Over time, debris and gunk can build up in basement floor drains and clog them. Flushing your basement’s drain(s) periodically can help prevent them from becoming too clogged — and it may even be able to clear already-clogged drains.
Sewer gas odors are another problem that regular flushing can eliminate. If the floor drain’s trap dries out, sewer gas can enter the house. Regular flushing keeps water in the trap.
Here’s how to flush your basement floor drain.
- Gather supplies
- Access the drain
- Clean the drain
Gathering Supplies from Around Your Home
You likely have everything you need to flush out a basement floor drain in your house. Gather rubber gloves so that you won’t have to touch any debris or gunk in the drain, along with a:
- 5-gallon bucket or large pot
- baking soda
- plastic bag or disposable container
An old toothbrush works well. You won’t want to use it again after this project.
You’ll need a lot of baking soda (maybe a pound) and vinegar (as much as a gallon), but these supplies are inexpensive. Any type of vinegar will work.
Accessing the Drain
Some drain covers are secured by a screw that’s in the middle of the cover. To remove the cover of your basement drain, simply use your screwdriver to unscrew this screw and then lift the cover up. It should lift easily after the screw is taken out. Other drain covers are simply lifted up and out of the way.
Cleaning the Drain
Cleaning the drain is a fairly simple process, but it can be gross. Before you begin, put your rubber gloves on (if you haven’t already). Start by removing what you’re able to with your fingers and the toothbrush, which is good for scrubbing the sides of the drain.
Once you’ve removed the debris and gunk you can, clean out the rest of the drain by following these steps:
- Pour boiling water into the drain, and let it sit for 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle baking soda into the drain, trying to coat the sides of the drain.
- Pour vinegar into the drain, and let it sit for 10 minutes. (Both vinegar and bleach will kill any bacteria that cause odors and flush the drain, but vinegar and baking soda have the added advantage of mechanically loosening gunk as they react and fizz.)
- Pour boiling water down the drain several times.
- Repeat these steps until the drain becomes clean.
After the drain has been flushed, clean off the cover and screw it back into place.
Going through this process periodically will keep your basement floor drain relatively clean and free of clogs.
You might also like:
Download our Home Maintenance Schedule to keep up on this and other home maintenance tasks.