How to Unclog a Floor Drain

A floor drain is usually located in the utility areas of your home or business. Utility areas include mudrooms, garages, laundry rooms, basements, and commercial kitchens. The gunk that ends up on the floor of these areas often gets flushed into the drain because of their convenient location. Make sure your floor drain is draining properly by clearing any blockage. Water needs to be in your floor drain at all times, but should not be spilling over. The water ensures a proper trap seal to keep sewer odors away. If a clog is not dealt with, it may cause the water to back up or flood the area. There are a few things you can do at home for your floor drain, or you can get a professional to unclog it for you. Unscrew the cover and take a look!

For very minor clogs you can use a few of these at-home remedies:

Shop Vacuum

You can start by getting some of the dirt and gunk out of the P trap using a wet-dry shop vacuum. Start by inserting the vacuum hose into the floor drain. Then suck out anything that may have settled at the bottom of the P trap. You will not be able to get deep into the pipes with your shop vac, but it is often a start.


Sometimes the problem can be dealt with using a plunger. Chances are you have one at home already. Make sure you have a good seal around the opening in the floor drain. After the plunger is secure, depress it like you would a toilet. You can test if it loosened anything by pouring some water down the drain.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

We have said this before in past blog posts, but this is one of our favorite concoctions. Pouring vinegar and baking soda down the floor drain can help dissolve built-up gunk. This will help clean and loosen any gunk clinging to your pipes and potentially causing a clog.

When you need something a little heavier duty for that clog, you should probably call a professional. They will have the proper tools to reach and clear the clog.

Getting Professional Help

Often, the cleanout plug on the side of the drain will have to be removed. This is not an easy task if it has not been touched in a while. Plumbers will also have higher power drain cleaning tools that can clear obstructions from the drain. Some of these tools are rentable from select rental agents, but you should proceed with caution if you are going to be using these tools yourself. Be sure to use the right tool and accessories for your set up, or you run the risk of damaging your plumbing. The machines are also very powerful and, if they are not handled correctly, can hurt someone. If too much tension builds in the cable, the torque builds up and the cable can twist wrapping around an arm and acts like a vice. Proceeding slowly and paying attention are key to using these machines.

At Valley Fire Protection & Plumbing, we can help unclog any drains that need it, including that floor drain Give us a call to set up an appointment today!

Related Topics: Floor drain // Plumbing Tips
By: Tom Hartel
I acquired my expertise by directing day-to-day operations of the business for over 20 years. Continuous hard work helped me become a nationally recognized speaker and expert on fire protection, fire sprinklers, special hazards, and plumbing systems. In this blog, I share my knowledge that will hopefully help you make better decisions for your projects.


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