Drain Unblocking Costs

By Heather
Last updated 11th June 2024 - Reading time: 16 mins
At a glance
  • The average cost of cleaning and unclogging drains is around £100
  • The job will take approximately 1 - 2 hours to complete
In this article, you'll discover the following:
  • A complete pricing breakdown which includes what cost factors you need to consider, along with what such a task usually involves
  • How long the job should approximately take and a general overview of what type of cleaning and unblocking services can be performed
  • How to find and hire a drainage specialist

Looking for the cost of cleaning and unblocking drains?

The following drain cleaning price guide covers everything you need to know about cleaning and unblocking a drain including the different methods, how to unblock a drain and their costs, such as dyno rod prices.

On average, you're looking at spending around £100 to get your drainage issues resolved.

We also look at timescales, along with information on how to clean and unclog a drain on a DIY basis.

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person unblocking drains

Average Cost to Clean and Unclog Drains:

Depending on the complexity of the job, it usually takes: 1-2 hours


How Much to Unblock a Drain?

The cost of unblocking drains will depend on the issue and the method required. For example, unblocking a clogged toilet, bath or sink will cost around £50 to £70, while general draining cleaning is generally priced at £80 to £100.

Other methods include drain jetting which costs about £70 to £175, draining rodding that ranges from £80 to £145 and a full system scrubs which is typically priced at £150 to £200.

The above unblocking drains cost is just an estimate, so you need to keep in mind that the price may fluctuate depending on the company or tradesman you choose, your location as well as the condition of your drains.

What happens when rods won't clear a drain blockage? If rodding hasn't cleared a drain blockage, what's the next step? Do we need to dig our yard up?

"If you cannot clear a blocked drain with rods depending on how many you have used the blockage is further away than you think and may need high pressure water jetting or machining to clear it completely. I do not recommend inserting multiple rods into the drainage as there is a high chance they will get stuck or come un-done in the process."

Drain Unblocking Prices

Here is a price breakdown of the different types of drain unclogging and cleaning methods.

Job Description Avg. Cost
Drain cleaning £80 to £100
Drain rodding £80 to £145
Drain jetting £70 to £175
Drain system scrub £150 to £200
Unclogging a toilet £50 to £60
Unblocking a bath/sink £50 to £70
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Supply Costs Only

If you wish to clean and unclog a drain yourself, then you should consider the following supply costs for draining cleaning products:

Product Supply Cost
Sink unblocker £2 to £4
Drain cleaner £4 to £14
Drain rods set £15 to £140
Drain cleaning kit £50 to £70
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Additional Costs

There are several other costs you may need to consider when hiring a professional to unclog your drains, including:

CCTV Drainage Survey Cost

If you have ongoing issues with blocked drainage, then you may want to consider hiring a drain specialist to conduct a CCTV survey. This will involve an in-depth inspection of your drains by inserting CCTV cameras which will provide live footage to the specialist to detect any issues.


The average cost of a CCTV drainage survey is around £90 for a basic survey and up to £350 for a full survey with drain mapping.

Pipework Repair Cost

Another job that is usually completed alongside drain cleaning is pipework repairs, as often clogs can cause pipes to break or corrode. Most tradesman will repair your pipes using the pipe-relining method, which involves inserting resin tubes inside your pipework to secure the damaged area.

The typical cost to lay new pipework is normally around £60 to £70 per square metre.

Sink Replacement Cost

In severe cases, your kitchen sink may be too clogged up and may have caused irreparable damage which means you will have to replace your existing sink.

To install a new kitchen sink, you should expect to pay anywhere from £195 for stainless steel sink up to £950 for a cast iron sink installation.

Labour Costs and Timescales

The minimum labour cost for unclogging and cleaning drains is around £50 to £75. However, this is usually the rate for smaller jobs such as unclogging the toilet, bath or sink, which generally take about half an hour to complete.


A more in-depth job such as drain rodding will cost around £80 to £145, while drain specialists tend to charge around £70 to £175 for high-pressure water jetting, which both take approximately one hour to complete.

A more extensive job such as complete system clear out will cost around £150 to £200 and usually takes up to 2 hours to conduct.

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Cost Factors of Cleaning and Unclogging Drains

There are several factors you need to consider when calculating the cost of cleaning and unclogging drains, including:

Type of Blockage

The overall cost of drain unclogging will depend on the blockage type, for instance, a small blockage in a toilet or sink is normally only priced at around £50 to £70. However, a more extensive blockage deep in your drains could end up costing you around £150 to £200.

Method Used

The method used will also determine the final price, as a simple unclogging with drain rods usually costs around £80 to £145, while drain jetting costs up to £175. Other options include a full system scrub which can range from £150 to £200.


