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How to Unclog a Basement Floor Drain

How to Unclog a Basement Floor Drain

Clogged drains are one of the not-so-glamorous aspects of homeownership. Nothing screams, “I’d rather move than deal with this,” quite like the icky smells and murky water backups that come from clogged basement drains.

As can be expected from any plumbing system, though, issues do occasionally arise. Though these instances may be unpleasant, there are steps you can take to either prevent such clogs or quickly get them under control if and when they do pop up.

Read on for our best advice on how to keep your drains free and clear of nasty clogs.

Common Causes of Basement Floor Drain Clogs


A basement floor drain collects and carries away any excess water and other particles that might be lurking at the bottom of your house. Therefore, it’s only natural that it should get clogged with debris now and again.

Hair and dirt are the most common offenders since they get swept up and pushed down the drain hole after accumulating on the floor.

Dry P-Trap

A P-trap is the curved length of pipe that connects a drain to the larger septic system. There needs to be a certain amount of liquid to enable proper water flow in and out, so when these get backed up, they can lead to clogged basement drains.

While it might seem counter-intuitive when faced with a clog, dumping one or two more gallons of water down the drain might do the trick to get things moving again. You’ll want to check for any overly horrid smells first, though, to confirm that the clog is due to the P-trap going dry.

Unclogging a Basement Floor Drain

1. Plunger

A bathroom go-to, this easy solution to bathroom issues is a classic. Chances are you already have a plunger on hand, so all you have to do is place the cup over the drain opening and pump away, just as you would with a clogged toilet. For most minor clogs, this is likely to do the trick.

2. Gentle Abrasive Cleaners

Similar to if you were trying to get a stain out of a shirt or remove some grit from your tile grout, a gentle abrasive can work wonders on tough surfaces. Baking soda and vinegar is a common combo for household cleaning, and it can also melt away any tricky clogs. They even have added deodorizing powers, which is excellent for the stinky drain smells from flooded water.

Various Bottles Of Cleaning Solution

3. Drain Snake

This one is a big step up from plunging, but one that’s still very manageable by yourself if you have the right tools. With the help of an auger and cable, prod the drain until you hit resistance. Turn the cable to catch the clog you’ve just discovered, then attempt to reel it back up. The more gunk you can pull out, the better.

If your basement drain clog is still a little too unmanageable, then don’t hesitate to call a professional. A plumber can help you quickly get rid of a clog that can cause harmful water damage if left unattended for too long.

How to Prevent Basement Floor Drain Blockages

While it’s practically impossible to entirely avoid a clogged basement drain or two in your time as a homeowner, regular maintenance and cleaning can prevent them from happening as frequently.

Pour a safe, mild liquid cleaner down there every three to four months to keep everything running smoothly. Make sure your cleaner is specifically designed for drains, though, as most other soaps leave behind mineral deposits, which harden into more clogs over time.

You can also physically check for any apparent clogs from hair or other debris that might be building to catch them early before they start wreaking havoc on your basement floor.


Checking in on your basement floor drain every once in a while can prevent nasty clogs. If you’ve already got one on your hands, try the simple unclogging tactics outlined above.

That said, there might still be times when some more intensive drain work is necessary, in which case you should never hesitate to consult with an expert in home repair, such as us here at All Dry USA.

Our experienced team has the equipment and know-how necessary to clear your drain clog right away. We also know how to treat any damage that has occurred due to backed-up water. Call today for a clearer drain and cleaner basement.

Ben Suiskind
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