Unblocking drains, sinks, toilets, baths and showers

Have you tried?

Other residents found these steps helpful
You are responsible for this

We can undertake this work for you on a chargeable basis. Please get in touch with us to discuss this further.

Have you flushed an item down the toilet that could cause a blockage? Back to top

You should avoid flushing any of the following items:

  • nappies
  • sanitary products
  • contraceptives
  • wet wipes – standard or biodegradable/flushable
  • anything plastic or containing plastics
  • make-up wipes, cotton buds or pads.
  • rags
  • soft toys including tennis balls.

Find out how you can unblock your toilet by watching our video on this page.

Find further information at South West Water.

Unblock your sink Back to top

How to unblock a drain

If you have a blocked outside drain, you need to contact your local water provider first, and we will attend after the water company has visited if required.  Find your local water provider and their contact details here

If you have a minor drain blockage, you should be able to repair it on your own - even if you are not an expert DIY-er. Just pick up an outside drain unblocker from a DIY shop or local supermarket, and be prepared to get a little bit dirty and smelly!

Figure out what is wrong

The first thing to do when unblocking a drain is to figure out what is wrong. A bathroom drain may be clogged up with soap and hair. A kitchen sink may be blocked up with grease, and a toilet might be blocked by baby wipes. Outdoor drains can also be clogged up with grease, soap and other domestic products, but can also become blocked by leaves and outdoor debris.

Unblocking indoor drains

So how can you unblock a drain? Indoor drains can usually be unblocked with a bottle of drain unblocker. Pour this in the drain before you go to bed, following the instructions on the bottle, and then rinse it out the next morning. Make sure you stay safe. Always wear rubber gloves when using drain unblocker, as they can be very corrosive and cause chemical burns. It can be very dangerous if you accidentally swallow some, or makes contact with your eyes. 

Still no luck?

Contact us and we can help! Our technical teams will run through some troubleshooting tips with you to see if they can solve your problem over the phone. If not, we will send a highly skilled and qualified plumber round to get your drains sorted as soon as possible. 

Blocked toilet Back to top

How to unblock your toilet

  • Come prepared with a bucket, rubber gloves and a plunger.
  • Protect the floor with newspaper.
  • Don't flush anymore. This will only fill the bowl with more water.
  • First close the flapper. The flapper looks like a circular drain stopper attached to a chain.
  • Lift the lid and close the toilet flapper with your hand, the water in the tank is clean. This will prevent more water from entering the bowl.
  • Check to see if there is a blockage. Most blockages are caused by excessive toilet paper.
  • The easiest way of unblocking the toilet is to put on rubber gloves and push the blockage past the u-bend.
  • If the drains are blocked this will not work and it's time to get the plunger.
  • Push down and pull the plunger sharply back and forth ensuring that the water is being moved and not air. Continue until you feel the blockage to clear. 
  • You will know that the blockage has been cleared once the water in the bowl has drained. 

How to descale a showerhead Back to top

  • To descale your showerhead, you will need the following, distilled white cleaning vinegar, a plastic food storage bag, a rubber band, and cleaning cloth or sponge.
  • Fill the plastic bag halfway with the vinegar. 
  • Take the bag and place it around the showerhead and secure it in place with the rubber band.
  • Leave this to soak for 30 minutes or longer. 
  • When ready, remove the bag from around the showerhead. 
  • If any leftover limescale remains on the showerhead, scrub or wipe this with the cloth or sponge. Your showerhead will now be sparkling clean and ready to use again.