Drain Auger: Clear Clogged Drains Quickly


When a sink in your home begins to slow or stop up, it is a good idea to consider purchasing a drain auger or “snake.” A drain auger is a tool for eliminating blockages that accumulate in drainpipes and plumbing. The tool is especially useful for those clogs that don’t appear to be solvable by conventional unclogging methods such as plungers or chemical solutions.

The most common kind of drain auger is a plastic or metal cylinder with a handle on one end and a flexible cable that protrudes from the other. The cable typically terminates with a gear or a head that is designed to catch onto, push through, and break up the clog.

If you find yourself in a situation where a clogged drain needs to be cleared quickly, a drain auger is the perfect solution. There are a few simple steps to follow in order to successfully use an auger.

How To Use a Drain Auger

Safety First

Before using a drain auger, make sure to wear goggles, gloves, and other safety equipment that is recommended by the manufacturer of the auger.

Lose the Trap

In order to get access to the obstruction, you must first remove the trap. The trap is a U or J-shaped piece of pipe that collects debris and is found beneath the sink or around the base of the toilet.

Insert the Auger

Once the trap is off, the auger can be inserted into the drain. Simply press the end with the gear down so that the cable follows the curve of the pipe. Make sure to keep a firm-but-gentle grip on the cable while pushing it down the drain.

Push On

Once the cable is in position, begin pushing on the hand crank or other device used to operate the auger. This should begin to move the cable down the drain as well as pushing through the obstruction.

Clear Out

When the crank reaches a certain position, the auger will begin to pull out the debris and obstructions that were blocking the pipes. Once the cable has been completely removed from the drain, the obstruction has been cleared.

Wait & Flush

Once the obstruction has been cleared from the pipes, give it a few minutes for the material to finish its way through the pipes. Then flush water through the system to see if it clears up completely. If not, repeat the steps above.

Benefits of Using a Drain Auger

Using a drain auger is a great solution for unclogging drains due to its easy-to-use design, fast-acting capabilities, and budget-friendly price tag.


The design of a drain auger allows it to quickly grip onto, push through, and break up clogs, making it much faster than other unclogging methods.

Easy to Use

Drain augers are designed to be easy to use, even for a novice do-it-yourselfer. Most models require minimal setup and can be used without any prior experience.


Compared to hiring a professional plumbing service, a drain auger is much more budget-friendly and costs a fraction of the price.

Features to Look for in a Drain Auger

When shopping for a drain auger, there are a few features you should look for in order to make sure you are getting the best one for your needs.

Flexible Cable

A flexible cable is able to extend down tight angles, letting you reach clogs that may be further down the pipe.

Auger Head

The head of the auger should be able to break up tough clogs, such as heavy grease and tree roots. Make sure the head is made of sturdy material.

Cable Length

Choosing a model with a longer cable gives you more reach and decreases the chances of getting stuck on a tricky bend in the pipeline.


The handle should be comfortable and easy to grip even in tight spaces. Look for one that has a non-slip rubber cover to ensure maximum control.

Checklist for Using a Drain Auger

Before using a drain auger, make sure to prepare your work area and safety equipment:

❏  Wear safety goggles, gloves, and any other equipment recommended by the manufacturer

❏ Clear out any items from the area that may be in the way

❏ Clean off any dust or debris from the drain

❏ Check for any loose fittings or pipes

Once your work area is prepared, follow these steps:

❏ Remove the trap from beneath the sink or toilet

❏ Carefully insert the auger cable into the drain

❏ Apply gentle pressure on the hand crank to push the cable further down the drain

❏ Keep cranking the auger until it starts to break up the clog

❏ When the cable is removed, flush water through the drain to make sure the obstruction is gone


Q: How do I adjust the tension of an auger cable?

A: The tension of an auger cable can be adjusted by using an adjustable wrench to tighten or loosen the screws on the side of the auger’s head.

Q: Is it safe to use a drain auger on old plumbing?

A: Yes, it is safe to use a drain auger on old plumbing as long as the auger is designed for the specific type of pipe. Always take extra precaution when using an auger on old plumbing and make sure to wear protective gear.

Q: What should I do if the auger cable gets stuck?

A: If the auger cable gets stuck, turn off the device and slowly back the cable out. Retry with different lengths or angles to find the best fit and the most effective way of breaking up the clog.

Q: How often should I use a drain auger?

A: You should only use a drain auger when you have an ongoing problem with a clogged drain. It is not recommended to use one regularly as a preventative measure, as it can damage the pipes.


A drain auger is a great tool to have on hand when dealing with a clogged drain. Not only is it much faster than other unclogging methods, but it is also budget-friendly, easy to use, and efficient. Make sure to follow safety precautions and to use the checklist provided to ensure the best results.

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