Drain blockages can occur in any drain inside your home, and if you’re the DIY type, you might be tempted to try to clean your drains by yourself. While you can certainly try to dislodge a clog, success depends on knowing where the clog is located, using the right tools, and performing the right drain cleaning techniques.

Unfortunately, for the untrained person, DIY drain cleaning typically involves plenty of mistakes and ultimately, an unsatisfactory result. At Drain Blaster Bill’s Sewer & Drain Cleaning, we hear about a handful of highly common drain cleaning mistakes when we visit Twin Cities homes. Read on to find out what they are, so you don’t make them too. 

Failing to Call a Professional Drain Cleaning Service

If you don’t have the right tools to clear a drain, you shouldn’t attempt the job yourself. Period. Drain cleaning is best performed after a comprehensive camera drain inspection locates and identifies the clog.

Without that inspection, you won’t know where the clog is, how severe it is, or what it’s comprised of. You also won’t know whether the interior of the pipe is in questionable condition, and if it is, performing DIY drain cleaning could cause further damage.

Calling in a professional to handle drain blockages is the most effective and safest way to ensure your drains are clear, clean, and fully functional. And scheduling routine, maintenance drain cleaning services will keep them that way.

Improper Plunger Selection

Using a plunger to clear a clogged drain seems painfully straightforward, right? You stick the rubber part over the drain, move the tool up and down, and the clog should dislodge, right? In theory? Yes. In practice? Not always.

Many people make the mistake of using the wrong plunger for the job. Take for example a toilet plunger. The tool is designed to dislodge minor toilet clogs, but many people attempt to use it on sink drains, shower drains, floor drains, and laundry drains. That’s a mistake.

There are different types of plungers out there for different types of drains. Toilet plungers might be the most well-known variant of the tool, but they’re not effective for every drain.

Using Chemical Drain Cleaners to Clear Clogged Drains

Though chemical drain cleaners are widely available, and it can be tempting to turn to these products in a pinch, you really shouldn’t use them. Not only do they contain extremely harsh chemicals that can damage your plumbing but they also rarely live up to their lofty claims.

While the chemicals in these products are designed to break down drain clogs, they don’t typically stop there. A corrosive chemical is a corrosive chemical — it doesn’t distinguish between a drain blockage and other materials; it reacts with everything it touches.

To prevent pipe damage, it’s best to avoid chemical drain cleaning products if at all possible. While a couple of uses won’t destine your pipes to an untimely death, repeated use can certainly do a number on your plumbing system, especially if it’s old.

Using a Standard Water Hose to Flush Slow Outdoor Drains

If you’ve ever watched a plumber flush a clogged drain with water, it’s easy to assume your standard garden hose can accomplish the same job. But it can’t.

While water is an excellent tool for drain cleaning, the stream of water that your garden hose produces isn’t the same as the stream of water that professional drain cleaning tools emit. A drain cleaning specialist uses a technique called water jetting to clean clogged pipes.

This technique relies on an industrial-grade tool that produces an extremely pressurized jet of water. Depending on the composition of the clog, the water may also contain abrasive substances to break it apart. While the technique is highly effective, it requires that the water entering the pipe be highly pressurized.

Your standard garden hose simply won’t cut it.

Attempting to Clear Drain Blockages With DIY Tools

If you’re dealing with a moderate drain blockage, clearing that blockage isn’t always a straightforward process. For the DIYer, clearing a clogged drain with something like a straightened metal coat hanger (or any other long, flexible DIY tool, for that matter) can certainly seem like a good idea — it’s worth a shot and if it doesn’t work, no harm done, right?


Though it may seem like common sense, drain cleaning does involve a degree of precision and specific technique that an untrained person simply won’t have. Using DIY tools that aren’t specifically fashioned for the purpose of drain cleaning almost never gets the job done because drain blockages are usually pretty far down the pipe.

Ultimately, poking around inside the drain with household objects can force a clog further down the pipe. When you have a drain blockage that needs attention, don’t try to dislodge the clog yourself. Call a drain cleaning specialist who can evaluate the situation thoroughly and formulate an effective plan of attack.

Looking for Drain Cleaning Services in the Twin Cities?

If you repeatedly deal with clogged drains throughout your house or you’ve suddenly developed a severe drain blockage, don’t wait to call our team at Drain Blaster Bill’s Sewer & Drain Cleaning. We specialize in comprehensive drain cleaning services for households throughout the Twin Cities and offer same-day service and affordable rates.

To learn more or get started, call our Stillwater, MN office today at 763-913-8719. You can also request a free estimate here or contact us online for more information.