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How To Unclog Basement Floor Drain Properly

How To Unclog Basement Floor Drain Properly

The most unpleasant sight to witness and deal with is a swimming pool in your basement caused by a floor drain. 

Your basement floor drain is positioned in the lowest area of your home, where all the water from the drain, sink, and tubs from your home get accumulated. The main function of your basement floor drain is to direct the accumulated water to the sewer line or septic tanks.

Your basement floor drain may become clogged or backed up for a number of reasons, blocking water from passing through. Regardless of the cause, you should immediately clear your basement since the contaminated water will lead to mold growth, which can cause respiratory problems and allergic reactions. Additionally, it might cause harm to your home’s foundation.

How to Unclog Basement Floor Drain

When debris, hair, toilet papers, tissues, and dental flush, clump up, they can block the water flow causing clogged or backing up. Sometimes even tree roots can be the reasons if you have big trees near your house premises. Plungers, hair snakes, drain augers, chemical clog removers, and even pipe cameras are frequently used to unclog drains. You can unclog your basement floor on your own with these tools as it involves some very easy steps. But in some scenarios, you may have to seek assistance from an expert. We have simplified the steps here for you. 

Tools and Materials Required

  • Screwdriver
  • Baking soda and vinegar
  • Plunger
  • Drain cleaning bladder
  • Snake the drain

Wear the Proper Gear

Wear the Proper Gear

Before you get yourself into this filthy and messy job, get dressed properly by properly, we mean to put on your old clothes which you can throw in the trash later if something spills on them. Also, put on your rubber gloves, boots, and goggles. If there is any furniture stored or carpet in your basement remove them too. Clear the area around.

Cleaning the Floor Drain 

Remove the drain cover before proceeding. It can be removed using a screwdriver or needle-nose pliers. Now, attempt to eliminate as much dirt and debris as possible. If you do not remove the dirt and debris, the obstruction may occur again. If the water still does not drain properly, you will have to try other procedures to totally unclog the basement floor drain.

Plunge the Drain 

plunge the drain

A plunger is a drain unclogging tool that operates by pulling obstacles out of sinks, drains, and toilets. When the handle is pushed, the rubber cup creates a vacuum seal over the drain, allowing the water pressure to clear the obstruction and letting the water flow freely again. However, this will only help with minor clogs, and a plunger will only work if there is standing water around.

  1. Place the plunger’s cup over the opening in the basement floor drain.
  2. Begin gradually sinking to engage the plunger to the floor.
  3. Plunge hard and fast for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove the plunger and see if the standing water begins to drain normally.

Use Vinegar and Baking Soda

cleaning with baking soda and vinegarr

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is an alkaline powder capable of dissolving both mineral deposits and slightly acidic organic molecules such as grease. And vinegar, which is a mild acid, will react with the clog and dissolve it, allowing the drain to clear, so it’s worth trying this combo before buying more expensive professional cleaners. Baking soda and vinegar must be applied directly to the clog. So if there is any standing water, clear it first. Here’s how to use baking soda and vinegar to unclog a basement floor drain.

  1. Pour some hot water into the drain first.
  2. Pour baking soda down the drain.
  3. Slowly add a cup or two of white vinegar to the mix.
  4. Let the mixture sit there for at least 20-30 minutes
  5. Then again, add hot water down the drain. 

Cleaning With Drain Cleaning Bladder

drain clenaing bladder

The drain cleaning bladder is not so commonly used tool but they are very easy and effective in unclogging the drain. Drain bladders are large rubber expansion balloons that are inserted into clogged plumbing drains to inject pressured water. These tools are constructed out of a heavy-duty bag or balloon that can inflate and release water at a high pressure to clear obstructions when loaded with water. The drain cleaning bladder features a garden hose fitting on one end, allowing users to fill the balloon with water directly from the garden hose. To help throttle the water and raise the pressure of the spray, the other end includes a tiny opening or an external spout.

  1. First, select a suitable cleaning bladder 3 to 6 inches in diameter.
  2. Connect one side to a garden hose.
  3. Connect a cold water faucet to the garden hose.
  4. Push the drain bladder down into the drain until it meets the clog. 
  5. Turn on the water slowly.
  6. The bladder will now slowly fill with water.
  7. It will expand and seal around the inside of the drainpipe, fitting the mouth.
  8. You need to ensure that the pressure created will not escape.
  9. There is one small hole at the front of the drain bladder.
  10. Through the same hole shooting, water pressure will hit the clog and will unclog by breaking it down. 

Using the Snake Drain

using snake drain

A drain snake, even known as a drain auger, is a spring-like head and a flexible wire that is coiled into a drum for protection connected to a cranking handle. A corkscrew-style spring at the cable’s end clears obstructions in drains. It will either hook or shred whatever is obstructing the drain into smaller bits that can be cleaned later.  

  1. Start by removing the lock from the auger drum.
  2. Send the cable down the drain until you reach a snag.
  3. Then cable should be secured to the drum.
  4. Slowly turn the handle clockwise.
  5. If the cable begins to twist rather than turn, reverse the direction and start over until the restriction is reached.
  6. Check for more restrictions/clogs by releasing more cable from the drum.
  7. Pull out the snake while cleaning it with a piece of cloth if you’re certain the obstruction has been eliminated.
  8. Pour a bucket of water down the drain simply to make sure everything is operating properly.

Seeking Professional Assistance

seek professional assistance

And if the clog still remains even after trying all the methods mentioned above. You need to understand there is some severe problem with your floor drain which can be solved only by the assistance of experts. Don’t try applying harsh chemicals to it as it might cause more damage. 

Depending upon the various causes like the severity of the clog, its location, and the total hours are taken to unclog, the reason cost might vary. 

The average cost of professional drain cleaning is d between $140 and $340. For serious clog damage, it can cost anywhere between $250 to $3,250 to buy.

How to Minimize Floor Drain Blockage

how to minimize floor drain blockage

While it is impossible to completely stop floor drain blockage, there are definitely ways to minimize it. Regular maintenance, cleaning, and not flushing things like pet hairs, tissues, and excess toilet papers can help to reduce the frequency with which they occur.

Use normal liquid cleaners, not the ones with harsh chemicals, to clean the basement drain once a month. Clean the hairs and debris immediately, and don’t let them accumulate. 

A leaking HVAC system or water heater, as well as a foundation leak caused by heavy rain, are common causes of water in the basement.

Basements with an egress window are prone to collecting leaves when these leaves are not cleaned. They decay and flow through the drain floor, which later creates a blockage in the pipes. Dry P-trap, too, can be the reason for drain blockage. Pouring one or two liters of hot water in your drain twice a month will also help to minimize the blockage.


Learning how to properly unclog a basement floor drain requires following a step-by-step process and having a lot of patience. However, if you can do it yourself, you will save a substantial amount of money. For your convenience, we have outlined everything in detail below. You should have a good understanding of what must be done.