Location of Property

Where you live can also have a massive effect on the final cost, especially if you live in the countryside where access to drain specialists is limited. You may also pay more if living in London and southern England where tradespeople tend to charge around £280 per day, while drain specialists in the north of England typically set a day rate up to £215 a day.

Ease of Access

The level of access to your drains will also determine the cost, as some drain specialists may charge more if the drains are easily accessible, as they will usually take a lot longer to unclog.

What's Involved in Cleaning and Unclogging Drains?

To help you understand the process of hiring a specialist to unclog your drains, take a look at the following guide:

  1. The first step involves locating the blockage, which may be in the sink, toilet or another appliance. They will then disconnected the appliance to investigate the issue further.
  2. Once the appliance is switched off, the drain specialist will then use a drain snake to dislodge the blockage, or if the issue is outside, they will use drain rods which will be fed down the drain.
  3. If using a drain rod, the specialist will need to connect several sections together to reach the blockage. They will push it down as far as possible to break up and loosen the blockage.
  4. Once the blockage is completely broken up, they will then perform a drain jetting procedure which will involve pouring water down the drain to wash away any leftover debris. However, for drains that are significantly blocked, they may perform a system scrub which is similar to jetting, although this involves a mixture of water and a strong drain cleaner.
  5. The drain specialist will then continue to pour down the drain to monitor drainage performance. This will involve assessing how well the water goes down and whether it comes up again. If there is still an issue, they may decide to conduct a CCTV drainage survey which will involve putting cameras down the drain to determine the problem.

Can I Clean and Unclog Drains Myself?

Cleaning a drain is one of those jobs that looks really simple at first sight, especially if you have ever watched a professional do it, but first impressions can be deceiving.


It is not only a dirty and challenging job but can also be more complicated than you would think. However if you are on a budget and would prefer to do it yourself, minor blockages to your sink, bath or shower tray can be relatively easy to fix using over the counter cleaning chemicals and simple and cheap tools such as a plunger.

If you are wondering how to unblock drain systems with an ordinary plunger, then all you need do is simply place it over the plug hole and start pushing up and down on the handle to creates a force in both directions.

A power plunger is the next step up in the drain blockage arms race. Power plungers use compressed air and are pumped up using the handle then placed over the plug hole where all the compressed air is released by pressing the trigger, forcing any debris down the pipe or breaking it into smaller bits.

But for any severe blockages, drain rods will likely be required. These rods come in lengths of one meter and are screwed together to make a longer yet flexible length that can be inserted into the drainpipe and the blockage can then be pushed into the run. Drain rods have various interchangeable fittings on the end which can make the removal of blockages easier.

Cleaning drains is not rocket science, but there are a few things that can go wrong. The most common issue by far is for the drain cleaning rods to become detached and get stuck in the drain causing a further blockage!

If a contractor does this, then it will be up to them to rectify the problem, and you should not have to pay any extra, however, if you are cleaning the drains yourself and this happens, then you potentially have some major expensive problems on your hands.

The leading cause of rods becoming detached is they simply unthread themselves during all that thrashing about in the drain trying to unblock them. There are several ways to remove drain rods without the expense of excavating the drain, but these are best left to the professionals as most will require specialised knowledge and equipment.


If you cannot move the blockage with drain rods, or worse you end up blocking the drain with unscrewed rods, then it is time to call in the professionals. In fact, most people will call in the experts if a plunger does not do the trick – unblocking drains which are smelly and gungy is not most people’s idea of a fun DIY project.

Types of Drain Cleaning and Unblocking

There are various types of drain cleaning and unblocking methods, so it is essential that you understand what they are, when they are needed, the advantages and disadvantages as well as the costs of each.

Drain Rodding Costs

Drain rodding is a popular drainage method used by professionals which involves flexible rods. These rods are screwed from end to end to fit into the drain to loosen or break up a blockage. This method usually costs around £80 to £145.


This method is ideal for smaller blockages in sinks or mainline sewer pipes as the rods can dislodge a small obstruction quickly. They are also suitable for removing roots which may have grown into the drain or sewer.

The downside of opting for drain rodding is that it is not ideal for more extensive blockages, as they are only useful for breaking up blockages rather than getting rid of them altogether.

Drain Jetting Costs

Drain jetting or hydro jetting is a modern drain cleaning technique which involves the use of high-pressure water and steam to clear away any blockages. The average cost of drain jetting is around £70 to £175.

Drain jetting is the preferred method for professional as it enables them to conduct a thorough clean to get rid of any problematic blockages. It will also clear out any other debris which will prevent any future drain issues.


