4 Clog-Busting Tools and How to Use Them

4 Clog-Busting Tools and How to Use Them

Whether it’s a stopped-up sink or a slow draining shower, a clog is a nuisance. While plumbers are more than happy to help get your pipes flowing freely, there are several things you can try if you don’t mind using a little elbow grease.

The following items should be in every homeowner’s plumbing toolkit. Keep them handy in the event of a blockage.

The Best Tools for Clearing Drains


When you think of a clog, this is the first tool that comes to mind. But not just any plunger will do the job. There are several types of plunger, each intended for a specific use.

Cup plunger: Your basic cup plunger is your go-to for sink clogs. The cup lays flat over the drain, forming a strong seal. For best results, submerge the plunger in a couple of inches of water in the sink or bath, creating an airtight seal.

Flange plunger: This is your dedicated toilet plunger.At first glance, it’s an ordinary cup plunger but look closer and you’ll see that it has an extendable sleeve tucked inside the cup. That soft rubber flap is called a flange. Fold it out so that the cup fits within the toilet’s drain contour. While the neat fold-out feature allows you to use it for both sinks and toilets, we recommend that you reserve this plunger strictly for toilet duty to avoid cross-contamination.

Accordion plunger: The accordion-style chamber generates a lot of force to bust up even the most stubborn clogs. A word of warning: comprised of hard plastic, this plunger can scratch the surface of your porcelain toilet, so use it with caution.

Plumber’s Snake

The plumber’s snake, AKA the drain auger, features a long, coiled cable with a corkscrew end. This tool takes a bit of finesse. Be careful not to jam the auger down the drain, or you may loosen a pipe connection. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also remove the P-trap (that’s the curved pipe section beneath the sink) and run the auger through the horizontal pipe sticking out from the wall.

  • Crank the handle to guide the cable down the drain at a steady rate.
  • When you feel the head come up against an obstruction, you’ve found your culprit.
  • Gently move the head around until you feel it take hold of the clog.
  • Reel the cable back up and brace yourself for something gross dangling at the end.


This is a handy tool that even the most unhandy person can use. The Zip-It is a narrow, 2-foot-long plastic gadget with barbed notches running the entire length. It was invented to pull hair out of drains, but it may also prove useful for other types of clogs.

  • Insert the Zip-It into the drain as far as it will go.
  • Wiggle it around until you feel it grasp the blockage.
  • Pull it out of the drain. If it’s giving you a fight, then it’s likely tangled in a mess. Just keep pulling.
  • Repeat until it’s no longer bringing up any gunk.

Drain Bladder

Among the arsenal of clog-busting tools is this lesser-known apparatus. The Drain Bladder pressurizes water to blast away blockages. Connected to a garden hose, the bladder expands like a water balloon inside the drain as it builds up pressure. It produces significant force, but it presents several risks. Old, fragile pipes made of cast iron aren’t a contender for this method. The pressure may also prove too much for the P-trap, so keep an eye on the fitting.

Turn to the Mesa Area Drain Cleaning Experts

If all of these tools failed you, then you’re facing a serious clog that calls for professional solutions. Our drain experts serving Mesa and surrounding communities use video inspection to identify the obstruction so we can use the best method, such as hydro-jetting. To schedule your appointment, call (602) 755-2995 or contact us here.