How to Clear a Clogged Drain with Standing Water?

A clogged drain with standing water can be a frustrating issue to deal with, but with the right approach, you can effectively clear the blockage and restore proper drainage. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through step-by-step instructions on how to clear a clogged drain when water is standing, providing practical tips to address the problem and prevent it from recurring.

Identifying the Severity of the Clog

Before attempting to clear the clogged drain, it’s important to assess the severity of the blockage.

Assessment Steps

  1. Observing Water Level:
    • Take note of the water level in the sink or tub to determine the extent of the blockage.
  2. Checking Multiple Fixtures:
    • Verify if the clog affects multiple fixtures, which could indicate a deeper issue in the main drain.
  3. Listening for Gurgling Sounds:
    • Gurgling sounds from drains may suggest air trapped in the pipes, a common sign of a clog.

Preparation and Safety Measures

Before starting the unclogging process, gather the necessary tools and take safety precautions.

Tool Preparation

  1. Plunger:
    • Use a cup or flange plunger for effective suction.
  2. Bucket:
    • Keep a bucket handy to collect water and debris.
  3. Gloves and Goggles:
    • Wear protective gloves and goggles to avoid contact with water and debris.

Using a Plunger

A plunger is a common and effective tool for clearing simple drain clogs.

Steps for Plunging

  1. Cover the Overflow Opening:
    • If applicable, cover the overflow opening with a wet cloth to create better suction.
  2. Place the Plunger:
    • Position the plunger over the drain, ensuring a tight seal.
  3. Apply Firm Pressure:
    • Apply firm and steady pressure with the plunger, using a vigorous up-and-down motion.
  4. Repeat as Needed:
    • Repeat the plunging process several times until the water begins to drain.

Using a Drain Snake or Auger

For more stubborn clogs, a drain snake or auger can be effective in physically breaking up the blockage.

Steps for Snaking the Drain

  1. Insert the Snake:
    • Carefully insert the drain snake into the drain, guiding it through the pipe.
  2. Rotate and Push:
    • Rotate the snake handle clockwise while pushing it forward to break up the clog.
  3. Retract the Snake:
    • If you encounter resistance or feel the clog, retract the snake while rotating counterclockwise.
  4. Flush with Water:
    • After snaking, flush the drain with hot water to clear any remaining debris.

Using Natural Drain Cleaners

Homemade drain cleaners can be a chemical-free option to dissolve organic clogs.

DIY Cleaner Recipe

  1. Baking Soda and Vinegar:
    • Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a cup of vinegar. Let it sit for about 30 minutes before flushing with hot water.

Preventive Measures and Maintenance

After successfully clearing the clogged drain, take steps to prevent future issues.

Preventive Tips

  1. Regular Maintenance:
    • Schedule routine maintenance, including occasional plunging or snaking, to prevent buildup.
  2. Avoiding Grease and Debris:
    • Discard grease, hair, and debris in the trash rather than down the drain.
  3. Hot Water Flushing:
    • Periodically flush drains with hot water to help prevent clogs.


In conclusion, clearing a clogged drain with standing water is a manageable task with the right tools and methods. Whether using a plunger, drain snake, or natural cleaners, following these steps can help you effectively address the issue. Implementing preventive measures and staying vigilant about maintenance will contribute to a healthy and free-flowing drainage system in your home. If the clog persists or if you encounter difficulties, seeking professional assistance is advisable.