How to Unclog a Floor Drain

Clogged floor drains can be a huge hassle. Since they don’t let water drain properly, they keep your floor wet and put you and your family at risk of slips and falls. They also expose you to bacteria and other harmful organisms since the water stands and becomes a breeding ground for germs. Luckily, you don’t have to put up with a blocked floor drain since you can do something to fix it ASAP.

Before you start, gather all the right tools and materials. Get a plunger and an auger (you can buy these from your local hardware store if you don’t yet have them on hand) as well as a metal coat hanger, a flashlight, a bucket, and several rags or sponges. Don’t forget to wear goggles and a pair of rubber gloves.

Removing Visible Obstructions

If your drain has standing water, use rags or sponges to remove the water (you can wring them into the bucket as you go along). Once the drain is clear, take out its cover and shine the flashlight around the opening. Look around to see if you can spot the item that’s clogging the drain; if it’s visible and you can easily reach it, remove it using your hand (make sure you’re wearing your gloves) or the coat hanger (straighten it beforehand so it forms a long metal wire).

If you don’t see anything, stick the hanger deeper into the drain and feel for any obstructions. Once you reach a blockage, push to dislodge it or pull to try to bring up whatever is clogging the drain.

Using Your Tools To Unclog The Drain

If your coat hanger doesn’t remove the blockage, it’s time to use your tools. Get your plunger and position it so it completely covers the drain opening. Add some water to help the rubber bell seal with the floor, and start vigorously working the plunger up and down. Six to ten pumps or twenty seconds of pumping will do. Remove the plunger quickly to create a pressure that will further help dislodge the clog, and pour water down the drain to see if it flows. If the water level rises or stays the same, use the plunger again until the blockage is dislodged.

If you have a major clog, your plunger may not be enough to remove it. If this is the case, you’ll need to use your auger. Thread its cable through the opening until you reach an obstruction; when you do, push down and pull up the cable to break down the blockage. The cable will most likely be covered in scum when you pull it up, so wipe it with a rag.

These are the DIY steps you can take to remove blockages from your floor drain. If you’ve done all of these but still have a clog, you may want to rent a drain-cleaning machine and use it to drill through the clog and retrieve items that may be causing the blockage. But take note that this drill can be difficult to operate so, if you’re not confident with your skills or don’t have the time for it, it’s best to get the help of a professional plumber.

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