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How to unclog a driveway drain

Updated April 17, 2017

Keep outside drains, like driveway drains, clear. A sudden rainstorm could end up causing costly damage from flooding if your drains are not clear. You can unclog a driveway drain yourself, saving costly plumber fees. Rake or brush away leaves and debris that gather around the drain to prevent it from clogging in the first place. However, if it does end up getting clogged there are a few things you can do to unclog it.

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  1. Remove the metal grill and clear any visible debris from around the entrance of the drain. Pour water through if it will go. If the blockage is close to the surface and not too serious, this may clear the drain. Pour plenty of water through to disperse any remaining debris.

  2. Blast the blockage through the system using a pressure washer. If the blockage clears, continue blasting water through the drain to clear all debris.

  3. Pour soda crystals into the drain for troublesome blockages. Soda crystals are cheap and you may already have them in your household. Pour 500g into the drain and rinse with hot water after 10 minutes. Soda crystals break down any greasy residue that has built up to cause the blockage.

  4. Unclog the drain with a plumber's snake, or cable auger. A plumber's snake is flexible wire with a crank attached. When you wind the crank the snake extends and works its way down through the drain to shift blockages.

  5. Buy a drain cleaning product if you have so far been unsuccessful. They can be very effective but are not very environmentally friendly. Exercise caution because they are dangerous chemicals.

  6. Tip

    If you have to call a professional plumber, ask for recommendations from friends and relatives so that you don't get overcharged.


    Wear protective clothing to prevent getting wet and to stop accidental injury from drain-cleaning products.

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Things You'll Need

  • Water (hot and cold)
  • Pressure washer
  • Soda crystals
  • Plumber's snake (cable auger)
  • Drain cleaning product
  • Protective clothing

About the Author

Steve Sparkes started writing professionally in 1982. He was a journalist and photographer for "The New York Waste" magazine for a decade. Sparkes has a diploma of art and design and a Bachelor of Arts in history of art from the South-East Essex School of Art. He also has a Master of Arts in photography from the London School of Printing and Graphic Arts.

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