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4 Ways to Unclog Your Outdoor Drain

4 Ways to Unclog Your Outdoor Drain

Outdoor drains are an important yet often neglected part of the home. Outdoor drains serve to divert water away from your home so it can drain properly without damaging your yard or foundation. These drains can also connect to your internal plumbing. So, clogged outdoor drains can pose a major problem.

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Fortunately, you have several options when you have an outdoor drain that’s clogged. This article will cover some strategies for cleaning outdoor drains and keeping them in good condition.

Top Causes of Blocked Outdoor Drains

The main cause of blocked outdoor drains is an obstruction of some kind. This can be clods of dirt, sand, clay, and plant material. For example, drain clogs can occur when you mow your lawn so that grass clippings cover the opening and collect in the U-bend.

External obstructions, such as tree root growth, can also damage and clog outdoor drain systems. Tree roots and plants thrive around moisture near pipes running through your yard, and their roots can enter pipes, creating bends and blockages that wastewater can’t pass through.

Outdoor drain clogs might not seem like much of a problem. After all, it’s outside your house, so what’s the big deal? However, landscaping takes into account water drainage; blocked drains keep water from draining properly out of your yard. Standing water pools can cause soil erosion and, in the worst case, infiltrate and damage your house’s foundation — a time-consuming and expensive repair process.

It’s in your best interest to deal with drain cleaning properly. You can try a DIY solution, or you can call qualified experts like us, Horizon Services, to handle the problem.

Steps to Unclog Your Outdoor Drain

A clogged outdoor drain is no doubt frustrating, but don’t worry! Unclogging a drain can be fairly straightforward. Below are the steps you should follow if you suspect you have an outdoor drain that’s clogged.


First, you need to identify the location and extent of the clog. If the clog is not visible from the main drain grate, it will most likely be more difficult to remove. If it is a particularly large clog, you may want to consider calling a professional.

Retrieval of Objects and Materials

Once you identify the location of the clog, you can try to fish it out manually. Remove any drain covers (taking care not to lose any screws), and use gloves to grab and remove blockages. Be sure you dispose of blockages separately in a bucket so they don’t flow back into the drain and recreate the blockage.

Required Tools

If you can’t get rid of the clog with your hands, you can start using tools. The simplest option is to use a drain snake or auger to pierce and break up the clog. If you need something stronger, you can try using high-pressure water from a power washer to force clogs through the pipes. If you use a power washer, be sure to wear gloves as well as eye and ear protection.

Eliminating the Blockage

Push the shaft of the snake or auger through the main body of the blockage and twist. The twisting motion will grip the clog and break it into pieces. Some of the blockages might flush naturally down through the pipe, but you should try to remove larger pieces, or they might get stuck further in the drain.

Clean Up

For clean-up, make sure you clean the opening of the pipe and the main drain grate. You may also want to consider cutting the grass near the drain opening and removing nearby vegetation to prevent future clogs. Also, scheduling professional drain cleaning every six months can protect your drains and catch clogs before they fully form.

4 Ways to Unclog Your Outdoor Drain

Ways to Unclog an Outside Drain

Some outdoor drain clogs are stubborn and take a little more creativity and work to get rid of. If the previous guide did not help, you can try these other solutions if your outside drain is clogged.

1. Use a Bent Wire Hanger

If you don’t have the time or money for a drain snake or auger, you can instead try a bent wire coat hanger. Unfold the hanger and create a small J-shaped hook at the end. Work the hook around the edge of the drain and try to fish out parts of the blockage.

2. Boiling Water

Boiling water is another simple and effective drain-cleaning hack. Boil at least a quart of water and slowly pour it down the drain in smooth spurts. You need to give the water time to work its way through clogs and destroy blockages, so don’t pour it all at once.

3. Vinegar and Baking Soda

Anyone who’s ever made a science fair volcano knows this trick. Baking soda and vinegar react to create a thick, frothy mixture that dissolves organic blockages. Mix equal parts baking soda and vinegar in the drain pipe, leave for at least 30 minutes, then run hot water through the drain to clear the last vestiges of blockages.

4. Caustic Soda

For particularly tough and stubborn blockages, you can try a caustic soda cleaning solution. Caustic sodas contain highly reactive sodium hydroxide that can dissolve organic matter, such as grease or plant materials. Sodium hydroxide also reacts with other chemicals in the cleaner to produce heat, which helps soften and loosen drain clogs.

Horizon Staff

Drain Repair and Cleaning Services

Horizon Services is the area’s number one provider of drain cleaning and drain repair services. Schedule an appointment today!

Neglecting clogs can damage drains and pipes, so an outdoor drain that’s clogged should be addressed promptly. When you need certified plumbers in Pottstown, PA, Horizon Services is the best choice. We offer a wide range of plumbing services, ranging from drain cleaning and leak repair to sewer line replacement. In our 35 years of operation, we have served thousands of satisfied customers!

Don’t neglect drain cleaning and drain services! Call Horizon Services at 1-800-642-4419 or send us a message online today to schedule an appointment!


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