How to Use a Plumbing Snake: A Step-by-Step Guide


When it comes to clogged drains, a plumbing snake can be a lifesaver. Also known as a drain snake or auger, this tool can effectively remove blockages and help restore the flow of water. While it may seem intimidating at first, using a plumbing snake is actually quite simple. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll show you how to use a plumbing snake to clear your drains.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Before you begin, you’ll need to gather your materials. You’ll need a plumbing snake, which you can purchase at your local hardware store or online. Make sure to choose a snake that’s the appropriate length for your needs, and ensure that it’s compatible with the type of drain you’re working with (e.g., sink, bathtub, etc.). You may also want to wear gloves to protect your hands.

Step 2: Prepare the Area

Next, prepare the area around the drain. This may involve removing any standing water or debris, or clearing out any objects that may interfere with the snake’s movement. You may also want to place a bucket or other container under the drain to catch any water or debris that comes out.

Step 3: Insert the Snake

With the area prepared, it’s time to insert the snake into the drain. Begin by inserting the tip of the snake into the drain opening. Slowly and carefully push the snake down into the drain, rotating the handle as you go. Be sure to keep the snake straight and centered in the drain to avoid any damage.

Step 4: Locate the Blockage

As you push the snake down the drain, you’ll likely encounter some resistance. This is a sign that you’ve reached the blockage. Continue to rotate the handle and apply gentle pressure until you feel the snake break through the blockage. You may feel a sudden release of pressure as the blockage is cleared.

Step 5: Retrieve the Snake

Once the blockage is cleared, slowly retract the snake from the drain. Be sure to rotate the handle in the opposite direction to prevent the snake from getting stuck. As you remove the snake, you may notice debris or other materials coming out of the drain. This is normal and indicates that the blockage has been successfully removed.

Step 6: Clean Up

With the blockage cleared, it’s time to clean up. Use a rag or paper towel to wipe down the snake and remove any debris. You may also want to flush the drain with hot water to ensure that it’s completely clear. Be sure to dispose of any debris or materials in a trash can or compost bin, rather than down the drain.

Tips for Using a Plumbing Snake

While using a plumbing snake is relatively simple, there are a few tips that can help ensure success:

  • Choose the right snake for the job. Make sure to choose a snake that’s the appropriate length and type for the drain you’re working with.
  • Use gloves to protect your hands from debris and bacteria.
  • Take your time and apply gentle pressure. Pushing too hard can damage the drain or the snake itself.
  • Avoid using chemical drain cleaners, which can damage pipes and harm the environment.
  • If you’re not comfortable using a plumbing snake, don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber. They have the experience and equipment necessary to safely and effectively clear your drains.


Using a plumbing snake is a simple and effective way to clear clogged drains. By following these steps and tips, you can safely and successfully remove blockages and restore the flow of water. Remember to choose the right snake for the job, wear gloves, and take your time to avoid damage to your plumbing system. With a little practice, you’ll be able to tackle even the toughest clogs with confidence.

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