch with a specialist company that provides drainage unblocking services, such as All Drain Services. Give us a call on 0800 433 2302 or fill in our contact form and an expert engineer will fix your drain properly, quickly and for a fair price.

How to prevent blocked drains

The key thing to bear in mind is that most outside drain blockages start with kitchen and bathroom sinks, showers, baths, toilets, washing machines and dishwashers. The gradual build-up of food waste, soap scum, hair and oil can cause havoc with an outside drain, so make sure not to pour cooking fat down the kitchen sink and remember to empty your shower trap regularly.

It’s also important to check the outside drain frequently, as dead leaves, grass cuttings and other garden waste can easily make their way into the drain and create a stubborn clog. Removing any visible debris from the drain itself and the area surrounding it on a regular basis will help to prevent issues, plus responding to future blockages in a timely fashion will stop them from growing into major problems.

Most importantly, don’t forget that if you ever need a professional drain unblocking service, get in touch with the team at All Drain Services right away.

Need quality drainage services? We have got you covered

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.