How to Snake a Bathroom Drain: Clearing Clogs Like a Pro

Last updated on April 15, 2024

Learn the straightforward steps to unclog your bathroom drain with a plumbing snake.

Key takeaways:

  • Use a plumbing snake to clear clogs in your bathroom drain.
  • Be prepared with gloves, a bucket, and a flashlight.
  • Gently feed the snake into the drain, applying steady pressure.
  • Use a twisting motion to catch and remove the clog.
  • Flush the drain with hot water to test your success.
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What You’ll Need

what youll need

Before diving into the thick of it, let’s set the stage with the right props. You’ll want to arm yourself with a plumbing snake, also known as a drain auger. This flexible, coiled tool is a champion at dislodging stubborn clogs. Ensure your gloves are on; things can get messy. Keep a bucket handy as well, it’ll catch any spillage. And trust me, the less gunk on your floor, the better. Lastly, have a flashlight to illuminate the unseen depths of your drain. Being prepared is half the battle, let’s get to fixing that drain, shall we?

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Feed the Snake

Before tackling the task, ensure you have gloves on; this can get grimy. Holding the handle of the drain snake, start by gently inserting the coiled end into the drain. Gradually feed the coil, allowing it to find its way through the bends and curves of the pipes. Feel some resistance? That’s normal. Pipes aren’t always a straight shot, so apply steady but gentle pressure, pushing and turning the snake’s handle to help it navigate those twists and turns. Remember, forceful shoving is a no-go—it’s about finesse, not brute strength. Keep feeding the snake until you feel it bump against the clog. That’s your queue. You’ve just introduced the snake to its dance partner—time for them to tango!

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Snake the Drain

Once you’ve got a firm grip on your trusty drain snake and have nudged it down the pipes, it’s time to get down to brass tacks. You’re embarking on a twisty-turny journey—think of it as fishing, but instead of a trout, you’re reeling in a wet wad of hair. Keep turning the handle clockwise. This motion is crucial as it helps the coil on the snake do the nitty-gritty by catching debris and pushing it through.

If you feel resistance, that’s the signal! You’ve likely hit the blockage. Don’t go full Hercules on it; a gentle but firm approach will keep your pipes from singing the blues. Work the snake back and forth to latch onto the clog. Patience is your ally here. With subtle maneuvering, you can clasp onto that clog or break it down into a passable mess. No room for haste – finesse it, and you’ll conquer the clingy clog.

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Extract the Snake

Once you’ve navigated the labyrinth of your drain and perhaps even hooked the culprit causing the clog, it’s time to carefully retract the snake. Don’t rush this process—haste makes waste, and in this case, could mean leaving behind a portion of the blockage.

Gently, yet with a firm hand, rotate the handle in the opposite direction of the insertion. This motion will help to dislodge the clog and entwine it onto the coil of the snake, making for a cleaner removal. Keep the rotation steady and smooth; think of it like reeling in a fish, where a consistent technique is more effective than jerky tugs.

As you pull up, maintain a pulling and rotating action to avoid dropping any debris back into the drain. Anticipate a bit of resistance as the head and any caught materials pass back through the curves of the piping. This is normal.

After the snake’s head emerges, be prepared for a potential mess. The blockage might come out looking like a scene from a horror movie, but it’s a victory for your plumbing. Dispose of the waste immediately—this isn’t a trophy you want to keep.

Flush the drain with hot water after the removal to clear any remaining residue. This acts as a final sweep to make sure your pipes are as clean as a whistle.

The return journey of the snake is just as pivotal as the entry. It confirms that your effort has paid off, and your pipes are free-flowing once again.

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Check the Drain

After you’ve wrestled with the drain snake, coaxing it to nab whatever gunk lay in the pipes, it’s time to test your handiwork. First, flush the drain with hot water—think of it as a warm welcome back to a gunk-free existence. Water flow should now be as swift as a mountain stream, not a lethargic swamp drip. If water still moves at a snail’s pace, consider this round one. The snake may need another foray down the depths to wrangle any lingering drain demons.

Here’s the play by play: Turn on the tap. Is it a sprinter or a meanderer? A quick clear-out indicates you’ve likely hit the jackpot in the unclogging lottery. If water hesitates or rises like high tide, your nemesis—the clog—remains defiant. Repeat the snaking process, perhaps with more gusto or deeper reach, until water flows without hesitation, a testament to your perseverance and newfound plumbing prowess. Keep in mind, some clogs are more sinister and might hint at deeper plumbing tribulations. If multiple snaking sessions don’t clear the waters, it might be time to call in the cavalry—aka a professional plumber.

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