How To Clear A Blocked Drain

  • William Demirdonder
  • Jul 23, 2021
  • No comments
  • 15-minute read
How To Clear A Blocked Drain

So You Want To Know How To Clear A Blocked Drain?

Great! Because if left untreated, blocked drains can cause some serious damage to your home’s pipe and plumbing system. So, you want to unblock that drain ASAP and get water and waste flowing smoothly away from your property once more. In this article, we’ll share some easy tips you can try yourself to clear your blocked drain as well as explain the process we take to unblock your blocked drain when our team attends your property. We’ll also explain why drains become blocked by sharing some of the top materials that contribute to a blocked drain.

Hey Sydney, blocked drains are what we do! At Proximity Plumbing, we’re all about helping you try some DIY plumbing before you call the pros. Fortunately, with the right information, a blocked drain is also one of the easiest problems that you can fix on your own. We often find drains don’t usually block up overnight. It’s always a slow buildup over time. Materials like hair, grease, and food slowly accumulate in the pipe. The longer these materials are left to build up, the harder it is to dissolve or dislodge them. So, make sure that you are vigilant about your drain maintenance and clean your pipes on a regular basis

In any case, if you don’t want to get your hands dirty you can book a service with our expert team in a matter of minutes. Click here tobook an online service

Here Are 5 Simple Solutions To Try And Unblock A Drain Yourself


How To Fix A Blocked Drain

Below you will find some fast and easy solutions to help clear a blocked drain yourself: If you’ve ever had ablocked drain, you know just how annoying it is. Protecting your home is a top priority. Often it’s the biggest investment we make in our lives. It’s where we spend time with family and friends. Being proactive with your plumbing and protecting your lifelong investment is actually a lot easier than you would think. Here are some tips and tricks to try unblocking your drain before you call a plumber.

Good Old’ Fashioned Boiling Water, Put The Kettle On Jan!

To loosen up any build-up of grime or grease, get that water boiling. Boiling water is a great first step to try and unblock your drain, and you can’t get more eco-friendly than H20. Best not to use boiling water on PVC pipes, only use it on metal or ceramic pipes. For PVC pipes you can use plain hot water.

Baking Soda And Vinegar

Another excellent eco-friendly option. Start by pouring some boiling water down the blocked drain then pour half a cup of baking soda and leave for a few minutes before pouring a cup of vinegar down the drain. Let it sit and fizz up and hopefully clear out the residue that’s blocking things up. Finish with another cup of boiling water.

You can read more about this method here.

Try A Plunger

For those drains, sinks, or toilets with a physical blockage (something you know is stuck), it’s time to take the plunge. Get those elbows pumping anduse a plunger to ‘bring up’ anything that’s blocking the drain. Plunging can get messy so be prepared with some drop sheets or rags to clean up any mess.

Invest In A Drain Snake

A drain snake is a more invasive tool but can do the job of unblocking your drain quickly. For more stubborn blockages you may have to repeat the process multiple times. You can find these at your local bunnings or hardware store.

Causes Of A Blocked Drain

Here are 15 of the most common causes of a blocked drain that you might have thought were safe to go down the drain include:

  1. Fat
  2. Oil
  3. Grease
  4. Food Scraps
  5. Hair
  6. Tissues
  7. Paper Towel
  8. Flushable Wipes
  9. Baby Wipes
  10. Cotton Wool
  11. Cotton Buds
  12. Soap
  13. Tree Roots
  14. Cat Litter
  15. Foreign Objects


Most of these are entirely preventable with just a little work. Using a drain cover or drain protector can stop food from entering your kitchen sink and can stop hair from going down the shower drain. Items such as flushable wipes, cotton buds, and cat litter shouldn’t be going down your drain in the first place and should be disposed of in the bin.

Knowing What Can and Cannot Go Down the Drain

Blocked drains typically occur when foreign matter and organic debris get pushed down the drain and then build-ups in the plumbing pipes. In case the drains of your home get completely blocked, wastewater can reverse in the pipes while overflowing out of sink drains. You don’t want this! This is a major health risk to your family. Knowing what can and cannot go down the drain is the first step to preventing emergency plumbing situations like a blocked drain.

To keep it simple, the only material that should go down a drain is water. This includes soapy water from dishwashing and greywater from laundries and bathrooms. 

The only thing to get flushed in your toilet is Pee, Paper (toilet paper) and Poo. Anything else, including “flushable wipes”, is off-limits. 


