How Much Will It Cost to Clean My Drain?

Candace Nelson
Written by Candace Nelson
Updated February 17, 2022
closeup of sink in white and blue cool-tined bathroom
Photo: HarisArt / Adobe Stock

The cost of getting a pro to clean a drain is $220 on average, with a typical range between $140 and $340

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There is nothing like a backed-up drain to derail your plans. Luckily, there are different solutions that will have you—and your pipes—back on the move in no time.

If you have a nasty drain clog and intend to deal with it yourself, skip the liquid drain cleaners. They can damage pipes, emit noxious fumes, and don’t work that well anyway. Hiring a local drain cleaner might be your best bet to avoid headaches and pungent smells. Here’s what it will cost you.

How Much Does It Cost to Snake a Drain?

Some companies charge a flat fee for drain snaking, and others charge by the hour. Find a local plumber who will come in with a heavy-duty snake and pull the clog right out. Here's a rundown of average prices for drain cleaning, depending on where the clog is located:

  • Toilet: $110–$275

  • Kitchen sink: $110–$215

  • Bathtub or shower: $225

  • Sewage main line: $100–$800

Average Cost for Drain Cleaning in Your Neighborhood

The process to clean a drain is the same around the U.S. but prices can vary slightly depending on where you’re located. Here are some examples from around the country:

  • Baltimore: $150–$350

  • New York:  $150–$350

  • Salt Lake City: $120–$280

  • Detroit: $230–$280

  • Dallas: $140–$280

  • Indianapolis: $100–$260

  • Los Angeles: $110–$320

  • Jacksonville, FL: $110–$210

  • Seattle: $211–$510

  • Minneapolis: $100–$210

What Will It Cost Me to Clean a Drain Myself?

You can clear the most common drain clogs yourself using things you already have around the house.

Plunger Method

Start with the plunger method—yes, even in a sink or shower. Put the stopper in and fill the sink with enough water to form a seal around the drain. Position the plunger over the drain and open the drain. Pump the plunger 15 or so times and then pull it off. See if the water starts draining and repeat if necessary.

Drain Snake

If the plunger method didn’t work, try a drain snake. You can buy a flexible plastic one at hardware or discount stores for about $5 or bend a little hook at the end of a wire hanger. Feed it down the drain and then pull it back out. Hopefully, you caught something that looks slimy and disgusting; throw that away and let the water flow.

Most clogs will be between the drain and the wall, making them within reach. If it is farther away, though, you might need to buy or rent an electric drain cleaner ($100) or call a pro.

Clean the P-trap

If you didn’t have luck with the plunger or the snake, clean the P-trap, which is the bent pipe under the sink. You’ll need a wrench, bucket or big bowl, and some towels (things are about to get wet). 

Shut the water off at the sink, position your bucket under the pipe, and loosen the nut on either side of the P-trap. Knock out any gunk you find in there, reattach, turn the water on, and see if it drains.

For deeper clogs, you could rent an auger for about $100 or buy one for $250 to $3,250, but unless clogs are common at your house, it might be more practical to call a pro who already owns the tools.

closeup of deep square kitchen sink and white countertop with cooking utensils
Photo: bennnn / Adobe Stock

How Much Does It Cost to Clean Different Types of Drains?

Most plumbers will charge for time and materials. Drain cleaning is a relatively quick job for a pro with heavy-duty tools. So unless there are complications, assume an hour or two for labor.

Kitchen Sink and Garbage Disposal

The plumber will first assess your garbage disposal to make sure that it’s working. If the garbage disposal needs replacing, expect to pay $60 to $300 for parts plus at least two hours of labor.

Bathtub or Shower Drain

Shower and tub drains tend to get backed up, especially if any errant hair got past your drain security system (aka your drain screen) and encouraged soap scum to build up. Calling a pro out to remove the clog costs about $225

For the most inexpensive fix, try the plunger method and drain snake cleaning tips detailed above as soon as you start to notice a slowdown in water draining.

Toilet

Expect to pay a pro the hourly rate to unclog a toilet. For about $110 to $275, you should be back in business. 

Kids and their love of finding out what would happen if they tossed something in are often the reason why random objects end up in the toilet. Accidents happen, but try and teach little ones that only toilet paper gets flushed.

Sewer Main Line

There are a few tells that the clog is located somewhere bigger than the drain you’re peering down into. By that, we mean the real culprit is in the sewer main line that takes dirty water to the treatment plant.

  • Multiple plumbing fixtures appear to be clogged

  • Weird things happen, like water appears in the shower when you flush the toilet

  • A sulfur (rotten eggs) smell

  • Bubbling or gurgling noises at the drain

  • Changes to the yard, such as a new indentation or soggy grass when it hasn’t rained

If you notice any of these, your best bet is to call a professional for an assessment. If it’s a simple sewer main clog, you can expect to pay $200 to $300 to get it cleaned. Unfortunately, the price of sewer line repairs doesn’t get better from there.

FAQs About Drain Cleaning

How do I prevent a drain clog?

The first rule of plumbing is nothing but water, toilet paper, number one, and number two go down the drain. 

To prevent clogs, get yourself:

  • A compost pail. That’s where you clean plates, drain grease, and toss veggie scraps and paper towels. 

  • Drain screens for the shower, tub, and bathroom sink. They’ll stop hair (and your wedding ring, toy cars, eye glasses, etc.) from going down the drain and starting a clog.

  • Trash cans for everything else that shouldn’t go down the drain, like dental floss, feminine hygiene products, and cat litter.

P.S. If you do drop your priceless ring down the drain, take a deep breath, and then follow these steps to retrieve jewelry from your drain.

Can I use liquid drain cleaner?

Professionals don’t recommend using liquid drain cleaners. These harsh chemicals can be toxic and erode your pipes. The internet might also have you believe that baking soda and vinegar cleans drains, but the foaming action you see is just the two chemicals reacting to one another. 

For a slow drain or as preventative maintenance, pour hot water down the drain to break up any gunk and help move it along. Make sure the water isn’t boiling hot (keep it under 140 degrees Fahrenheit) if you have plastic pipes.

For bigger back-ups, though, you’ll probably need to pull the clog out.

How long does it take to snake a drain?

Whether you snake the drain yourself or call a pro, it doesn’t take more than a few minutes. You can probably do it in a commercial break.

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