Working hours: Mon – Sat 8.00 – 18.00

Call Us: (905) 625-8777

how to make a plumbing snake turn corners

How to Use a Plumbing Snake?

If there is a clog in your pipe that a plunger can’t handle, you should ask yourself how does a plumbing snake work and how to use it properly to clean the pipe. The presented tool is a more powerful handheld sewer pipe cleaner compared to the classic plunger. Still, it is also more challenging to use. This tool is difficult to manoeuvre in the bends of the pipeline and steep turns. We recommend reading our material to learn how to use a manual plumbing snake and avoid common mistakes. We will tell you what a plumbing snake is, how to use it correctly and give professional advice. Pipe snake can be:

  • electrical;
  • manual;
  • industrial plumbing snake;
  • commercial plumbing snake;

Drain Snake – What is it And What is it for

The sewage snake is a unique plumbing tool which consists of the following:

  • a piece of metal (most often steel is taken), coiled into a spiral, its thickness is often a quarter of an inch;
  • the handle, where the spiral is attached.

The metal spiral is shaped like a snake, hence the name. If you’re wondering how plumbing snakes work, this tool allows you to pick up an obstruction in the pipe and break up the clog to make flushing the pipe easier. The snake also removes the clog in the sewer so that there are no more obstructions inside.

This tool comes in several types and sizes. If you are wondering what size plumbing snake you need, it should be chosen depending on the pipe size and the clog’s complexity. As for the varieties, you can find on sale a cable drill, in which the metal spiral is several feet long and wraps around a spool with a handle. There are also models where the reel is replaced by a shaft to hold the coiled metal in place. The end of this tool is curved, allowing it to move around curved pipes. In addition, there are unique powered versions to remove large clogs far away from the toilet bowl, drain or sink.

Advantages to Use a Plumbing Snake

Using a plumbing snake, also known as a drain snake or a drain auger, is a practical method for unclogging pipes and drains without the need for harsh chemicals or professional help. This tool can navigate through the twists and turns of pipes to dislodge blockages. Here are the key advantages of using a plumbing snake, presented in a table format for clarity:



Effective for Tough Clogs

Plumbing snakes are designed to reach deeper into pipes than a plunger can, making them more effective at breaking up or retrieving stubborn clogs that are too far down for other methods.

Minimizes Damage to Pipes

Unlike chemical drain cleaners that can corrode pipes over time, a plumbing snake physically removes the clog without harmful chemicals, preserving the integrity of your plumbing.


Buying a plumbing snake can be a one-time investment that saves money on professional plumbing services and chemical drain cleaners in the long run.

Environmentally Friendly

By avoiding chemical cleaners, you’re not only protecting your pipes but also the environment from potentially harmful substances.


Plumbing snakes come in various sizes and types, making them suitable for different kinds of pipes and clogs, from showers and sinks to main sewer lines.

Simple to Use

With basic instructions, most homeowners can use a plumbing snake, avoiding the need for professional help for minor clogs.

Immediate Results

When used correctly, a plumbing snake can clear a clog immediately, allowing water to flow freely without waiting for chemicals to work or a plumber to arrive.

Using a plumbing snake involves inserting the snake into the drain, turning it to catch or break up the clog, and then pulling it out to remove the obstruction. While it is generally straightforward, care should be taken to avoid damaging pipes or fixtures, especially with more substantial blockages or when using motorized augers.

How to Use a Plumbing Snake

It also does not hurt to know how to work a plumbing snake. This tool is familiar to those who have tried to clean a clogged drain, toilet bowl or sink with a plunger, but all attempts have failed. In this situation, it is worth using a particular sewer snake.

Considering what is a plumbing snake used for, this tool is excellent for persistent clogs that are pretty difficult to remove. It’s also great for clogs a few inches or a few feet away from the pipe. If you have a reasonably small clog, however, it’s worth using a plunger, which creates a vacuum that cleans the pipes and removes minor clogs.

A Guide on How to Use a Plumbing Snake

Suppose you’re wondering how to use a plumbing snake toilet and other pipes. In that case, we recommend reading our step-by-step guide on properly removing a clog with your own hands at home with just one tool.

