How To Unclog Main Sewer Line With A Snake

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It is easier to fix clogged drains in the house, but it can be tricky and unbearable when the main sewer line is clogged. It slows down the drain in the house, which can even result in a foul smell.

One of the best options would be to unclog the main sewer line with a snake. If you have a sewer cleanout, it would not be tasky unclogging the sewer line yourself.

Cleaning the sewer line with a snake; however, is risky as you have high chances of cuts and injury, especially if it is your first time.

In this article, we will discuss how to unclog main sewer line with a snake, step by step!

What To Do When Your Main Sewer Line Is Clogged

The main sewer line will most definitely affect the functionality of the other drains in your home. But if you are keen to know the problem, you will be able to fix it in a flinch.

The best way to get in with fixing is by calling a plumber. But before, there were notable signs of a clogged sewer line.

See Also: Top 5 Signs of Clogged Sewer Line

Signs Of A Clogged Main Sewer Line

  • You will begin to notice gurgling sounds in different drains
  • The drains are now exposed to stagnant water, resulting in a foul smell
  • Multiple fixtures are draining slowly
  • Water comes back up after every push
  • Multiple or constant repairs in drains because of repeated issues

These are the signs that, if you experience them consecutively, you should be ready to check out your main sewer line for a fix. If the problem is almost severe, you might need to call a plumber or use a sewer line snake.

Usually, calling in the plumber is always the best shot you have at fixing your sewer line. However, calling a plumber, hiring a sewer line snake, and paying for services might seem overwhelming, especially if you are hoping to get all on a low budget.

So, what do you do? You simply learn how to unclog the main sewer line with a snake.

So, without further ado, let’s clean your main sewer line and use it again!

How To Unclog Main Sewer Line With A Snake

The first thing you should do is take precautionary measures to avoid future cuts or injuries.

Some sewer line snakes are not friendly because they come with sharp edges. You should settle for a safer sewer line snake if you cannot handle it.

Ensure you have your gloves and possibly masks with you to dodge any form of injury.

Now, let’s quickly look at the steps involved in unclogging main sewer line with a snake!

Step 1: Find the main sewer line

Remove the cap of the main sewer line once you find it. If there’s water in the pipe, run the drain machine cable toward the street. However, run the cable toward the house if there’s no standing water and the toilet is stopped.

Step 2: Properly position your sewer line snake

Now is the time to position your sewer line snake the right way. Constantly release the snake into the sewer inch after inch. If you push all of them in at once, then it could cause the snake to tangle easily. Ensure the cable doesn’t slack.

Step 3: Wear the right gloves

If you must wear gloves, use the glove that the machine cannot grab. Our candid advice? If you hire the sewer line snake, ensure you get a pair of gloves there because they know the glove that would suit the particular machine you are hiring.

Step 4: Start to push the cable in the pipe

Now, this is where the actual work begins. Gently pull out the head of the cable and one inch after another. Put the cable in the cleanout, ensure the cable is some feet in the pipe, then you can now turn on the machine.

Step 5: Hold the cable firmly with both hands

We advise you to grip the cable with both hands. If you have mistakenly left the cable, it can pull out forcefully and harm you. If you are lucky, you might end up with a sewer line snake run with a machine.

Many of them come with a spring to help you safely run cable through the pipe. And you wouldn’t have to fear the cable tangling.

Step 6: Turn on the machine

If you are not operating the machine manually, then you should ensure the machine is switched on after properly positioning the cable. Now drag your cable into the drain as you hold it firmly.

You need to be careful while dragging or pushing the cable in the drain because you are most likely to encounter clogs, and pushing the cable in can cause snake slacking or tangling.

Step 7: Pay attention in case you encounter clogs 

Once you reach a tough spot or encounter any clog, you should slowly release the cable. If you feel resistance as you feed the cable forward, then quit pushing the cable down the drain. If you force the cable into the drain, it can tangle the snake cable.

Note: Sometimes, it is okay to have someone inside the house to alert you when the cable goes in the wrong direction.

Step 8: Clear the drain again

Continue to move the cable in and out of the drain until you are done clearing the clog. After some time, try clearing the drain again by pushing the cable another 10 feet to 15 feet. This would help unclog the drain entirely.

Step 9: Flush your main sewer line

Your main sewer line should be free of clogs and debris. But there’s only one way to find out: by flushing the toilet consecutively with some clean water.


Learning how to unclog the main sewer line with a snake may seem like an enormous task. However, with the right procedure, you will surely not encounter difficulties while at it.

Ensure you check the drains in the house to make sure they are free of debris and anything that could easily block the main sewer line.

For best results, avoid putting anything that seems like a potential threat in the drains; hair, grease, food debris, and traditional toilet paper are potential threats.

We hope you get your main sewer line working in no time again!

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