How to Unclog a Garage Floor Drain in 3 Simple Steps!

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Written by: Mohammad Sameer

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Maintaining functional trench drains in your garage floor is crucial for homeowners, ensuring the overall functionality of the concrete surface and preventing any issues with holes.

A clogged trench drain can lead to a range of issues, from water pooling on the floor to potential damage to the surrounding area. It is important to address any hole or trap in the drain to prevent snow buildup and ensure proper drainage.

In the upcoming sections, we will explore different methods that can help you clear out the dirt and debris obstructing your garage floor drain. These methods include using a trench, trap, PVC, and line.

From using basic household tools to more advanced approaches, we will guide you through step-by-step instructions on how to tackle the common problem of a clogged garage floor drain or trench drain.

We will share preventive measures that can prolong the lifespan of your drain, including trench floor drains and round floor drains, and save you time and money in the long run.

So, let’s dive in and learn how to keep your garage floor drain flowing smoothly!

Common Causes of Clogged Garage Floor Drains

Common Causes of Clogged Garage Floor Drains

Garage floor drains are an essential part of maintaining a clean and functional garage. However, over time, these drains can become clogged, leading to various issues such as standing water and unpleasant odours.

Understanding the common causes of clogged garage floor drains is crucial in preventing and addressing this problem effectively.

Accumulation of debris, dirt, and leaves in the drain

One of the primary culprits behind a clogged garage floor drain is the accumulation of debris, dirt, and leaves. As vehicles enter and exit the garage, they often bring along dirt and small particles that can find their way into the round floor drains.

Leaves from nearby trees may get blown into the garage and eventually block the drain if not promptly removed.

To prevent clogged garage floor drains, regular cleaning and maintenance of the trench drain and garage drain are necessary. Sweeping or using a leaf blower to remove any loose debris from around the drain area can help minimize the chances of blockages.

Installing a grate or screen over the drain opening can also act as a barrier to prevent larger objects from entering.

Oil and grease buildup from vehicles or equipment

Another common cause of clogged garage floor drains is oil and grease buildup from vehicles or equipment. Over time, substances like oil and debris can accumulate within the garage drain pipes, causing them to narrow or completely obstruct flow.

This issue is particularly prevalent in garages where cars are frequently parked or repaired.

To avoid this problem, it’s important to be mindful of spills and leaks when working with vehicles or machinery in your garage. Promptly cleaning up any oil or grease spills using absorbent materials like kitty litter can help prevent them from reaching the drain system.

Regularly rinsing down your garage floor with hot water mixed with detergent can also aid in removing any residual oils.

Tree roots infiltrating the drain system

In some cases, tree roots infiltrating the underground piping system connected to your garage floor drain can lead to clogs. As trees grow, their roots naturally search for sources of water and nutrients, often causing damage to nearby pipes in the process.

If your garage is located close to trees or has an extensive root system underground, this can be a potential cause of clogged drains.

Addressing this issue may require professional assistance. A plumber can inspect the drain system using specialized tools and determine if tree roots are causing the blockage.

They may recommend options such as cutting away the roots or installing root barriers to prevent further infiltration.

Different Types of Garage Floor Drains and How to Unclog Them

Different Types of Garage Floor Drains and How to Unclog Them

Trench Drains

Trench drains are commonly used in garages due to their ability to handle large volumes of water. To unclog a trench drain, you can follow these steps:

  1. Begin by removing any debris or standing water from the drain.
  2. Use a plunger to create suction and dislodge the clog. Place the plunger over the drain opening and firmly push down and pull up several times.
  3. If the plunger doesn’t work, you can try using a plumbing snake. Insert the snake into the drain until you reach the clog, then rotate it to break up or remove the obstruction.

Square Top Drains

Square top drains are another common type found in garage floors. Here’s how you can unclog them effectively:

  1. Start by removing any visible debris or standing water from around the drain.
  2. Use a plumbing snake to insert into the drain opening and push it through until you reach the clog. Rotate and manoeuvre the snake to break up or remove the obstruction.
  3. After clearing out as much as possible with the snake, flush hot water down the drain to help clear away any remaining residue.

Round Top Drains

Round-top drains are often found in older garages and may require a slightly different approach for unclogging:

  1. Remove any debris or standing water from around the drain before attempting to unclog it.
  2. Use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner with a narrow attachment nozzle to suck out any loose debris that may be causing the clog.
  3. If necessary, use a plumbing snake to further break up or remove stubborn obstructions.

Floor Sink Drains

Floor sink drains are typically deeper than other types of garage floor drains and may require additional steps for effective unclogging:

  1. Clear away any debris or standing water from the area around the drain.
  2. Use a plunger to create suction and attempt to dislodge the clog. Press down firmly and pull up quickly several times.
  3. If plunging doesn’t work, use a plumbing snake to reach deeper into the drain and break up or remove the obstruction.

Remember, it’s essential to wear protective gloves and eyewear when working with drains, as they may contain harmful substances or sharp objects.

If you’re unsure about unclogging a garage floor drain yourself, it’s always best to consult a professional plumber for assistance.

