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How to clear a blocked drain – Complete Guide

blocked drains

How to clear a blocked drain – Complete Guide

August 18, 2023

One of the most common reasons to call a plumber is a blocked drain. Whether you’ve noticed a foul smell, gurgling sounds or your drain is constantly overflowing, a blocked drain can be a real nuisance. Thankfully, you don’t always need to be an expert to fix the issue. PBS plumbing specialized in any blocked drains service in Brisbane and We’ve listed a few of the methods below that might help you get your drain flowing smoothly again. 

How to clear a blocked drain

The best ‘cure’ for your blocked drain is prevention. Your drains don’t clog up overnight, it’s a slow buildup over time of materials that aren’t properly disposed of. Things such as hair, grease, food and sanitary products will slowly accumulate. The longer they are left in your drains, the harder they will be to remove. In the case that you have ended up with a blocked drain, you can try the below options before calling a professional.

Boiling water

The easiest and often first attempt to unblock a drain is by pouring boiling water into the clogged drain. The boiling water dissolves grease blockage and helps to dislodge several substances. Before using this method, ensure that your pipes are not made of PVC as these can be melted by the extreme heat of the boiling water. We also recommend wearing gloves to avoid burns. 

Baking Soda and Vinegar

An easy homemade method is the combination of baking soda (bicarb soda) and vinegar. The chemical reaction between the baking soda and vinegar creates a fizzing effect that can remove rust and other blockages. Start by pouring hot water down the drain followed by ½ cup of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar. Let that sit for about 10 minutes, then flush it through with boiling hot water. 

Caustic cleaner

Another commonly used method is a caustic cleaner, also known as ‘draino’. This is a strong chemical solution that dissolves tough blockages such as grease, fat and oils. When using this, ensure to follow the instructions on the packaging and wear gloves to protect yourself. 


A simple yet effective method is the old fashioned plunger. When using the plunger, it is important to ensure that it covers the whole drain opening to create a vacuum effect. By moving the plunger up and down it changes the pressure and often dislodges the blockage.

Homemade Drain Snake

A plumber’s snake is often used by professionals, but you can easily make a drain snake yourself. The easiest way to replicate the functionality of a plumber’s snake is by unbending a household metal coat hanger and creating a small hook on the end. By feeding the hook through the drain, you’ll be able to fish out local blockages by rotating the hook around. This method is most effective in showers, allowing you to easily fish out hairs and other small objects. 

Check the U-bend

If you are trying to unblock a sink, this method might offer the solution. The U-bend is the part of your sink’s piping that is curved in the shape of a U and therefore more likely to trap small objects, creating a blockage. You are able to unscrew the two connections, allowing you to physically remove the pipe and clean it out. Before doing this, make sure you place a bucket underneath the pipe to catch the water or waste.  

When all the above fails to provide the solution, it’s time to call the professionals. Here, at PBS plumbing, we’ve been providing plumbing solutions Brisbane for over 25 years. Our professionals are always happy to help, contact us for some peace of mind. 

Don’t forget, the best ‘cure’ is prevention! So, be vigilant about your drain maintenance and clean your pipes on a regular basis. 

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