Can Drains Unblock Themselves?  

Most households will have a problem with their drainage system at some point. Whether it’s a tap that is leaking or a blocked drain that simply won’t clear, when faced with a drain problem, it is common for homeowners to wish the problem away on its own. We recently had a call from a customer in Bracknell asking if his blocked drains would unblock themselves?  

What Causes Blocked Drains?

Blocked drains can be caused by numerous issues, such as damaged pipes, collapsed drains, a build-up of debris, or a combination of wipes, sanitary products, food waste, and fats that congeal and build-up inside the pipes to form, often, immovable blockages.  

The most common causes of blocked drains are:  

  • Coffee granules  
  • Hair  
  • Foreign objects  
  • Heavy rain or storms  
  • Broken pipes  
  • Incorrect pipe installation
  • Fats, oils, and grease

But can these blockages unblock themselves?  

You can certainly prevent drain blockages from occurring, but it is unlikely that once a blockage has formed it will be able to fix itself. Therefore, understanding how your drains and sewers work and having the necessary knowledge to prevent blockages can keep your drains happy and healthy.  

CCTV Surveys Check the Blockage

One of the best ways to check whether a drain blockage can clear by itself is by using a CCTV drain survey. These camera-led surveys allow a team of drainage professionals inspect your drains, sewers, and pipelines for any build-ups of debris or cracked, broken, or collapsed pipes. Most importantly, a CCTV drain survey allows for any recommendations for remedial action to be given.  

High Pressure Water Jetting

Once the cause of the blockage has been found, high pressure water jetting can help remove any heavy-scale build-ups such as root ingress or fat bergs. Pressure water jetting is one of the best ways to clear blockages from your drains, leaving them fully operational and capable of flushing away any waste water.  

Baking Soda and Hot Water

Although your drainage system cannot strictly unblock itself on its own, you can certainly give it a nudge in the right direction. And one of the easiest ways to do this is pour baking soda and hot water down your drain. This simple concoction can do a fantastic job at clearing blockages and breaking down build-ups in your drain so that water can more effectively flush out clogs without any need for much intervention.  

Prevention is Better than Cure

One of the best things you can do for your drains is prevent the likelihood of blockages occurring. When it comes to blocked drains, prevention is always better than cure. Some of the best ways you can prevent blocked drains and therefore negate the need for professional unblocking services, is to:  

  • Add gratings to your shower drains to catch any hair or debris that would usually block your drains.  
  • Avoid putting food waste down your drains.  
  • Do not wash fats, oils, and grease down the drain – put it in the rubbish bin instead – as this can cause significant drain blockages.  
  • Clean your drains regularly by pouring a kettle of hot water down them at the end of every day. This will help prevent blockages from forming by maintaining good water flow and flushing potential blockages out.  

Clearing Your Drains by Descaling Pipes

One of the causes of blocked drains that will simply not fix itself is limescale. A build-up of limescale can be detrimental to the health of your drainage system and can cause severe problems to the structure and flow of the pipes. Removing the limescale is the only viable option to help prevent blockages and keep your drains running smoothly.  

There are professional drainage companies that offer interior descaling of drainage systems that can help improve the flow efficiency of your drains. Pipe descaling works by removing all limescale and protrusions on the inside of your drains, negating the need for extensive work to be done and helping your drains work well.  

Clear Your Drains with a Plunger

This traditional method of unblocking a drain has been tried and tested for decades and is a popular method for many people as it tends to be successful. A plunger can be used to clear any blocked drain, whether a bathroom sink or a clogged toilet. The pressure caused by the suction of a plunger is fantastic at loosening blockages that otherwise could cause havoc in your plumbing system.  

Although using a plunger is helpful for solid blockages, it is not very effective on grease build-up or mineral deposits.  

Is It Possible for Drains to Unblock Themselves?

The short answer is, no. It is extremely unlikely your drains will be able to unblock themselves. However, as I’ve mentioned above, there are numerous prevention methods and unblocking techniques you can use to keep your drains running smoothly, helping to flush blockages out on a regular basis.  

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