Drain Cleaning Tips

How To Unclog Basement Floor Drain?

How To Unclog Basement Floor Drain

When we hear the words – basement floor drain, the scenario that instantly pop up in our brain is –  a round opening, a few inches wide, having a small grill over it. Truth to be told, most of us don’t know more than this, even worse, we encounter the term “basement floor drain” only when it gets clogged and our basement start smelling like an outhouse.

In case, you have been ignoring this diligent, underappreciated piece of plumbing so far and therefore, anticipating indoor swimming pool due to basement floor drain backing up, we are ready to having your back. In this article, we’ll be guiding you through a step by step instructions to unclog basement floor drain.

Reasons of Basement Floor Drain Backing Up

Before we proceed to learn how to unclog basement floor drain, let’s take a look at some of the items you may need to aware of in order to run your sewer system smoothly. A lot of materials can be responsible for making your basement floor drain clogged. Here, we are naming only the most common ones that may hamper your house’s water system.

  1. Tree roots : The tree root invasion on the sewer system is seen primarily on older homes. And you can detect its possibility from the gurgling sound produced in the waterline.
  2. “Flushable” wipes : Paper towels, thick toilet paper, facial tissue and such products don’t break up when flushed, and virtually clog up the wastewater system.
  3. Fat, oil and grease : Starting from meat, bacon and edible oil to butter, chocolate and cream – none of its bits and chunks, no matter how little or big they are, are subject to vanish completely.
  4. Hair : if you don’t have drain screens over your basement floor drain, it’s easy to get the hairs accumulate causing slow flow, prior to total blockage.
  5. Other objects: Too much disposal of soap (sometime in chunks) can form a big, gooey ball blocking the sewage line when you wash your clothes. You can’t also take risk with things like children’s toys, condoms, dental floss or mistakenly dropped jewelry.

Tips to Prevent Basement Floor Drain Backing Up in Future

Bring Changes in Your Regular Habit

  • Using less soap when you wash your clothes
  • Avoid pouring down grease or fat through the drains
  • Cool all sort of fat substances and put them in the trash
  • Keep a disposable container near your reach and toss sticky elements there
  • Finally, inform your family members about all the steps mentioned above

Install a Gate to Keep the Unwanted Reverse Flow Out

This is a one time investment and you’ll definitely be thankful later for taking this decision. Because it will help avoid  not only your own clogged local waste but the repugnant, foul smelling, defiled waste belonged to hundreds of neighbors from flooding your home.

Available options include manual gates and automatic ones. And as the types suggests, you have to close the former gate manually, while the automated solutions known as “Backwater Valves” or “Backflow Preventers” actively works by itself. More precisely, sensing a reverse flow in your mainline, it entirely detaches the sewer system from outside by shutting the gate instantly.

Equipment Needed to Unclog Basement Floor Drain

To complete the unclogging of your basement floor drain, you need to collect various type of instruments. Granted, you can’t have all the tool in your collection, the following are the most important ones without which you can’t step ahead.

  • Chisel
  • Screw driver
  • Pipe wrench
  • Hammer
  • Shop vacuum
  • Plumber’s auger or electrical snake
  • Teflon tape

Step by Step Guidelines to Unclog Basement Floor Drain

Step 1: Unscrew the drain cover using a screwdriver. In some cases, you may also need to chiseled it off.

Step 2: Have a look through the hole inside the drain. The straight hole is linked with the P-trap that’s filled with water impeding the sewer gases from releasing to your indoor arena.

Step 3: start sucking the dirt out from the P-trap using your shop vacuum. Throughout this process, the more gunk you can remove, the better clean it will be.

Step 4: Look carefully at the right-hand side of the drain hole and you’ll find a clean-out plug.

Step 5: Take the lid off the clean-out plug. Sometime, you may find it hard to remove, then it would be a wise decision to take support of the chisel or the pliers.