No. 1: Dismantling the U-trap and Opening the Access to the Drain

If you’re cleaning your sink, it’s worth removing the U-shaped siphon – a curved pipe with a diameter of 1-2 inches. This is where the standing water is held to ensure the drain is sealed from sewer gases. You can disassemble the siphon yourself. Before working, you should throw towels on the floor. It would help if you also put an empty bucket under the siphon. If you are disassembling the bathroom drain, you can access it through the overflow.

No. 2: Pull Out the Cable

First, you need to loosen the thumbscrew on the drain pipe reel. Next, pull the cable out and place it in the drain pipe. Move forward until you hit an obstacle.

No. 3: Hook the Clog.

It would help if you tightened the thumbscrew on the drum. Next, gently turn the handle on the tool 2-3 times.

No. 4: Pull the Cable Toward You

Loosen the thumbscrew on the tool. After that, gently and without jerking, pull the sewer snake out of the pipe.

No. 5: Clean the Pipe All the Way Through

If you think you still need to pull all the way out of the drain, it’s worth repeating the above steps again. It is only possible to check the drain by fully assembling the drain pipe. So it is best to keep going by the word until you get to the end of the cable to ensure there are no clogs.

No. 6: Test the Drain

After removing the clog, you need to reassemble the drain pipe. Next, open the water to test how well it goes in.

№ 7: Clean the Snake

After you take the tool out of the pipe, it needs to be thoroughly cleaned. Debris, hair and other things can contain pathogenic bacteria on the spring and along the cable, and they should not be dragged inside the reel. Also, the cable should not be wet, as it can become rusty. Be sure to dry it out after rinsing it.

How To Make a Plumbing Snake Turn Corners

One of the most common questions is how to get a plumbing snake around a corner. Going around the bends of a plumbing system, mainly right corners, causes quite a bit of trouble. As you gain practice, getting around corners will become more accessible, the main thing is to move the tool in the right direction.

Suppose you are wondering how to get a plumbing snake around corners before inserting the tool into the pipe. In that case, you should bend its end 3-4 inches from the edge, making it faster and easier to get around the corner when it appears in front. You can pull the cable slightly when you get to the bend. This will reposition the tool so the end is at an angle relative to the curve. You can then move the cable further toward the clog.

Professional Tips for Using a Plumber’s Snake

Finally, we also want to give you some tips on how to use manual plumbing snake on a toilet:

  • try to pull the cable straight out. You can turn it counterclockwise, you can also loosen the clog somewhat and try to pick it up again;
  • if you feel the instrument is stuck, do not twist the drum any further, as this will only worsen the situation. It is best to fix the screw and twist the drum with the cable in the opposite direction, slowly pulling the instrument towards you.

All in all, there should be no problem with a concept like plumbing snake how to use. The main thing is to move carefully without sudden movements and learn all the tool operation rules. 

FAQ about How to Use a Plumbing Snake?

What is an electric plumbing snake, and how does it work?

An electric plumbing snake, also known as a drain auger, is a motorized tool used to clear clogs in plumbing systems. It works by inserting a long, flexible cable with a rotating blade into the drain, breaking up the blockage and allowing water to flow freely.

When should I use an electric plumbing snake to clear a clog?

An electric plumbing snake is typically used to clear stubborn clogs that cannot be removed with a plunger or other plumbing tools. If you have a persistent clog that won’t go away, an electric plumbing snake may be a good option.

How do I use an electric plumbing snake safely?

When using an electric plumbing snake, it is important to wear protective gloves and eye gear to prevent injury. Make sure the tool is unplugged before inserting the cable into the drain, and avoid forcing the cable through the pipes to prevent damage.

What are some tips for using an electric plumbing snake effectively?

To use an electric plumbing snake effectively, start by inserting the cable slowly into the drain and rotating it gently. As you encounter resistance, increase the speed and force of the rotation until the blockage is cleared. Be patient, and avoid using too much force, as this can damage the pipes.

Can I rent an electric plumbing snake instead of buying one?

Yes, many home improvement stores and plumbing supply companies offer rental options for electric plumbing snakes. This can be a cost-effective solution if you only need to clear a clog once or twice a year. However, if you have frequent clogs, purchasing your own electric plumbing snake may be a better option.

Share this post