How to Use a Plumbing Snake


When faced with a stubborn clog in your plumbing system, using a plumbing snake can be a highly effective solution. A plumbing snake, also known as a drain auger, is a flexible tool that is designed to clear blockages in pipes, drains, and sewer lines. Knowing how to use a plumbing snake properly can help you tackle clogs quickly and efficiently, saving you time and money on professional plumbing services. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps on how to use a plumbing snake effectively to unclog a drain.

Gather Your Materials

Before you begin, gather all the necessary materials for using a plumbing snake. You will need a plumbing snake or drain auger, protective gloves, safety goggles, and a bucket to catch any water or debris that may come out of the drain. Additionally, make sure you have access to the clogged drain and that there is enough clearance to maneuver the plumbing snake through the pipe.

Prepare the Drain

To prepare the drain for snaking, remove any standing water using a bucket or cup. Depending on the type of drain you are working on, you may need to unscrew the drain cover or remove the P-trap to access the clog. Make sure the area around the drain is clear of any obstructions and that you have ample light to see into the drain.

Insert the Plumbing Snake

Once the drain is prepared, insert the plumbing snake into the drain opening. Feed the snake slowly into the pipe while turning the handle clockwise. The snake’s metal coil will work its way through the clog, breaking it up and clearing the blockage. Be patient and apply gentle pressure as you feed the snake through the pipe to avoid causing any damage to the pipes.

Feel for the Clog

As you feed the plumbing snake through the pipe, you may encounter resistance or feel a change in the tension on the snake. This is a sign that you have reached the clog. Slowly work the snake back and forth to break up the blockage and dislodge any debris. Avoid forcing the snake through the clog, as this can cause damage to the pipes.

Remove the Snake

Once you have cleared the clog, slowly retract the plumbing snake from the drain. Be mindful of any debris or buildup that may come out of the drain along with the snake. Use a rag or paper towels to clean the snake as you remove it from the pipe.

Test the Drain

After removing the plumbing snake, run water down the drain to test if the clog has been cleared. If the water drains properly and there are no signs of a backup, then you have successfully unclogged the drain using a plumbing snake. If the drain is still slow or clogged, you may need to repeat the snaking process or consider calling a professional plumber for further assistance.

Safety Tips When Using a Plumbing Snake

– Wear protective gloves and safety goggles to prevent contact with debris or chemicals in the drain.

– Avoid using excessive force when feeding the plumbing snake through the pipe to prevent damage to the pipes.

– Keep children and pets away from the area where you are using the plumbing snake to avoid accidents.

– Never use a plumbing snake in combination with chemical drain cleaners, as this can create hazardous fumes or reactions.


Using a plumbing snake is a simple and effective way to clear stubborn clogs in your plumbing system. By following these steps and safety tips, you can successfully unclog a drain and restore proper drainage in your home. Remember to take your time, be patient, and seek professional help if you encounter any difficulties or if the clog persists. With the right tools and techniques, you can become a pro at using a plumbing snake to keep your drains clear and your plumbing system running smoothly.

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