5 Expert Tips to Help You Unblock Your Outside Drain

5 Expert Tips to Help You Unblock Your Outside Drain

Written by Ramsay, In General, Published On
June 6, 2024

Blocked outside drains can be a real nuisance to deal with. Not only do they create a mess that can flow back up your pipes and block inside pipes, but they’re also unhygienic. With that in mind, it’s important to point out that outside drains deserve the same amount of attention as you would give your indoor plumbing.

For many homeowners, the simplest way to solve a blocked drain crisis is to call the plumber Melbourne residents use to keep plumbing issues at bay. However, there are a few simple tips that you can try at home to prevent a small problem from becoming a much larger problem.

Why Do Outside Drains Get Blocked?

More often than not, the outside drain is an “out of sight, out of mind” situation. However, when it overflows, the problem is no longer as out of sight as you’d like. Before we jump into the simple ways to unclog a minor blockage, it’s essential to look at the top reasons why outdoor drains get blocked.

The top causes of blocked outdoor drains include the following:

  • Outside factors such as broken tree branches, leaves, and soil
  • Items flushed down the toilet, such as too much toilet paper, wet wipes, or sanitary products
  • Hair and soap from the shower and bath pipes
  • Fat, grease, and oil being washed down kitchen pipes
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Simple DIY Methods Can Help


In most cases, an outside drain can be unclogged if you take proactive action and don’t wait for a small problem to become a vast catastrophe. Our experts have highlighted a few simple ways to resolve minor blocks.

First Things First – Get Gloves

It may look like the problem is only a bunch of leaves that can be quickly scooped out. However, never assume that what you’re seeing is the only real problem to deal with. Any attempts to unblock an outdoor drain should start with getting a pair of rubber gloves. Drain water, no matter how clear, contains harmful bacteria that can lead to disease.

Boiling Water

One of the simplest ways to clear a very minor clog is with boiling water. Boil a kettle of water and slowly pour it down the drain. This will break up clogs caused by hair, and excessive soap suds latched onto other things in the drain.

If the clog is quite severe, you may need to repeat the process several times. It’s important to pour slowly so that the water has time to work through the gunk that may be causing the clog. You can also pour the boiling water into a bucket if you’d instead not expose your kettle to any potential bacteria.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Another simple way to break down outdoor drain clogs is using baking soda and vinegar. This combination works well to break down blockages and eliminate bacteria at the same time.

Create a solution of equal parts of vinegar and baking soda and mix well. Slowly pour the mixture down the drain and wait for it to fizz. This is a sign that the blockage is breaking down.

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Caustic Soda

If your drain is severely clogged and a few repeats of the vinegar solution aren’t working, you may need something more substantial. Caustic soda is an effective cleaning agent for drains but can cause severe burns, so be careful not to get any on your skin.

Here’s how to use it:

  • Add three cups of caustic soda to a bucket of cold water.
  • Stir slowly to form a fizzy mixture.
  • Slowly pour down the drain and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  • Wash down with hot water.

Use a DIY Gadget

Plumbing tools can be expensive, and you may not know which one will work best without damaging your pipes and fixtures. An old DIY trick is to use a wire coat hanger.

Here’s what you need to do to turn your wire hanger into a drain tool:

  • Straighten the wire hanger.
  • Bend one end to form a small hook.
  • Insert the hooked end into the drain and wiggle the wire to loosen or fish out any debris causing the clog.
  • If you can pull anything out, be sure to rinse the drain with hot water to remove any smaller items. You can also run a vinegar and baking soda solution down the drain to remove bacteria.

Final Thoughts

The trick to avoiding significant clogs in your outdoor drain is to regularly check the drains to ensure that no external debris, such as leaves, is falling in there. It’s also a good idea to rinse your indoor sinks, shower, and bath pipes with hot water, vinegar, and baking soda solution.

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This will go a long way toward breaking down any grease, oil, or soap that may build up in your drainpipes. Regular maintenance is a lot less stressful than dealing with a significant blockage!

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