Step-by-Step Guide: How To Unclog a Garage Floor Drain

Step-by-Step Guide: How To Unclog a Garage Floor Drain

Preparation Steps Before Starting the Unclogging Process

Before you begin unclogging your garage floor drain, it’s important to take some necessary precautions. Here are a few preparation steps to follow:

  1. Wear protective gear: Put on gloves and safety goggles to protect yourself from any potential hazards while working with the drain.
  2. Clear the area: Remove any items or debris near the drain to provide easy access and prevent anything from falling into the drain during the unclogging process.
  3. Locate the clean-out plug: Find the clean-out plug, which is typically located near the floor drain. This plug allows you to access the main sewer line for clearing blockages.
  4. Inspect for standing water: Check if there is any standing water in the drain. If there is, you may need to remove it manually using a bucket or wet-dry vacuum before proceeding further.

Detailed Instructions on Using Tools like an Auger or Sewer Jetter to Clear the Blockage

Once you have completed the necessary preparation steps, it’s time to tackle the clog in your garage floor drain. Here are detailed instructions on how to use tools like an auger or sewer jetter:

Using an auger:

  • Insert one end of the auger cable into the clean-out plug opening.
  • Slowly feed the cable into the pipe while turning it clockwise.
  • Continue feeding and turning until you encounter resistance.
  • When you feel resistance, rotate and push back and forth to break up or retrieve any obstructions.
  • Once you’ve cleared out as much of the blockage as possible, slowly retract and remove the auger from the pipe.

Using a sewer jetter:

  • Attach one end of a sewer jetter hose to a pressure washer nozzle.
  • Insert the other end of the hose into the clean-out plug opening.
  • Turn on the pressure washer and gradually feed the hose into the pipe.
  • The high-pressure water from the jetter will help dislodge and flush out any debris or clogs in the drain.
  • Slowly retract and remove the sewer jetter hose once you’ve cleared the blockage.

Remember, these instructions are a general guide. It’s important to follow any specific instructions provided by the manufacturer for your particular auger or sewer jetter.

By following these steps and using appropriate tools, you can effectively unclog a standard garage floor drain.

However, if you encounter a stubborn or persistent clog that you’re unable to clear on your own, it may be best to consult a professional plumber for assistance.

Tips for Preventing Future Clogs in Garage Floor Drains

Regularly removing debris from the drain grate

To prevent future clogs in your garage floor drain, it is important to regularly remove debris from the drain grate. Debris such as leaves, dirt, and small rocks can accumulate over time and cause blockages in the drain.

By taking a few minutes every couple of weeks to clean the drain grate, you can help ensure that water flows freely through the drain.

  • Use a broom or a brush with stiff bristles to sweep away any loose debris on the surface of the drain grate.
  • For more stubborn debris, use a garden hose to spray water directly into the drain and flush out any accumulated dirt or leaves.
  • Consider using a shop vacuum to suction out any remaining debris that may be stuck in the drain.

By regularly removing debris from your garage floor drain, you can prevent clogs and maintain proper drainage.

Proper disposal of oil and grease to prevent buildup

Another important step in preventing future clogs in your garage floor drains is properly disposing of oil and grease. These substances can build up over time and create blockages in the drain system. Here are some tips for proper disposal:

  • Avoid pouring oil or grease down the garage floor drain. Instead, collect used cooking oil or grease in a container (such as an empty coffee can) and dispose of it with your regular trash.
  • If you have larger quantities of used cooking oil or grease, consider recycling options available in your area. Many recycling centres accept used cooking oil for conversion into biodiesel fuel.
  • Absorbent materials such as cat litter or paper towels can also be used to soak up small amounts of oil or grease before disposing of them properly.

By following these guidelines for proper disposal of oil and grease, you can help prevent buildup in your garage floor drains.

Professional Drain Cleaning Services for Stubborn Clogs

Seek Professional Help for Severe Clogs

Sometimes, no matter how diligent you are in maintaining your garage floor drain, stubborn clogs can still occur. In such cases, it is essential to seek professional help to ensure the problem is resolved effectively and efficiently.

If you encounter persistent blockages or suspect damaged pipes within your drainage system, it’s time to call in a professional plumber.

Hydro-Jetting: A Powerful Solution

One of the services that professionals offer for unclogging stubborn garage floor drains is hydro-jetting.

This method involves using high-pressure water streams to clear out even the most stubborn clogs from your drains.

The forceful stream of water can break down and flush away any gunk, debris, or buildup that may be causing the blockage.

Hydro-jetting is an effective solution because it not only clears the existing clog but also helps prevent future blockages by thoroughly cleaning the pipes.

Camera Inspections: Identifying Hidden Issues

Another valuable service provided by professional plumbers is camera inspections. This technique involves inserting a small camera into your drain system to get a visual assessment of its condition.

By doing so, plumbers can identify any hidden issues that may be contributing to frequent clogs or slow draining in your garage floor drain.

These cameras can detect cracks, leaks, tree root intrusions, or other pipe damage that may require repair or replacement.

