• Best way to unclog drains?

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  • I've had a 25-foot hand snake for 20 years. It works, but it's hard to use and makes my wrist hurt. I also have those plastic barbed strips but they are only good for clogs that are close to the drain. What else can I try instead?

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    Question by mark

I have a drain that needs snaking  once a year. I think where the drains connect to the stack under my basement has a crappy joint. 

Anyway I would highly recommend renting a powered snake.


They work really really well and if you find yourself constantly having to snake a drain, maybe the real solution is to fix the drain.

Answer by marginalventures

Not quite the tool answer, but I used to have regular trouble with some drains. The simple answer came from a plumber (to the plumber’s financial detriment and in opposition to my Dad’s instruction): run the water to get the toothpaste not just out of the sink but all the way through the pipes to the street; run hot water through the garbage disposal– and all the way to the street. I haven’t has a problem since.

So, not out of sight but out of the house. (Sorry Dad!)

Answer by davenash

I just watched the video below, and was sufficiently impressed to go buy a drill-powered snake.  My problem is that my bathroom drain is slow, so this looks like just the ticket.


Instead of renting a snake, I bought one off of Amazon for $44: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00203U69K?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00


Answer by hhumbert
1 Favorites

I use ”Drain Care”, an ’Enzymatic drain cleaner’ by Zep, when a sink drain starts slowing down.  Let it sit over night usually solves the problem.  I got mine from Amazon which says it’s been discontinued by the manufacturer but still seems to be available.

Answer by rlbrooks

Harbor Freight sells a 25ft drill-operated snake for $11.99 (or less). Retract when dry and it should last for ages.

Answer by champs

I’ve used the hand cranked snake and it has been good at extracting clogs, but the drains were usually still somewhat slow and clogged up again after a while. Then I used a sewer jetter called a Clog Hog http://www.cloghog.com/ and the results were almost miraculous. Drains that had intermittent problems for years now run like they are brand new. You need a pressure washer to power it, but a pressure washer is a cool tool in its own right so you should have one anyway. Best. Unclogger. Ever.

Answer by milo

Once a month I put a Sani-Clean Batonnet (enzyme cleaner) down the kitchen drain. If/when it backs up, I fill the sink with five inches of water and use a plunger on it. A few strong upstrokes will break an opening in the blockage, and the subsequent flow of water will flush most of the rest of it away, and clean out the pipes somewhat too.

Answer by roger knights

Have a look at the previously reviewed Drain King. It has worked fine for moderate clogs at my home, including twice when a hand snake did not work as well.


Answer by wmowens

I learned this from a plumber. 

You will need, a clean plunger, and a wastebasket, maybe a plastic bag.  For a bathroom sink, 1. depress the drain plug to stop the water flowing out. 2. fill it the bowl about an inch deep, leave water running.  3.  take the plunger and place it over the drain.   Make sure the plunger covers the drain.  4.  Take your hand or the plastic bag and block the overflow hole.  5. depress the plunger (it should blow out some bubbles), and then pull up.  You should see the drain plug pop up and a bunch of stuff blocking the drain come up.  It is nasty, but it will dislodge stuff, BE WARNED.  Place dislodged  garbage in wastebasket.  6. Repeat 3-4 times.  7. Drain bowl and clean up.

Doing this creates a vacuum to dislodge some of the blockage.  This will tend to pull out hair and hair products.  This work on the bathtub also, but is a little more difficult.

I do this then use an enzymatic cleaner.  I do this once a month.

Answer by leeer1
1 Favorites

The alternative tool you can consider is pump like this (unfortunatelly video is in Polish, but you should get the gist): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-iEUeRw9MY

The demonstrated tool is ROTHENBERGER ROPUMP SUPER PLUS but you should be able to find the close alternative in US

Answer by emc2
2 Favorites


Empire D41020N 1/4-Inch by 20-Feet Pulse Auger


This power auger which attaches to your  heavy drill is a cheap way to go.  I’m a professional handyman and have owned probably 3 or 4 of them over the years.  The power augers like featured in the above video are in the $250+ range, the unit we are talking 1/10th the price which is cheaper than renting and also saves you pick-up/return.

This unit is currently not available on Amazon.  I’ve always bought it at Ace Hardware. Available at a variety of different places.

The last one I bought I reinforced by adding a heavy hose clamp on the nose and adding a slightly larger snake.  It’s has lasted much longer than previously not reinforced versions.  Remember to grease after use or it will rust freeze.

Be careful not trying to feed too much snake at once unless you want a fast big time kink which means dead snake.  Snakes can be replaced with common off the shelf varieties.

You will want to wear ear protection the pulsing is very loud yet effective.


Answer by jackrick

I manage a couple of apartment buildings, and I’m constantly clearing drains. I’ve had excellent luck with the Kleer Drain (http://www.valenciapipe.com/kleer-drain/). It uses a CO2 cartridge to blast some pressurized air into the pipe. I suppose it sometimes might just blast a clog farther down the pipe, but I’d say it works well for me about 75% of the time. The other 25% I use an old-fashioned auger. Plus, it’s fun to use! 

Answer by tboot

I’ve used all kinds of snakes. Giant ones to hand cranked ones and everything in between. For all around usage the best one I’ve found is the Rigid Power Spin.


For one thing, it’s relatively inexpensive. It’s also compact. It can be used as a hand cranked snake or attaches to a battery powered drill. The snake coil itself is the same as a coil you’d see in $300 units and you probably already have the drill. The other advantage to using an existing battery powered drill is that you don’t have to wrangle a cord which is always a hassle when dealing with water.

For really big clogs there are always bigger snakes that you could rent, but this is the end all for a handyman that has to balance portability with functionality. It has nearly the function of a $300 snake in a compact package. The only thing it misses is the ability to retract while still going clockwise. (It has to go counter clockwise to retract using the clutch but you can always retract it manually.)

Answer by castle
1 Favorites

I have used the ClogHog to clear out frozen septic lines at my cabin. http://www.cloghog.com. Previously submitted, http://kk.org/cooltools/archives/11585.  In fact, it is so much fun that I almost look forward to the septic freezing every couple of years. Hook the hose up to a pressure washer, and sit back and let it go. It is not very flexible so will not work through a trap and or tight turns in the home.

Answer by jims

The RIDGID Model # 59787 3 ft. Toilet Auger (under $40) addresses the single need of toilet clearing very well.  It is quick and easy, without dealing with long snakes.  This single-purpose device is the quickest and easiest way to really clear a toilet.  If the plunger (next to the toilet), doesn’t clear the clog, I grab this tool.  It has never failed me.

Answer by carlvanwormer
1 Favorites

It may not be popular or even safe if you’re not careful with chemicals, but I’ve always used good old sodium hydroxide when a drain got to be slow.  It’s harder to find now, but if you go looking for soap making supplies, you should be able to find it.

Answer by signal7
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