Blocked drains are a common household problem that can cause a lot of inconvenience and frustration. Whether it’s a blocked sink drain in the kitchen or a backed-up shower drain, dealing with a blockage can be a messy and unpleasant task. 

Fortunately, there are several ways to unblock a drain yourself before needing to call a professional plumber – more than just having to pour hot water and drain cleaner to break up the blockage!

In this article, we’ll explore some of the most effective methods for unblocking drains and offer some tips for preventing blockages from happening in the first place. And if all else fails, we’ll also discuss when it’s time to call Canberra Plumbing & Drains to get the job done. 

So let’s dive in and learn how to deal with those stubborn clogs!

Causes of Blocked Drains

Varying factors can cause a blockage, ranging from a simple clog to more complex issues requiring a professional plumber to deliver clean drains once more. 

Here are some of the most common causes of drain blockages:

Foreign Objects

One of the most common causes of drain blockages is the presence of foreign objects flushed down the toilet or washed down the basin. Items such as baby wipes, sanitary products, food scraps, and cooking grease can accumulate in pipes, leading to blockages.

Tree Roots

Tree roots can cause significant damage to your drainage system, leading to blockages and even cracks in the pipe. Roots can grow into pipes seeking moisture and nutrients, causing a drain blockage as they grow and obstruct the water flow.

Hair and Soap Scum

A build-up of hair and soap scum in shower and bathtub drains can prevent your water pipe from draining properly.

Broken Pipes

Broken or collapsed pipes can also cause a blocked drain, preventing water from flowing through the system as it should. The cause is often due to shifting soil or other external factors that put pressure on the pipes.

4 Easy Methods for Unclogging Blocked Drains Using Home Remedies

You can often unblock a drain with a few simple home remedies. 

Here are four easy methods for unclogging blocked drains:

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda (also known as bicarb soda) and vinegar are simple and effective methods for unclogging drains and, in some cases, more effective than caustic soda and chemical drain cleaners: 

  • First, pour boiling water down the drain opening to loosen any debris. 
  • Then, take a measuring cup and pour half a cup of baking soda. 
  • Followed by pouring half a cup of vinegar down the drain. 
  • Cover the drain with a cloth or stopper and let the mixture sit for 15-20 minutes. 
  • Finally, pour another pot of boiling water into the drain hole to flush out the mixture and any remaining debris.

Salt and Hot Water

This method is ideal for unclogging stubborn blockages in kitchen sinks:

  • Start by pouring a pot of boiling water down the drain. 
  • The next step is to pour half a cup of salt down the drain and let it sit for a few minutes. 
  • Conclude by pouring another pot of boiling water down the drain to flush out the salt and any remaining debris.

Use a Drain Snake

A drain snake, also known as a plumbing snake or drain auger, is an effective tool used to unclog a blocked drain. It is a long, flexible cable with a coiled metal wire on the end. There are two types of drain snakes: 

  • Manual: Manual snakes are hand-cranked and are best for minor, simple clogs.
  • Electric: An electric drain snake, on the other hand, is powered by an electric motor and is best for a larger or more stubborn clog.

To use either drain snake:

  • First, insert the end of the cable into the blocked drain. 
  • When undertaking the procedure manually, slowly turn the handle to feed the cable into the drain. 
  • If using an electric snake, turn on the motor and slowly feed the cable into the drain.
  • Once the cable reaches the blockage, continue to rotate the snake, which will help break up and clear the blockage. Place a bucket underneath the area to place any debris that you pull from the drain.


A plunger unclogs a blocked pipe, toilet, and kitchen sink, and most homes have one. It creates a suction that dislodges the blockage and allows water to flow freely through the pipes. To use a plunger:

  • First, fill the basin or toilet bowl with enough water to cover the plunger’s rubber cup. 
  • Cover the overflow opening with a wet cloth if it’s a basin or bathtub pipe.
  • Next, place the plunger over the drain or toilet bowl opening, ensuring it covers the entire opening.
  • Push down on the plunger, then pull up quickly. 
  • Repeat this motion several times until you feel the suction break and the water begins to evacuate. 
  • During this process, maintain the seal between the plunger and the drain or toilet bowl.

Preventative Methods for Blocked Drains

Here are some preventative methods to keep your drains clear and prevent blockages:

  • Dispose of waste properly: Avoid flushing non-degradable items like wipes, sanitary items, and food scraps down the toilet or sink. Dispose of them in the trash instead.
  • Regularly clean your drainage pipe: Use boiling water, vinegar, and baking soda to break down grease or soap scum.
  • Install drain screens: Use drain screens in your sinks and shower to catch hair and other debris that can cause blockages.
  • Be mindful of what you pour into your basin: Avoid pouring grease, oil, or fat down your sink, as they can solidify and cause blockages, even when diluted with tap water.
  • Regularly maintain your plumbing system: Schedule regular maintenance checks for your plumbing system to ensure that everything is working correctly and address any potential issues before they become more significant problems.
  • Use hot water to flush out drains: Pouring hot water through your drains regularly will help break down any grease or soap scum build-up using extreme heat.

Drains Won’t Unblock? Get Professional Help

Are you struggling with a clogged drain that won’t clear, no matter how many times you’ve tried? Don’t let the problem persist and potentially escalate into a bigger issue. It’s time to get professional assistance to unblock drains!

By calling in experienced plumbers or drain cleaners, you can ensure that the root cause of the blockage is identified and effectively resolved. Not only will this save you time and frustration, but it will also prevent any potential damage to your pipes and plumbing system.

So if you’re tired of dealing with persistent blockages and want to know how to unblock a drain and get a permanent solution, don’t hesitate any longer. Take action and get the help you need today by calling Canberra Plumbing & Drains!