10 Tips to Clear Any Blocked Drain in 2021

All plumbing systems develop clogs, there’s no way to avoid it. But minimising the risk is easy with a few simple tips. Our team will break down and show you how to prevent stubborn clogs in a kitchen sink, bathtub, toilet and floor drain.

Our prevention protocols will dislodge virtually any clog, too. But it’s sometimes best to call in our professional plumbers. If you can’t clear a blockage after a few attempts, make sure you admit defeat and turn the job over to our drain cleaning service with a licensed plumber. Exerting too much force can permanently damage a pipe or fixture. Then you’ll be left with some more serious long term problems.

Let’s avoid the major problems. Here are 10 tips to clear any blocked drain.

Kitchen Sink

The kitchen is where the magic happens. Marvellous dinners, scrumptious breakfasts, and the tasty treats in-between. However, behind the scenes, the kitchen’s plumbing is always in heavy use. From the sink drain to the dishwasher, all sorts of cooking grease, oil, food waste, coffee grounds and leftovers are going down the drain.

When it comes to kitchen drains, the most important thing to keep your drain clear is maintenance. Things like food catchers and strainers are great to stop items from entering your drains. But that’s not foolproof. Fat, oil and grease can pass through before it settles and solidifies.

Here are the best things you can do to stop blocked kitchen drains.

1. Never put food waste down the drain: The best prevention for a blocked kitchen drain is to safely dispose of food waste. Dispose of oil and grease in containers which can be thrown in the bin. Always put food waste in the bin or compost.

2. Run hot water to flush down fat, oil or grease: If you have to wash leftover cooking oil or grease down the kitchen drain, run a stream of hot water as well. The hot water keeps the liquid moving down the drain, instead of settling at the first U-bend and building up as a thick, hardened layer.

3. Unclogging your drains naturally with baking soda and vinegar instructions:

Half a cup of vinegar, half a cup of baking soda and boiling hot water is a simple and environmentally friendly way to clear drains.


Working Time: 30 minutes

Skill Level: Beginner

Equipment/Tools to have:



2 to 4 cups boiling water

Baking soda – ½ of 1 cup

Vinegar  – 1 cup hot water with vinegar solution

How to Unclog a Drain with Baking Soda and Vinegar
In addition to hot water, baking soda and vinegar are brilliant natural cleaners. Their chemical reaction helps dislodge stubborn food waste, clearing the drain and removing bad smells. You can do this in 4 quick steps:

1. Pour boiling water down the drain.
2. Follow with ½-1 cup of baking soda + 1 cup hot water/vinegar solution.
3. Cover with the drain plug and let it sit for 30 minutes for maximum benefit.
4. Remove the plug and flush with boiling water.

Bathroom Sink and Tub Drains

Compared to the kitchen, both the bathroom sink and bathtub drain are going to be prone to slightly different clogs. There’s no food waste, instead, there’s soap and hair.
Still, you can use the same drain cleaning methods in the bathroom as you would elsewhere. Boiling water, baking soda and vinegar can all make for simple DIY cleaning solutions.

But when there’s hair down there, you might need something different.

4. Catch hair with a wire coat hanger: Always do your best to catch long hair before it runs down the drain. But if there is a likely build-up, a coat hanger can help! Using an old school wire coat hanger, bend it into shape so you can wriggle the hooked end down the drain. Twirl the wire around and it will latch onto any hair within reach. You can also purchase a small, handheld plastic drain snake for the same job!

5. The trusty plunger: Both the tub and sink can benefit from a plunger. In the bath, plug the overflow drain to help create a vacuum seal, before setting the plunger in place. Fill the tub so the water level is just above the rubber seal of the plunger, then get to work. The vacuum will help draw up any shallow blockage.

6. Use a wire drain auger: You can purchase or hire a wire drain auger for more stubborn blockages. By feeding the auger down the drain you can catch any minor blockages within 6 metres.

Unclogging sink trap


The most likely place for a blockage is in the toilet. Not only can man-made materials cause a nasty clog, but so can foreign tree roots or pipework damage. That’s why there are simple solutions like a plunger that can fix a temporarily blocked toilet drain. But there are also more serious tools and tricks.

7. Prevention and plunging: The best way to avoid a blocked toilet is by never flushing disposable wipes, solid objects or basically anything but toilet paper and human waste. Still, clogs happen. If they do, a toilet plunger or bellows plunger is the best way to see if you can easily displace an offending clog.

8. Hydro jet drain cleaning: When tree roots have forced their way deep down, past the influence of a plunger or auger, you need the hydro jet. It uses high pressured jets of water to slice apart any serious blockage. It’s best to book a local plumber for a professional handling of a hydro jet. They have undergone regular training in the use of a hydro jet and understand how to protect existing plumbing and drains.

Floor Drain

9. Your floor drains are just as susceptible to blockages. They’re a part of your whole plumbing system and will be affected when hair or toilet paper causes an obstruction elsewhere. But you can at least think of it as a handy access point!

Floor drains should always contain a little bit of water so sewer smells remain trapped. So you should always expect to see some water if you even look into the kitchen or laundry floor drains. Always pay attention to how well the water is flowing through. If the level rises too much, you may have a blockage deeper in your plumbing.

Stormwater Drains

10. Keep your stormwater drains clear with regular garden maintenance. Rake the leaves regularly, tidy up grass clippings, and always pick up loose debris after pruning or a storm. This will make sure future flood risk is reduced when the next storm hits.

If you are ever struck by a blocked drain and you just don’t know where the problem is, call in Metropolitan Plumbing. Our team is available 24/7 for professional advice and drain clearing services. We’ll have your plumbing flowing with same day service.

The Bottom Line

The best way to avoid blocked drains is with prevention. Avoid washing food waste down the kitchen sink, or hair down the shower drain. Once something ends up in your pipes you really don’t know if a blockage is forming.

Regardless, it can be handy to have a plunger or drain auger at home. They are simple solutions for minor clogs, including in the toilet. For anything more serious, though, often the best option is to contact a professional plumber. Their expertise will ensure long term success with clear drains.

In terms of simple DIY tricks, the best home remedy is ½-1 cup of baking soda mixed with 1 cup vinegar and boiling water poured down the drain. Let the solution sit for 30 minutes before removing the plug and rinsing with hot water.
Compared to a sink or basin drain, a toilet blockage is likely caused by a larger object than fat, oil or grease. As a result, one way to fix a blocked toilet drain is with a plunger that can help dislodge any offending clog. However, it may not be a long term solution and a more thorough clean with a hydro jet drain cleaner or electric eel may be required.
It’s best to check your local tenancy rights and rental laws, for specifics. However, responsibility for plumbing maintenance can be shared to an extent. Often it is the landlord’s role to organise and cover the costs of a plumber. They may also give permission to a tenant to contact their own plumber. If a tenant is at fault for the blocked drain, it may be their responsibility to pay for an emergency plumber.

Published: 28 Aug, 2020

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