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Blog: How To Unblock A Sink & Drain

How To Unblock A Sink & Drain 3 Sep 2014

How To Unblock A Sink & Drain

Before starting, make sure that you wear protective PVC gloves and waterproofs to protect yourself from the potentially harmful drain water.

  • Lift the drain cover nearest to the house and inspect the chamber. You can use a spade to lever up the edge of a cover if it is a smaller, lighter cover. For heavier drain covers you should use a drain cover lifter, as it is the safest and easiest way of lifting them.
  • If the chamber is empty, the blockage is somewhere inside the pipe, from the house to the chamber. If the chamber is full of water then the blockage is somewhere further along the pipework, nearer the mains sewer.
  • Next, you need to insert the drain rods. Screw together two or three of the drain rods and add the plunger head. Push the end into the pipe opening, towards the blockage and slowly rotate the rods clockwise to make it easier to push them forward. Never twist them anti-clockwise or the rod connectors may unscrew and come apart in the drain.
  • To send the drain rods further into the drain, keep adding extra sections of drain rod and pushing them further into the drain until you feel the resistance of the blockage in the pipe. When you can feel the blockage, move the plunger quickly back and forth to try and dislodge it. If this doesn't work, remove the rods and fit the screw attachment and try again. Keep twisting and pushing the rods until water flows through. Try to pick out any loosened debris as it comes to the inspection chamber.
  • Finally, run the hot taps in the house and add a detergent to dislodge any fat and clean through the pipes. Leave the taps running for at least five minutes and check that the water flows away as normal. Once the water flow seems normal again you can place the the cover back over the drain. If this has not cleared the drain and the water still doesn't flush away, you should call in a professional.
  • Before packing away the drain rods, clean them thoroughly with plenty of fresh water and leave them to dry.


You should read the manual thoroughly before using any drain unblocking equipment and you must use appropriate safety equipment, including a pair of rubber gloves. Never put your hands into a drain when you can't see into it. Remember - prevention is always better than cure, and less messy! So take care when flushing objects down plug holes and drains. It is also advisable to regularly clear leaves and other foliage from outside drains, covering the drains in mesh or netting to prevent blockages from occurring.

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