How to Use a Drain Auger

What You'll Need
Old rags or towels
Drain auger

A drain auger is a useful plumbing tool, which is effective for removing blockages and clogs in drains. This tool has a long, snake-like body made of flexible metal cable. It is therefore also known as a drain snake or plumbing snake. It is very easy to use a drain auger. Most people resort to this tool when a plunger fails to remove a clog.

Step 1 – Prepare the Area Beforehand

The main purpose of using a drain auger is to get a grip on the clog and draw it out of the drain. If you are successful, the end result will be quite messy. As a result, it is best to prepare yourself beforehand. Clear the surrounding area and cover the floor with old towels that you do not plan to use anymore. You could also use old, unused blankets or rag cloths. Wear gloves and keep the drain auger ready.

Step 2 – Remove the Grill or Cover over the Drain

Most drains have covers or grills that prevent the flow of large materials into the drain. To insert the drain auger inside, you must first remove the grill. Keep it aside as you work on the clog.

Step 3 – Insert the Metal Cable into the Drain

Slowly insert the metal cable end of the drain auger into the drain. Maneuver the drain auger inside and turn the auger clockwise slowly as you push it in. Hold a steady, firm grip on the drain auger and continue pushing it inside till you feel it come up against the blockage. At this stage, pull the drain auger back a little and push it in again. This way, the clog will be moved and the drain auger will eventually get a firm hold on the blockage.

Step 4 – Try to Pull the Clog Out of the Drain

Push the drain auger back and forth a little till you feel it all the way across the blockage in the drain. Slowly and gently, try to pull out the drain auger through the drain, with the blockage intact and affixed to the tool. Place the blockage on the old rags you have placed on the floor and dispose of it later. Flush the drain with hot water for at least 5 minutes and check to see if the water is flowing freely. If it does, you have most probably fixed the problem.

Step 5 – If You Cannot Pull Out the Clog, Try to Break it Down and Flush It

In some cases, it may not be possible to pull out the blockage with a drain auger. However, the blockage may be dislodged and broken up into several smaller pieces that can be flushed away. The constant piercing from the metal head of the drain auger can help you in doing this. After breaking down the clog, flush the drain with hot water. If the water flow shows no signs of clogging, there is no problem. However, if this does not work, you might have to consider calling in a plumber.