Kitchen sink hopelessly blocked? Try some baking soda, white vinegar and a kettle of water. Toilet backed up? It’s time to get that plunger out – and don’t spare the elbow grease! But while dealing with a run-of-the-mill internal household drain might sometimes be no big deal, it can be a completely different story if you’re dealing with an outside drain. So, today, we’re taking a deep dive into how to unblock a drain outside.

First, the good news: outside drain blockages are not only less common than sinks blocked up with food and gunk, but they’re also usually easier to clear. Why’s that? Because sometimes it’s just a visible and obvious obstruction caused by leaves and other storm debris after a serious downpour.

And now for the bad news: when you are dealing with an outside drain blockage and using your hands to pull out any debris hasn’t worked, you’ve suddenly got a more-difficult-than-usual plumbing problem on your hands.

7 steps for how to unblock a drain pipe outside

But don’t whip out the number of your friendly local plumber in Sydney just yet! Instead, put on your confident do-it-yourself cap and let’s have a go at being an amateur outside drain unblocker!

1. Find the offending drain

First, identify what outside drain is causing the problem. Found a drain cover and have no idea what to do? The wisest move is probably to skip to the final step right now to avoid making the situation any worse. Good try though, but we never promised that learning how to unblock an outside drain would be easy!

2. What’s gone wrong?

If you’re proceeding, well done to you! Now, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is the blockage visible?
  • Does it look like simple storm debris?
  • Are you getting the feeling that drain/pipe damage has been done?

3. Grab your tools

If you’ve got a drain rod or something good enough to get the job done, let’s start with that. And while you’re grabbing yours, also locate your bucket, garden hose, gloves, and any protective gear to look after your eyes, mouth and airways.

4. Let’s get started

If you’re lucky, pull on those gloves and whip out all of the offending storm debris. Did that clear the drain? If not, you’re going to need your drain rod (or DIY drain rod) from the previous step.

5. Smash up the blockage

Are you using a DIY drain rod? If so, you may discover its limitations at this point – because with a real plumber’s drain rod, you can keep adding another section to get deeper and deeper into the blockage.

Just make sure, with all that smashing and whacking, that you don’t break anything. Because smashing up your drains really will require a plumber – stat!

6. Where’s that hose?

Your plumber may use an ultra-hot, ultra-high pressure, ultra-expensive version! But your garden hose may just suffice – just make sure it’s cranked up to the max!

Here are some tips:

  • Point the maximum water flow straight into the heart of the drain
  • Don’t worry if it makes a big, dirty, wet mess!
  • Once done, use another bucket of elbow grease with that drain rod again
  • Repeat.

7. How’s that blockage?

How did you go? Great success? Or do you need to find the number for a friendly local plumber?

If the answer to that final question was “unfortunately yes”, don’t stress too much! Here at Sydney’s favourite outside drain unblocker, we absolutely love cleaning drains in Sydney of every kind and complexity – and we do it all with a smile on our faces!


Get obligation free plumbing quotes & guaranteed workmanship from our 5-star rated local Sydney plumbing team.

It’s just your good luck that our 5-Star rated services cover the entire Sydney region like Canterbury-Bankstown, City of Sydney, Eastern Suburbs, Hills District, Inner West, Sutherland Shire, and even beyond, with highly experienced, fully-licensed and always-smiling plumbers that have all the:

  • Up-to-date training
  • Hands-on experience
  • The most specialised tools, equipment & products.

So stop stressing, grab a coffee, and instead of stressing out give Rapid Service Plumbing a call right now. You won’t regret it!