(404) 437-5437

How to Use a Plumbing Snake to Clear a Clog

So, you’ve got a stubborn clog wreaking havoc in your plumbing system, huh? No worries – we’ve got just the trick to help you out. Enter the plumbing snake, your trusty sidekick in the battle against blockages. In this blog post, Saving Grace Plumbing walk you through everything you need to know about using a plumbing snake like a pro. From understanding how it works to mastering the technique, we’ve got you covered. So grab your gloves, put on your safety goggles, and let’s dive into the world of snaking drains!

Understanding the Plumbing Snake

Before diving into the process, it’s essential to understand what a plumbing snake is and how it works. A plumbing snake consists of a long, flexible metal cable with a corkscrew-like auger at one end and a handle at the other. The auger is designed to snag and break apart clogs as the snake is inserted and maneuvered through pipes. Snakes come in various lengths and thicknesses to accommodate different pipe sizes and clog severities.

The plumbing snake, also known as a drain auger, is a versatile tool designed to tackle stubborn clogs in pipes. Its flexible cable and corkscrew-like auger effectively navigate through plumbing systems, breaking apart blockages and restoring flow. While DIY attempts are common, complex clogs or delicate plumbing systems may require professional intervention. Commercial plumbing services possess the expertise and specialized equipment to handle even the most challenging clogs safely and efficiently. By understanding the capabilities of a plumbing snake and knowing when to seek professional assistance, you can ensure optimal performance and longevity for your plumbing system.


Preparation is key to a successful snaking operation. Start by gathering the necessary materials: a plumbing snake, work gloves, safety goggles, and a bucket or container to catch debris. Additionally, clear the area around the affected drain and remove any obstructions that may hinder your access. If you’re working on a sink or bathtub drain, consider removing the drain stopper or trap to provide easier access to the clog.

Preparation is paramount before using a plumbing snake to clear a clog. Gather essential materials such as a plumbing snake, gloves, safety goggles, and a container for debris. Clear the area around the affected drain and remove any obstacles hindering access. Consider removing drain stoppers or traps for better accessibility. Assess the severity of the clog and plan accordingly, ensuring you have ample time and space to work. Taking these steps not only enhances safety but also sets the stage for a successful clearing operation. Proper preparation minimizes risks and maximizes the effectiveness of using a plumbing snake to tackle stubborn clogs.

Assessing the Situation

Before plunging headfirst into the task, take a moment to assess the severity of the clog. Is the water draining slowly or not at all? Are there any signs of a potential blockage, such as gurgling noises or foul odors emanating from the drain? Understanding the nature of the clog will help you determine the appropriate approach and technique for using the plumbing snake.

Before diving into clearing a clog with a plumbing snake, it’s crucial to assess the situation thoroughly. Start by observing any symptoms of a blockage, such as slow drainage, gurgling noises, or foul odors emanating from the drain. These indicators can help gauge the severity and location of the clog within the plumbing system. Additionally, inspect the surrounding area for any signs of water damage or leaks, which could signal underlying issues requiring professional attention.

In some cases, DIY efforts may not suffice, especially for complex clogs or those deep within the pipes. Drain cleaning and repair services offer specialized expertise and equipment to accurately diagnose and address stubborn clogs effectively. By entrusting professionals with the assessment and resolution of your plumbing issues, you can ensure thorough inspection and tailored solutions for optimal drainage and system performance.

Safety First

Safety should always be a top priority when working with plumbing tools. Before proceeding, put on your work gloves and safety goggles to protect your hands and eyes from potential hazards. Keep in mind that plumbing snakes can be sharp and may cause injury if mishandled. Exercise caution and proceed with care throughout the snaking process.

  • Prioritize safety by wearing protective gear such as gloves and safety goggles.
  • Keep bystanders, especially children and pets, away from the work area.
  • Exercise caution when handling the plumbing snake to avoid injury.
  • Avoid using excessive force or aggressive maneuvers that could damage the plumbing system.
  • If unsure about safety procedures or the severity of the clog, consider seeking professional assistance.
  • Be mindful of electrical hazards if working near electrical outlets or appliances.
  • Turn off the water supply to the affected fixture before beginning any plumbing work to prevent accidents.

Inserting the Snake

With safety precautions in place, it’s time to insert the plumbing snake into the drain. Start by feeding the auger end of the snake into the drain opening, applying gentle pressure as you push it forward. Use a steady, controlled motion to guide the snake deeper into the pipe, being careful not to force it too aggressively, as this could cause damage to the plumbing system.

When inserting the plumbing snake into the drain, start by feeding the auger end gently into the drain opening. Apply steady pressure as you push the snake forward, guiding it deeper into the pipe. Be cautious not to force it too aggressively, as this could cause damage. Maintain a controlled motion, allowing the snake to navigate through the pipes smoothly. Keep in mind the direction of the pipes and any bends or turns that may require adjustments in the angle of insertion. With patience and careful maneuvering, you can effectively position the snake to reach the source of the clog.

Navigating Through the Pipe

As you navigate the snake through the pipe, you may encounter resistance or obstacles along the way. This is typically a sign that you’ve reached the clog. Rotate the handle of the snake slowly to maneuver the auger through the blockage, breaking it apart as you go. It may take some patience and persistence to fully clear the clog, so take your time and work methodically.

