A Plumber’s Tips For Drain Clog Removal

One of the most common, and perhaps most frustrating, plumbing issues that most homeowners encounter is a pipe clog. If you've got a drain that's flowing slowly or, worse, not flowing at all, that's an indication that the pipe has a clog or blockage of some sort. Since these problems are so common, you may try to clear the blockage on your own first Here's a look at what you need to know about some methods that work.

Drain Plunger

One of the easiest, and often effective, tools for clearing drain clogs is a plunger. While most homeowners only associate a plunger with blocked toilets, the truth is that plungers can be a valuable tool for drains of all kinds. In fact, many homeowners opt to buy a separate plunger for their sink and shower drains. Smaller plungers designed for these drains are often easier to use, but you can use either size.

Place the plunger over the drain so that it's centered underneath, and then plunge. You can also put some water in the sink beforehand to provide extra force in the pipes. In the case of a double sink, you'll want to put the drain plug on the opposite side. The goal of a plunger is to use the force of air and suction to push the clog along and break it up, so you need to block that opposing outlet. 

Drain Zipper

Drain zippers look a little bit like zip ties, and they are one of the simplest drain clog solutions out there. There are barbed points on the end of the drain zipper, and those points are made to grab clogs and pull them out. That's what makes them effective for things such as hair clogs in the shower drain.

You just put the drain zipper into the drain until you feel it stop, which indicates that you've found the clog. Then, wiggle it around and push it into the clog a little bit so that the points can grasp the clog. Pull back, drawing the zipper out of the drain and bringing the clog with it. Sometimes, this requires multiple repeats to completely clear the drain.


Pipe snakes used to only be a plumber's tool. However, they have become more commonplace and can now be purchased in the household hardware sections of many stores. If you've tried the plunger and the zipper tool with no luck, you can try using a pipe snake to clear the blockage. These require a little bit more expertise than the other methods, though, so you should consider whether or not you feel comfortable handling it.

The pipe snake is made to go down into the drain, with a crank handle that unwinds the snake further as you turn it. When you reach resistance, that's usually an indication that it's found the clog. Then, you reverse the crank handle to pull the snake out of the drain.

Sometimes even the best DIY solutions won't clear a clogged drain. Reach out to a local plumber today for more help and to restore your drain's flow.