How to Unclog a Drain with a Snake? 

A snake is a long, flexible steel cable that has been fed through an auger bit and sharpened at the end to create barbs or fins that help it cut through debris or drain lines, often with the help of water pressure. When your drain becomes clogged with grease, hair and other debris, you may need to snake it to keep it from backing up into your sink or tub and stinking up your kitchen or bathroom.

In order to avoid the hassle of waiting around for your plumber, you can learn how to unclog a drain with a snake on your own. This will work on sinks, bathtubs, and even toilets! Here’s how to do it. 

What is a Plumbing Snake? 

A snake is a plumbing tool used for clearing clogs in your drain. It has interchangeable blades that are pushed down your pipe, which is great for unclogging hair and other things that might be obstructing your pipes. Before using a snake, make sure you turn off your water supply so you don’t accidentally flood your house while trying to clear out some debris!  

When Should I Use a Snake to Unclog My Drain?

Although you might be tempted to use a snake for every clogged drain, that's actually not necessary. If your drain is just slightly clogged, try pouring in some boiling water and letting it sit for about 15 minutes. This can unclog many drains without additional tools like a plumber's snake. 

For drains that have stopped up completely, however, you'll need something stronger than boiling water. In order to clean out your pipes, you'll need either: A: A Clogs-No-More Plumber's snake or B: Hot (and preferably acidic) water. You can easily unblock your bathroom or kitchen sink by following these steps: 

  1. Heat some water until it is almost simmering.
  2. Pour hot, but not boiling water down your drain and keep pouring until no more will go down into the drain at all.
  3. Dump in about half a cup of baking soda and let it fizz for about 10 minutes before pouring in any other liquids or foods that could end up clogging your drain further down line.
  4. After all of those solutions have been flushed through, pour in some very cold vinegar until it won't fit anymore without overflowing into another part of your house.
  5. Leave everything in there overnight and then try running hot water through again next morning

If your clogged pipe still doesn't move after trying all of these methods at least once each, don't worry! You might just need a plumber's snake. The best part about hiring a plumber is that they're going to be more than willing to show you how exactly they unclog drains like yours if they've got some time before their next job.In fact, if you ask politely enough, it's likely that they'll demonstrate what they do even if they are on their way somewhere else entirely.

Safe Ways To Use A Snake to Clear Clogs

You can usually buy drain snaking devices at hardware stores and home improvement centers. Make sure that you read all of your owner’s manual and labels before using one. Knowing how to unclog a clogged drain does not have to be hard! In fact, there are many safe ways for you to do it without fear of damaging your pipes or injuring yourself in any way. If even after trying every trick in book, you find that nothing is working, it might be time for professional help.

Never attempt to snake a drain if you don’t know what you are doing, otherwise things could get messy. There are plenty of service companies who will come out to your home and clear up your clogs without causing damage or spending money on unnecessary work! 


You can unclog your drain and save yourself tons of money by using a snake. There are two types of snakes: auger and cable. Auger snakes are used for clearing large-diameter pipes, but they are not recommended for use in shower drains because they can damage pipes. Cable snakes are ideal for all kinds of drains; their moving parts can withstand bends and kinks better than those on an auger snake, making them less likely to snag or break.

Both these items will be available at any home improvement store. Never use bleach or harsh chemicals on clogged drains; doing so could seriously damage pipes! If you run into trouble while unclogging your drain, contact a plumber before attempting any repairs yourself.

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More on Drain Cleaning

If you are looking for more info (HydroJetting and Cable/Snake Cleaning), see more Drain Cleaning Q & A or our Drain Cleaning Blogs below! 

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