Blocked drains can cause serious issues if not dealt with promptly. But, if you know how to use cleaning rods you might be able to solve the problem.

Find out more about keeping your drains in top condition by unblocking them with rods.

What can cause blocked drains?

Drains can get blocked for many different reasons. These can include household items - such as oils and fats - poured down the sink or garden debris such as leaves blown into them.

It’s always best to call in a professional, but using a drain rod is a relatively simple job. So, if you’re confident enough and have the correct tools, you could give it a go yourself.

Before you start

Before you start, make sure you have the correct tools and safety equipment:

  1. Protective glasses and some overalls
  2. Pair of long rubber gloves
  3. A hosepipe
  4. A drain rod
  5. Strong garden spade or screwdriver

Finding the blockage

To find the blockage, you may have to lift a manhole cover (if the drain is covered).

A strong garden spade or screwdriver should help to raise the edge and then you can remove the cover safely.

Diagram of a flexible drain rod being inserted into a drain to unblock it

Using a drain rod

If you can’t see an obvious blockage, insert the drain rod and see if you can feel the obstruction. You might need to apply some pressure to release the blockage, but be careful not to do any damage to the drain.

Once you’ve cleared the blockage using the drain rod, wash the gully using a hosepipe. This should help wash away any remaining debris.

Once cleared, safely lift the manhole cover back into position.

Further information

For further advice on who’s responsible for repairing drains, visit the Citizens Advice page.