How to Unclog a Galvanized Pipe

Galvanized pipes are generally made of steel and can be found in most older-style homes.

A common plunger can help unclog galvanized drain pipes.A common plunger can help unclog galvanized drain pipes.
The pipes are less common in newer homes due to the fact that they have a tendency to corrode, which makes them more susceptible to blockages. This also means that galvanized pipes lead to more expense as a result of repair costs. If the galvanized pipes in your home are blocked up, you don't need to replace them just yet or call a plumber. In most instances, a galvanized pipe can be unclogged like any other pipe.

Remove the stopper as well as any excess standing water from the sink or tub. It is, however, necessary to allow approximately 2 inches of water for plunging to be effective. Add water if needed.

Position a plunger against the drain opening and thrust it up and down several times. The up and down motion of the plunger will force the water through the galvanized pipe, thus loosening the clog. The up-motion of the plunger will also create suction, which loosens the clog as well.

Run hot water down the galvanized pipe. If the water drains freely, you have successfully cleared the pipe. If the pipe remains clogged, continue plunging. You can increase the pressure created by the plunging by holding a damp cloth over any overflow openings on the tub or sink.

Try running more hot water down the drain after the second round of plunging. If the galvanized pipe is still clogged, you will need to move on to Step 4.

Pour a chemical drain opener down the pipe. The drain opener should contain caustic soda and/or bauxite. Follow the instructions on the label of your specific brand of drain opener.

Run hot water down the galvanized pipe for at least 10 minutes. This will flush the chemicals from the pipes.

Things You Will Need

  • Plunger
  • Chemical drain opener (containing caustic soda and/or bauxite)
  • Pipe wrench (if necessary)


  • If the galvanized pipes are not drain pipes, but rather supply water to your house, you will need to disassemble the pipes. Chances are the galvanized pipes have become corroded to the point where they are clogged. In this case, use a pipe wrench to remove the slip nuts from the pipes. After you've removed the pipes, look inside. You will probably see that layers of rust have formed. Take the pipes to your nearest hardware or building supply center and have them replaced with the correct-size PVC or copper pipe.
  • If your drainage pipes are galvanized, you can help keep them clear by regularly flushing the system. Once a week, fill the sinks and tubs in your home with water. Then, with the help of friends or family members, pull the stoppers all at once. The weight of the water flushing down through the pipes will clear away any blockages.

About the Author

Arthur Barnhouse has written numerous short stories, contributed content to various websites and was an invited speaker at a university symposium on creative writing. He began writing in 2002 and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Pittsburgh. Barnhouse has driven across the United States numerous times and draws upon his travel experiences in his writing.