Step 6: Time to act like a professional cleaner. Bring out your plumber’s auger or the electrical snake. And insert its tip into the clean-out pipe.

 Difference Between the Plumber’s Auger and the Electrical Snake

Two of these items work the same way. The real difference is in power. While the later one possesses more power and longer cable, you will find its renting cost little bit high. So, the plumber’s auger is a favorite option among the users. It may not come with hands free, pedal controlling feature, but what it offers instead is the affordable price tag, so that you can collect it from your nearby home improvement stores. But if price is not the problem, we encourage you to opt for the snakes to clean the clogged basement floor drain.

Step 7: As soon as it reaches the clog, pull it out once you perceived that the gunk has attached with it and coming out.

Step 8 : Redo the process of inserting and bring the plumber’s auger into the pipe until you are satisfied that the pipe has no gunk inside.

Step 9 : Before you put the lid of the clean-out plug back on its place, don’t forget to envelope teflon tape around the threaded part. The benefit? You won’t need to struggle next time while removing the plug.

Step 10 : After you close the clean-out pipe, gush out a bucket of water into the drain. This will help you know whether your effort is rewarded or not. In the meantime, the P-trap will also be refilled for gas obstructing purpose.

That’s all! Easy, huh?

Unclog Basement Floor Drain Without Using a Plumbing Snake

But what if, if you don’t have or can’t manage a plumbing snake, will your basement floor drain always remain clogged? Now way!

Here’s what you need to do to –

1. Clean the Trap

  • Start the process by placing the backflow preventer and taking away the cap of the trap. Then drive a cold chisel against one of notches attached with the retaining ring. Next, unleash the backflow ball by rotating the chisel into counterclockwise.
  • After eliminating it, the real work begins. You need to remove the stubborn, greasy substances that are residing inside the trap. The best tool we suggest for this completing this purpose is a wet or dry vacuum.
  • Once the trap is unclogged, proceed to the backflow preventer’s cleanout pipe. First of all, you need to unscrew and then remove the plug. Here you can rely on a wrench.
  • Thrust a strong cable or wire linked with a drill into the opening. Why did we suggest to attach it with the drill? It’s simple – THE POWER. Turning on the drill, you can disseminate the congested stuffs for easy cleaning.

2. Natural Remedies

Who don’t find themselves comfortable working with appliances, will definitely love the way how the master combination (1:1) of baking soda and vinegar works on clogs. However, you can’t completely rely on its effectiveness when the blockage is way too obstinate.

3. Chemical Drain Cleaners

In case of using chemical drain cleaners, you never suggest to handle the project by yourself. You better appoint professionals. Besides, such chemicals are combustible and can cause serious injury to your sewer system. You can’t imagine the quantity of impairment suffered by your system at few first steps. Because, it’ll keep you giving fast unclogging within no time. But gradually, they will do long term damaging impact  the pipes, making them completely abused.

Since the use of these chemicals for certain period make the pipes subject to abrasion, it’s good to avoid them so you never need to deal with cracks and holes every now and then.

4. Taking Support of Professional Plumbers and High Tech Tools

If the above mentioned techniques failed to Unclog Basement Floor Drain, never hesitate to hire a professional plumber. True, their service comes at a great price, but that amount will seem tiny when compared to the loss/ damage you may need to face due to that basement floor drain backing up. We mean, like others you may have stored essential materials like photographs or papers on your basement. Chances are, they get drenched with nasty drain water and wastage.

So, before you need to go through that headache, spend a favorable amount on the professionals. They will not only unclog basement floor drain within the shortest possible time, but will save your bucks that you were going to spend on those tools for doing the unclogging yourself.


Finally, it’s evident that to unclog basement floor drain can be easier if we know what the process. And, since we have discussed everything in detail, hopefully, you will never feel depressed whenever your sewer system gets congested. Stay calm, try it yourself first. If the problem is solved, pronto! Otherwise, the professional plumbers are always there.

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