Navigating through the pipe with the plumbing snake requires patience and precision. As you maneuver the snake deeper into the plumbing system, be prepared to encounter resistance or obstacles, indicating the presence of the clog. Slowly rotate the handle of the snake to navigate the auger through the blockage, breaking it apart as you progress. Adjust the angle and direction of the snake as needed to navigate bends and turns in the pipes, ensuring thorough coverage of the affected area. Effective navigation through the pipe is crucial for reaching and dislodging the clog, restoring proper flow to the drainage system. In cases where DIY efforts prove insufficient or challenging, seeking assistance from sewer installation and repair services can provide specialized expertise and equipment for resolving complex clogs and ensuring optimal functioning of the sewer system.

Retrieving the Snake

Once you’ve successfully broken apart the clog, slowly retract the snake from the drain while continuing to rotate the handle. Be prepared for some resistance as the auger may snag on debris or buildup within the pipe. As you withdraw the snake, carefully inspect the auger for any remnants of the clog, removing them as needed to ensure thorough clearance.

Retrieving the plumbing snake after clearing the clog requires careful maneuvering and attention to detail. Slowly retract the snake from the drain while continuing to rotate the handle, allowing the auger to dislodge any remaining debris. Be prepared for resistance as the snake may snag on buildup within the pipe. Inspect the auger for remnants of the clog, removing them as necessary to ensure thorough clearance. With patience and diligence, successfully retrieving the snake completes the clog-clearing process, restoring proper drainage to the plumbing system.

Testing the Drain

With the clog cleared and the snake removed, it’s time to test the drain to ensure proper flow. Turn on the water and observe how quickly it drains from the sink, bathtub, or toilet. If the water flows freely without backing up, congratulations – you’ve successfully cleared the clog! If not, you may need to repeat the snaking process or explore alternative methods for resolving the issue.

After clearing the clog and retrieving the plumbing snake, it’s essential to test the drain to ensure proper functionality. Turn on the water and observe the flow rate, checking for any signs of lingering blockages or slow drainage. If the water flows freely without backing up, it indicates a successful clearing operation. However, if issues persist, such as sluggish drainage or gurgling noises, further investigation may be necessary. Testing the drain verifies the effectiveness of the clog-clearing process, providing confidence that the plumbing system is functioning optimally and minimizing the risk of future blockages.

Testing the drain after clearing a clog in a commercial building provides insight into its effectiveness and helps identify potential recurring issues. Common causes of clogged drains in commercial buildings include grease buildup from kitchen operations, sediment accumulation from hard water, and debris from restroom facilities. By testing the drain, facility managers can assess whether the clearing process effectively addressed these underlying causes. Monitoring drainage performance over time enables proactive maintenance strategies to mitigate future clogs and ensure uninterrupted operations. Understanding the root causes of clogs empowers commercial building owners to implement preventative measures and maintain optimal plumbing functionality.

Cleaning Up

After completing the snaking process, don’t forget to clean up any debris or mess that may have accumulated during the operation. Dispose of any extracted clog material properly and wipe down the surrounding area to ensure cleanliness. Additionally, sanitize the plumbing snake and any other tools used in the process to prevent the spread of germs or bacteria.

Cleaning up after using a plumbing snake is essential to maintain hygiene and prevent potential hazards. Dispose of any extracted debris properly, ensuring it does not contaminate the surrounding area. Wipe down the work area to remove any remaining residue and sanitize the plumbing snake and other tools used in the process to prevent the spread of germs. Additionally, consider scheduling a garbage disposal service to dispose of any waste materials responsibly and in an environmentally friendly manner. Proper cleanup not only promotes cleanliness but also extends the lifespan of your plumbing equipment, ensuring it remains in top condition for future use.


Will a snake clear a clogged drain?

A snake might be good at grabbing onto hair or solid clogs, but not so good at grabbing greasy or slippery clogs. May leave some debris: Even when a drain snake successfully unclogs a drain, it can leave material behind, especially if the auger is smaller than the pipe’s diameter.

Can a snake damage a drain?

If your home’s drainage system is older and made of galvanized materials, there is a very real chance the steelhead of the plumbing snake can scratch the inside of the pipe. Over time, that scratch will rust and weaken the structure of the pipe, until it bursts from the pressure.

How do you clear PVC pipe blockage?

Pour a ½ cup of regular household baking soda into the drain, then add a ½ cup white vinegar. Cover the drain if you can. Let the mixture stand in the drain for several minutes. Next, to remove grease and debris in your pipes, pour five or six cups of boiling water into the drain.

Do plumbing snakes work?

As you use a plumbing snake, it uncoils down the drain, eventually reaching the obstruction that is blocking the piping and causing the backup. Plumbing snakes are often used when the clog is too big for a plunger to solve. These tools are much more powerful than plungers, but they are trickier to use.

Why is my drain still clogged after snaking?

The problem is simply that the snake is too short. For clogs deeply embedded down the length of your drain or sewer pipes, an extra-long auger that is 50 feet longer or more is the only way to reach the clog.


Voila! You’ve conquered the clog using nothing but your trusty plumbing snake and a dash of determination. With patience, caution, and a bit of elbow grease, you’ve successfully restored proper flow to your plumbing system. Remember, mastering the art of snaking drains takes practice, so don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t go perfectly the first time. Keep honing your skills, prioritize safety, and never hesitate to call in the pros if needed. With your newfound expertise, you’ll tackle clogs like a seasoned plumber in no time. Here’s to clear drains and smooth sailing ahead!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top