How to Snake a Drain Pipe

A plumber's snake, also called a hand auger, is a long, flexible metal tool used to unclog drains when water flow is less than favorable.

A plumber's snake is used to break apart and remove clogs from drains.A plumber's snake is used to break apart and remove clogs from drains.
The plumber's snake works by sliding and twisting down the drain until it reaches the clog. A coiled bit of metal at the end of the snake grips onto the clog. The snake can then break apart the clog or remove it from the drain completely. Unclogging a drain using a plumber's snake may take multiple attempts before you're successful.

Remove the drain plug or cover plate from the drain, using a screwdriver to remove any screws securing the plate.

Slide the metal end of the plumber's snake down into the drain, rotating the handle clockwise as you move it deeper into the pipe.

Continue working the plumber's snake through the pipe until you feel it reach the clog.

Push and pull the plumber's snake back and forth against the clog, continuing to rotate the handle clockwise. The objective is to break through the blockage or to pull it back up so you can throw it away. If you feel the snake grip the blockage, continue rotating the handle and attempt to pull it back up out of the drain.

Things You Will Need

  • Plumber's snake (auger)
  • Screwdriver
  • Gloves

Tip

  • Wear protective gloves, as the substance plugging your drain could be unpleasant.

About the Author

Supported by his wit, charm and love for language, Perry Piekarski is a professional writer holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional writing from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. Piekarski is the former Executive Editor of Binge Gamer, a full-time sales associate at Best Buy and, whenever he has an extra moment, a freelance writer.