One of the disadvantages of drain jetting is that some pipes or drains may not be strong enough to withstand the level of pressure that comes with hydro jetting. So, before choosing this option, it is vital that a professional checks your pipes for any cracks or weak areas that may burst during the procedure.

Do My Drains Need Cleaning and Unclogging?

Blocked drains are not usually noticed until they start causing problems, but sometimes you do get warning signs such as:

Overflowing Sink

One of the main signs of a clogged drain is an overflowing sink which fails to drain every time you wash the dishes or your hands. This is typically caused by a build-up of waste or grease which becomes blocked in the pipes. This can be remedied with drains rods or jetting which will break up the debris and flush out your drainage system.


Toilet Not Flushing

Toilets are normally blocked up by too much paper being flushed or even the wrong things being put down the toilet. This is generally solved with a plunger, or if the blockage is severe, you may need to have rods inserted into your drains to break up the debris.

Water Failing to Drain

If the water in your sink or bathtub is taking a while to drain or does not drain at all, then this could be a sign that your drains are blocked. This is normally caused by a build-up of fat, oil, grease and soap - although the resulting gunge blocking the drain will often also contain dirt and hair.

Strong Drain Smell

Suppose you do notice a bad smell coming up through the drains. In that case, it is important that you tackle the problem sooner rather than later, procrastination will likely end up costing a lot more money as the situation will just get much worse over time.

Gurgling Drain

One of the clear signs that your drains need to be unclogged is a gurgling noise which usually means there is trapped air in your drains. This is typically caused by build-ups of food, grease, oil and more which is usually solved by hydro jetting which will flush out all the bad stuff.

It is important to remember that drain blockages are not always caused by fats, soap and other substances which have been flushed or poured down the plugholes.

They can also become blocked by structural defects, subsidence or even growing tree roots over time which can partially collapse the pipe. But whatever the cause of the blockage, blocked drains can be serious, much more than a nuisance or a bad smell – they can eventually lead to an overflowing toilet if nothing is done.


Without a doubt, the best way to deal with blocked drains is to prevent them from becoming blocked in the first place. Be careful about what you put down the drains, as things like cooking grease, hair and soap are well known for causing drain blockages.

Grease or oil is probably the number one substance for blocked drains, so try to dispose of cooking oils in the bin and always use a screen or grate to cover the drain opening.

Regular cleaning of the drain using a handful of baking soda will also help them to keep running freely, some people also swear by pouring a cup of vinegar down the drain and letting it sit for some time before flushing with boiling water.

Hiring Someone to Clean and Unclog Drains Checklist

Before hiring someone to clean and unclog your drains, you should take a look at the following checklist:

  • Check that the tradesman has at least five years’ experience of cleaning and unclogging sinks, toilets and drains
  • Enquire about previous jobs and check out customer reviews
  • Make sure that they have public liability insurance and employer’s liability insurance as this will ensure that you are protected should an incident occur
  • Ask about their qualifications which could include a Diploma in sewerage and drainage operations or a civil engineering degree

Check to see if they are members of any accredited associations such as the Association of Drainage Authorities (ADA).


What is best for cleaning kitchen drains?
There are several ways to clean your kitchen sink including flushing it out with boiling water, salt, vinegar and baking soda.

If this does not work, then you may want to use a plunger to dislodge the blockage or more serious clogging you may wish to use drainage rods or a plumbers snake which can be fed down your drain to break up the debris.
Who is responsible for blocked drains and sewers?
Finding out who is responsible for blocked drains can be difficult. But in most cases, homeowners and occupiers are responsible for their drains right up to the property boundary.

Drains and sewers outside of the property boundary are the responsibility of the local authority or waste and sewerage companies, so you should contact your local water company if you have drain problems outside your property.
What is the difference between drains and sewers?
A drain is a single pipe which transports sewerage from your property; the sewer is the pipe that takes sewage and wastewater from several drains.
How do I know if my drains are blocked?
If your drain is blocked the first signs are usually your wastewater will stop draining away quickly when you flush the toilet or empty the sink or bath.

Other signs could be bad smells or the gullies outside overflowing which will require an outside drain unblocker service. If none of your neighbours are having the same problem, then it is likely that it is your drain that is blocked rather than the main sewer.
What shall I do if my drains are blocked?
Responsibility for the clearance of blockages in private drains usually lies with the property owner. If you are the property owner, you should first check to see if your house insurance covers this.

If you cannot clear the blockage by yourself, you need to contact a specialist drainage company or local plumber to clear the drain blockage and carry out any repairs if necessary.



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