How to unblock a drain and when to call a plumber

  • Unblock a drain at home using methods like plungers, drain cleaners, boiling water, baking soda and vinegar, or a DIY drain snake. However, if unsure or unsuccessful, it’s best to call a plumber.
  • Call a plumber if home remedies fail, or if the issue persists despite repeated attempts, indicating a deeper problem. Plumbers have the expertise, tools, and technology like CCTV surveys to diagnose and resolve drain blockages efficiently.


There’s no good time for a drain blockage. 

And whether your drain clogs up suddenly or it’s a more gradual thing, you need to know what can be done about it. 

This article will explore some common methods of drain unblocking, including guidance on when it’s the right time to stay on the safe side and call a plumber. 

blocked toilet

How to unblock a drain

Let’s take a look at some things you can try at home to unblock a drain. Remember that whenever you attempt drain unblocking methods, you should always be careful.

If you are ever in doubt, always call in the services of a professional. 

  • Plunger: A good old-fashioned tool for drain unblocking, plungers create a vacuum around the plug hole. Pumping a plunger a few times over a plug hole will, with any luck, draw up the debris and materials blocking your drain. 
  • Drain cleaners: It stands to reason that your first port of call should be to try drain cleaners. There are many chemical versions available on the market, though you might want to try more gentle, environmentally friendly biological options, which do just as good a job as the harsher chemical versions. 
  • Boiling water: Did you know? A bit of boiling water poured down the drain can really help to dislodge any nasties that have built up. Substances such as soap, grease and bathroom toiletries usually have a low melting point, meaning that boiling water can make short work of these types of blockage. 
  • Baking soda and vinegar: If you want to avoid chemicals entirely, opt for the home remedy of mixing one part baking soda with one part vinegar. You may want to start this operation by first pouring boiling water down the drain to loosen things up, and then afterwards mixing up your soda and vinegar concoction, which will immediately start fizzing. Pour and leave for at least an hour to sit in your drain, before introducing another cascade of boiling water.
  • DIY drain snake: You can craft your own drain snake by manipulating a wire coat hanger and feeding this into the drain to draw out a blockage. However, you should be extremely cautious with this technique lest you damage the drain – and it might in fact be wiser to skip this step completely and call a professional instead. 

Sometimes the blockage may be further down in your system than you might realise.

Or you may not be able to see what the precise cause is. In these instances, a professional plumber can use advanced diagnostic methods such as CCTV to locate and deal with the blockage. 

stand alone bathroom sink

When should I call a plumber?

Is your drain still experiencing problems? It’s often quicker and more convenient to call an expert company to resolve the problem.  

You should call a plumber when safe home unblocking attempts have not worked, or if you’ve unblocked it several times and it still keeps backing up, as this hints at a deeper or underlying issue. 

By calling a plumber, you can save a lot of time and hassle, knowing that a swift resolution will be implemented. 

Plumbers also have the tools and experience for a swift diagnosis, and have the ability to carry out CCTV drain surveys to really pinpoint the location and source of the problem. 

Not only that, but drainage professionals have years of industry experience, meaning they can easily remedy the situation with skill as well as suggest ways of prevention for the future. 

Looking for reliable plumbers in  HailshamHastingsHeathfield, Brighton, Hove, Eastbourne and beyond? Around the Bend Plumbing also offer a comprehensive range of plumbing services including, kitchen plumbing, bathroom plumbing, toilet & sink unblocking, radiator plumbing, plumbing repairsfixing burst pipes and leaks & central heating services. Here at Around the Bend Plumbing, we provide an emergency 24/7 service to swiftly diagnose and deal with all your plumbing emergencies. All repair work comes with a 3 month guarantee, while installation work has a 12 month degree as standard. 

Drain blocked? Give us a call today


Talk to us

A: Around The Bend Plumbing
Archer House, Britland Estate
Northbourne Road
BN22 8PW

E: [email protected]

T: 0800 756 5115

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