How to Get a Drain Snake Around a Corner

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Crushing clogs the right way means having to get your auger down your pipes until it reaches the clog.  How to get a drain snake around a corner requires a bit of luck but mostly skill and patience. 

Most clogs happen at the P trap or other bends in the pipes.  Debris like hair, grease, food, or anything else tends to catch and then gather more goo in those areas. 

Those corners in your pipes can also cause your drain snake to get stuck. 

So, how do you get your drain snake around a corner? 

how to get drain snake around a corner
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How to Make a Plumbing Snake Turn Corners 

A corner in a pipe is called an elbow.  They can be harsh elbows like a 90 degree bend (such as your P trap) or a smaller elbow (less than 90 degrees).  Either way, debris will gather in those areas.

Getting your snake or drain auger through an elbow can be a challenge for even an experienced DIYer.  

How to get a drain snake through an elbow or corner in your drain pipe requires a bit of elbow grease.

Make sure when you wind your drain snake into the pipe that you are rotating it the whole time.  This winding motion with your drain auger helps it to make its way through corners in your pipes.

If you feel your snake getting jammed on an elbow, apply steady downward pressure as you wind the cord around.  You should feel your snake get through after a few cranks of your cable.

What is a P Trap?

A P trap is the big main elbow in your drains that you can see when you open up the kitchen or bathroom cupboards under your sink.  The P trap is built that way so that is hold water in it.  ​

p trap

P Trap Under My Bathroom Sink

P traps are a building code requirement.  The water in the P trap blocks any gases from coming up from the main drains and getting inside your house.  

Once you see how big of a corner the P trap is, you'll understand how gunk and debris can gather there.  Do yourself a favor and place a drain catcher in your sink to catch any weird stuff.  This way it won't find its way into your drains and P trap.

How to get a Snake Past the P Trap 

Thankfully, most clogs are either before or at the start of the P trap. If your clog is in the P trap, or just past it, follow our instructions below to get your plumbing snake to turn the corner or elbow through your P trap.

Your snake is designed with a thinner cable than a toilet auger just so that it can get through the smaller diameter of your drain pipes, elbows and traps. 

Since your P trap is just another elbow or corner in your drain, you would use the same procedure to get your snake past the P trap that you use to get it through any other corner.  Apply steady pressure while rotating the cable until you feel it go through.

PRO TIP

Don't use chemical decloggers in PVC pipes.  First, try running some HOT water down the pipes for 5 mins or so to see if that melts away your clog.  If not, then grab your drain snake. 

Can a Drain Snake Break a Pipe? 

Yes and No.  Before you start using your drain snake you should know what kind of pipes you’ll be working with.  If your pipes are made of PVC you need to be careful.  PVC is plastic and while you can use your snake or auger on PVC pipes, taken extra caution not to be too rough when moving or spinning your snake cable around in your pipes. 

Can You Put a Drain Snake Down the Toilet?

The only thing you should be using on your toilet is a toilet auger.  They are specially designed to work in the larger drain size and come with a protective plastic tube to keep your bowl from getting all scratched up. 

They have a bulb head that works to grab complicated clogs and remove them.  Drain snake cords are made of thinner metal, to work through smaller diameter drains.  

I mean you CAN use your drain snake on your toilet if you're desperate.  Let's be honest, if you've got 1 toilet and 5 people in your house, getting that toilet unclogged by any means necessary is the goal here.  Just be super careful to not scratch your toilet bowl and then go and buy a toilet auger for the next time it clogs up.

Conclusion

How to get a drain snake around a corner is easier than you think when you have tough, deep clogs to tackle. Don't be discouraged and throw a bit of elbow grease into it to really crush your clogs with the best drain auger.


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