Unblock Your Drain like a Pro with A Drain Snake!

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If you are looking for another option for dealing with a blocked drain and are wondering what is a drain snake, then this is the perfect tool for the job. Also called a drain auger or plumber's snake, it reaches down further than you can get with other options so you can manipulate the clog. Even the most stubborn blockage can be handled so when you are looking at unblocking drains at home and the plunger is not effective, get yourself a snake. Just keep in mind that there is some risk with a snake that you could tear your pipes and cause a problem to worsen with a leak, so if you are unsure about using it safely call in a plumbing expert. They will have used it many times before!

What does it do?

A drain snake is a long cable made from a flexible metal that has a spring at one end or a small auger and then a handle at the other end. The spring end looks like a corkscrew and that is an important part of what it does. Using the crank or handle it can be pushed down and then turned manually to clear away the clog. As you turn it the snake uncoils and it moves further down and breaks through.

How to use a drain snake

  1. Be sure to get the area ready, this can be messy work! Put on work clothes, put down some paper or old towels.
  2. Beneath the sink is a curved section of pipe called the p-bend or p-trap. It is what connects the sink to the drain system. The curve is to stop sewer gases coming up the pipes and in. It is likely made from PVC but could be metal. Use your hands or an adjustable wrench to remove it. Give it a good clean and check to see if the block is there. This could the whole process finished if it is!
  3. Another option at this stage is to remove the trap arm section which is the pipe piece that attaches the p-trap to the wall pipe. Some arms are glued in place so if you cannot remove it just leave it. Give it a clean as best you can. Taking it out makes it easier when looking at how to snake a drain pipe. Remove what you can if you can reach anything.
  4. Thread the snake into the pipe now making sure you place the head in first and have a hold of the handle. It can help to sometimes have running cold water as you work if you have not removed the p-trap. Do not push hard or use brute force, that is not how this tool works best and it could cause damage. Be patient.
  5. Uncoil the drain snake with the handle and gives it as much slack as you can. Keep turning at a consistent and steady pace. When you feel some pressure it means you have reached the blockage.
  6. Try to use up and down movements and back and forth movements to dislodge it and get through. Stop if you hear scraping and then adjust. If your problem with how to use a drain snake is the damage to old pipes, ask a plumber to do it.
  7. If at any point it feels like it is stuck in the blockage pull it back out. You may pull some of the material with it. Then continue snaking again until it is at its full length.
  8. When you are done you can put the sink back together, clean off the head of the snake and check that the flow works once more. If there is still a problem you have a choice, repeat the process or call in an expert.


When looking at how to snake a drain pipe you will see it is not technical or difficult. It just takes patience and some understanding of how it works. This is not the case of jamming a stick in a pipe and stabbing hard at the blockage until it breaks. You are doing something a bit more finesse than that!

Are you a beginner in DIY plumbing? Then check some of my blogs about plumbing to help you out!

Comments (1)

Potranco Realty
Potranco Realty - San Antonio, TX
"Sold with Potranco Realty"

Thanks for sharing great technique on unclogging drains. Have a safe November day.

Nov 24, 2020 01:36 AM