Prevention is better than cure! Stop blockages before they happen by adhering to a few basic rules: never put fats or anything other than liquid waste down the kitchen sink and keep long hair from clogging the plug holes of showers, baths and wash basins.


A plunger will remove blockages that occur within the first couple of metres of pipe below a plug hole. Place the plunger’s mouth over the plug hole, grasp the handle and plunge up and down until the suction releases the debris causing the problem.

Rather than using a caustic cleaner for regular maintenance, pour a drinking cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by half a cup of vinegar. Leave this to fizz for 30 minutes before flushing it down with around two litres (about four pints) of hot water. Repeat as necessary.

For outside drain blockages that don’t respond to the baking powder and vinegar remedy, you could try a few tablespoons of caustic soda. Put this down the drain then add some water to make it fizz and see if the debris rises to the top. Remove the waste matter using rubber gloves.

If this doesn’t work, you may need to borrow or buy a set of drain rods, which screw together clockwise. Wearing protective gloves, poke the rods into the chamber of the drain and slowly rotate them as you push them in. Remember to rotate them clockwise so they don’t unscrew. Afer you’ve found the blockage and broken it up with the rods, flush the drain with water.

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