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How to Snake a Clogged Drain

Well, the Biokleen made our tub drain well—for about a week. Then it started running slow again, and for some reason I did nothing. Soon it was clogged tight. So I decided to use this as an opportunity to learn how to snake a drain. I don’t know if you’ve ever done it before, but it’s surprisingly easy. And I feel so handy doing it!


  1. First remove the cover for the tub overflow drain and pull out the stopper, to get a clear shot down the pipe.
  2. Loosen the flynut on the end of the snake (a.k.a., drum auger) to pull out about a foot of line. Tighten the nut again. You’ll have to do this every time you play out the line.
  3. Feed the snake down the overflow drain, turning it in a clockwise direction if it gets stuck. (Clockwise is important; it will screw the end of the snake into the clog once you find it.)
  4. Once you go as far as you want (10-15 feet should be good—I couldn’t actually tell when I hit a clog), start pulling the snake back out, still turning clockwise so as not to unscrew the clog from the end. This is really disgusting, dripping black water everywhere. Wear gloves.
  5. Ta-da! If the clog you remove fixes the problem, you’re done. Leave the snake unrolled in the tub to dry out so it won’t rust.

Unfortunately, while we did find a small clog, it wasn’t the issue. The real clog was farther down, past a drum trap, which is impossible to send a snake through. (If our pipes had a p trap instead, we would have been all set.) We had to get our landlord to open up the drum trap and run a snake from there.

On the bright side, now we have a snake, and it’s so easy to use that in the future we’ll just skip the Biokleen and try that first.


Comment from Sharon
Time March 30, 2011 at 7:53 am

You bought a snake? My parents always rented one–I assumed that they were prohibitively expensive. How long is your snake?

Comment from Brenda Pike
Time March 30, 2011 at 10:27 am

It’s 25 feet. And all of $15.

Comment from Alison
Time April 15, 2011 at 10:17 pm

New movie: “Snakes in a Drain!”

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