A woman watching a plumber use a drain snake in a kitchen.

How to Snake a Drain

We all know the frustration that comes with a clogged drain. Standing water builds up in the sink; foul smells rise up from the drain. It’s no secret that dealing with a blocked drain is a bothersome experience — especially if it happens at an inopportune time.

One tool that is commonly used to remove stubborn blockages is the drain snake. Fortunately, learning how to snake a drain isn’t too tricky. If you’re ready to get started, we’ll go over some helpful drain snake tips at greater length below.

What Is a Drain Snake?

Before we can review how to snake a drain, it’s essential to understand what these tools are and how they work. Also commonly referred to as “plumbing snakes,” drain snakes can be used on a wide range of clogs, from those found in kitchen sink drains to toilets.

image 1

Step-by-Step Drain Snake Tips

If you’ve dealt with your fair share of drain clogs throughout the years, you’re probably aware that you can use many methods to fix the problem. Some methods are easy, such as dumping a pot of boiling water into the drain to break down the blockage. There are also DIY drain cleaning solutions you can make with the likes of baking soda and vinegar.

However, sometimes hot water and pantry staples aren’t enough. Sometimes you need a more thorough and forceful approach. This is where a drain snake may help. Many professional plumbers use drain snakes to remove tough blockages. Although it’s always a good idea to call an expert for drain cleaning services, you can purchase one of these tools to use yourself.

Purchase the Right Tool

Although you might be eager to learn how to snake a drain, you can’t do so without having the proper tools! The good news is that you can purchase drain snakes at your local home improvement store or online.


There are several types of plumbing snakes to choose from; some have a manual handle, while others are electric. These tools also shouldn’t be confused with drain augers, which work very similarly to drain snakes but have a few key differences.

Feed the Cable Into the Drain

It’s finally time to start. First and foremost, you’ll want to start by positioning the auger head into the drain. From here, you’ll need to push the snake further into the drain. Then, simply crank the handle to lower the cable into the pipe. Depending on the location of the blockage, you may have to remove the P-trap on your sink to fully access it. The P-trap is the curved, U-shaped pipe that’s located beneath your sink.

Watch for Resistance

As you continue to rotate the handle, you’ll know that you’ve reached the clog when you feel resistance on the auger head. However, you shouldn’t stop just yet. One of the best drain snake tips is to keep turning the handle, even if you think you already have a grip on the blockage. This way, you can ensure that you’ve completely removed the clog.

Remove the Cable From the Drain

Do you feel certain that you’ve removed the blockage? If so, you should feel a little weight on the auger head as you turn the handle. Of course, in order to pull the snake from the drain, you’ll need to crank the handle in the opposite direction. Remember to be careful and extract the cable as gently as possible. Now, the snake should be free and the clog completely removed from the drain.

Need a Professional Drain Cleaning? Call Magnolia!

As you can see, learning how to snake a drain isn’t too difficult. However, it’s understandable if you don’t feel comfortable unclogging a drain by yourself. Although these drain snake tips can be helpful, it’s never a bad idea to call a plumber for professional assistance.

Magnolia offers drain maintenance services to keep your drains running smoothly. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our experts and wave goodbye to your stubborn drain clogs!