The Benefits of Professional Drain Cleaning Services

There are several benefits to opting for professional drain cleaning services when dealing with severe clogs in your garage floor drain:

  • Expertise: Professional plumbers have extensive knowledge and experience in dealing with all types of plumbing issues. They understand how drains work and have access to specialized tools and equipment.
  • Time-saving: Trying various DIY methods without success can be time-consuming and frustrating. Hiring professionals ensures that the problem gets resolved quickly and efficiently.
  • Long-term solutions: Professionals not only fix the immediate clog but also address any underlying issues that may have caused the problem. This helps prevent future clogs and ensures a longer lifespan for your drainage system.
  • Safety: Dealing with drain blockages can involve handling potentially harmful substances, such as chemicals or sewage. Professional plumbers are trained to handle these situations safely, protecting both you and your property.

Maintenance and Regular Cleaning of Garage Floor Drains

Importance of Routine Maintenance

Regular maintenance is crucial to keep your garage floor drains functioning properly. Neglecting maintenance can lead to clogs, foul odours, and even damage to your garage floor.

By implementing a routine maintenance schedule, you can prevent these issues and ensure the longevity of your drains.

Simple Cleaning Methods

Cleaning your garage floor drains doesn’t have to be a complicated task. There are several simple methods you can use to keep them clean and free from clogs:

  1. Flushing with Hot Water: One effective way to prevent clogs is by flushing your drains with hot water on a regular basis. This helps remove any debris or buildup that may be obstructing the flow of water. Simply pour boiling water down the drain and let it work its magic.
  2. Vinegar Solution: Another natural cleaning method involves using a vinegar solution. Mix equal parts white vinegar and hot water in a bucket or container. Then, pour this mixture down the drain slowly, allowing it to break down any grease or grime that may be causing blockages.
  3. Plunger Technique: If you notice that your garage floor drain is draining slowly or not at all, using a plunger might do the trick. Place the plunger over the drain opening and create a tight seal before giving it several forceful plunges. This can help dislodge any stubborn debris stuck in the pipes.
  4. Regular Inspections: It’s important to visually inspect your garage floor drains regularly for any signs of damage or blockages. Look for things like cracks in the grate or excessive buildup around the edges of the drain opening. Addressing these issues promptly can prevent further damage and improve drainage efficiency.
  5. Hair Strainers: To prevent hair from clogging up your drains, consider installing hair strainers over them. These small mesh screens catch hair before it enters the drain, reducing the chances of clogs. Regularly clean and remove any trapped hair from these strainers to maintain optimal drainage.

Final Thoughts on Unclogging Garage Floor Drains

In conclusion, unclogging a garage floor drain is a manageable task that can be done with the right tools and techniques. By understanding the common causes of clogs and the different types of drains, you can effectively remove blockages and prevent future issues.

Following our step-by-step guide, you’ll be able to tackle a standard garage floor drain clog on your own. However, for stubborn clogs or if you prefer professional assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to drain cleaning services.

Remember, regular maintenance and cleaning are crucial in keeping your garage floor drain clear and functioning properly. Implementing preventive measures such as using drain covers and avoiding pouring harmful substances down the drain will go a long way in preventing future clogs.

By taking these steps, you can ensure that your garage remains dry and free from drainage problems.


Can I use chemical cleaners to unclog my garage floor drain?

Chemical cleaners can sometimes help dissolve minor blockages in garage floor drains. However, they may not be effective for more severe clogs or certain types of blockages like grease build-up. Harsh chemicals can damage pipes over time. It’s best to try other methods first or consult with a professional before resorting to chemical cleaners.

How often should I clean my garage floor drain?

Regular cleaning of your garage floor drain is recommended every few months to prevent debris build-up and potential clogs. However, if you notice any signs of slow draining or foul odours coming from the drain, it’s advisable to clean it immediately.

What should I do if none of the DIY methods work?

If DIY methods fail to unclog your garage floor drain, it’s time to seek professional help. Drain cleaning experts have specialized tools and knowledge to handle stubborn clogs effectively. They can assess the situation accurately and provide the most suitable solution for your specific drain issue.

Are there any specific tools I need to unclog a garage floor drain?

Some common tools that can be useful for unclogging a garage floor drain include a plunger, plumber’s snake or auger, wet/dry vacuum, and pipe wrench. The choice of tool may vary depending on the type of clog and drain you have. It’s always helpful to have these tools readily available in case of emergencies.

How can I prevent future clogs in my garage floor drain?

To prevent future clogs in your garage floor drain, avoid pouring grease, oil, or other substances down the drain. Use drain covers to catch debris and clean them regularly. Consider installing a lint trap if you frequently use your garage as a laundry area. Taking these preventive measures will significantly reduce the chances of clogs occurring in the future.

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About Mohammad Sameer

My name is Mohammad Sameer, the founder of SoundproofGears. My hypersensitive hearing turned me into a lifelong seeker of silence. After years of research, I've become an expert on soundproofing techniques and materials. In November 2022 I launched this site to share my knowledge and help others find acoustic sanctuary. About More