A Few Big Concerns That We See Causing Havoc All Over Sydney Include: 

Flushable Wipes

Talk to any plumber, and they’ll tell you – there’s no such thing as ‘flushable’ wipes. However, they’re marketed, and they do not have a place in your toilet or pipes. This includes baby wipes, makeup wipes, and any sanitary wipes.


Clumps of hair going straight down your shower drain will get stuck eventually. When you wash your pet or your hair, pet fur and hair get accumulated and washed down the drainpipe. Hair turns out to be the most common cause of drain blockages. 

Food Scraps

These might include rice, noodles, eggshells, pasta, coffee grounds, and tea bags. Upon going down the drain, these can combine with other debris to clog the drains underneath your kitchen sink.

Oil and Grease

Oil does not belong down a drain. It not only ends up blocking the kitchen sink, but it can also lead to significant blockages in the primary sewer line. Grease can harden upon cooling. Therefore, it starts acting like glue. It can easily bind other items like hair and debris to form clogs in the drainpipes called fatbergs. 

Foreign Items

In some cases, items can wash down the drainpipe accidentally. Such items can include dental floss, cotton tips, tampons, teaspoons, and small kids’ toys.

Garden Scraps

Soil, grass, including weeds! Outside, garden drains can become blocked super-fast with this material. Bottle caps and straws – whether metal or plastic, straws will create blockages and take a long time to break down. After that big family BBQ make sure all these items are in the bin, not down the drain

 How A Plumber Can Unblock Your Drain

Here at Proximity Plumbing, when we attend a blocked drain, our expert plumbers focus on 3 things:

  1. Locating the exact spot of the blocked drain. We typically will do this with the help of a CCTV plumber’s camera.
  2. Clearing the drain so it becomes usable ASAP. For stubborn blocked drains, we will use a plumber’s high-pressure jetter.
  3. Determining the reason why the drain became blocked and providing advice to reduce the chances of it happening again.

Blocked drains can be a simple fix and hopefully, one of our tips helps you out! However, blocked drains can be a warning of an underlying issue and if a blocked drain is not cleared it could render a bathroom or kitchen inoperable quickly.

At Proximity Plumbing, we pride ourselves on being the plumber Sydneysiders turn to when they have a blocked drain. We have blocked drain experts and we’re here to help with all your emergency plumbing needs. So, if you’d like a super-fast fix to any blocked drain call us today on 0420 102 394 for a free quote. Plus, we guarantee to be on-site within Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs in 30 minutes.

Click here to contact Proximity Plumbing

What To Do If You Have A Blocked Drain?

A blocked drain is considered aplumbing emergency and will need to be cleared ASAP to ensure further damage to your pipe system and mainline does not occur.

When you can see an obviously blocked drain at your home, try the tips mentioned in this article first to try and shift the blockage yourself. If you are seeing signs of a blockage somewhere along the pipeline, but you’re not sure where or how to investigate then please call our team today on 0420 102 394. Our local, eastern suburbs plumbers are only a call away and we’re ready and willing to assist with any blocked drain service.

Why Do I Need A Plumber?

Proximity Plumbing has extensive knowledge and experience regarding all types of drainage systems. Below, they have outlined the following steps that their expert technicians use to unblock a drain.

1. Investigation

Using advanced CCTV drain cameras, expert drainage technicians can position and manoeuvre a camera inside the drain. This technology allows them to accurately locate the problem, with the help of a video monitor placed at ground level. Whether it is stormwater drain clearing or bathroom drain cleaning, CCTV inspection is extremely helpful in determining the best solution to clear any drain.

2. Location

Highly advanced pipe locators can allow technicians to pinpoint exactly where the problem lies. This is done by tracking an electrical signal emitted from the head of the CCTV drain camera. This signal enables them to establish how far along the drain a blockage is and even tells us the depth.

3. Blockage Removal

In addition to CCTV drain cameras and pipe locators, some expert vehicles like the ones at Service Today are fitted with high-pressure water jetting equipment for drain cleaning. A high-pressure water jet will cut through just about anything in its way. This includes rubble, silt, tree roots and, in some cases, solid matter such as concrete and timber posts.

4. Confirmation

Once the blockage is cleared and the pipe cleaned, drainage technicians will send a camera down the line once again. This ensures the drain is completely clear and that the problem is properly fixed.

5. Recommendation

Of course, just clearing out a blocked drain may not be enough to ensure that it won’t happen again. Technicians need to be upfront and honest with clients when suggesting the best options moving forward. We may suggest periodic drain cleaning, replacing sections of pipe or employing our advanced pipe relining technology.

There has been great progress made in the space of blocked drain investigation, detection, diagnosis, and repair. When you know advanced technology is involved, it makes it all the better.


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