May 16


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How to Clean a Drain with a Pressure Washer

cleaning guide, Drain


  • Pressure washers are a a very effective way of cleaning and unblocking drains
  • Quick and efficient
  • Avoids the need to call a plumber


  • Protective clothing essential
  • Not suitable for old or weak pipes


A pressure washer is a great way to clean a drain but you'll need the right safety gear and your pipes will need to be in good condition.

How to Clean a Drain with a Pressure Washer

Unfortunately cleaning a drain with a pressure washer is not as simple as blasting it with your wand. You're going to need a Sewer Jetter kit which includes everything you need and are available for a good price on Amazon.

They come with everything you need including a long hose and specialist nozzles that make clearing sewers easy.

A sewer jetter kit is essential

How to clean a drain with a pressure washer, step-by-step

1. Wear Protective Clothing

You've going to be working with drains and sewers so protetive gear is an essential. You don't want to be doing this job in your shorts and t-shirts. Boots, waterproof trousers, gloves and glasses are the minimum you'll want to be wearing for this job.

2. Remove the man hole cover nearest to your blockage

For a blocked external drain you're going to need to find the nearest man hole cover that you can remove.

You may need to use a screwdriver to scrape around the edge and then use some man hole keys, or man hole hook to remove the cover.

Be careful! manhole covers are very heavy! Alway lift heavy objects with care, keeping in mind lifting safety advice.

Man hole keys make remove a man hole cover much easier

3. Connect your sewer jetter kit

It's time to connect the jetter. Follow the manufacturers instructions and connect the kit your machine. You'll want to use the sewer jet tip that sprays water forwards and backwards.

4. Thread the hose down the drain pipe

Before you start you'll want to make sure you hose is on a reel. It makes retrieving the hose after the job much easier.

Slowly push the hose into the pipe. Once you're in you can start you pressure washer on a low setting. Once you hit a blockage you'll feel resistance. Stop spraying and increase your machines pressure setting.

It's at this point you can and pull the trigger and use bursts of increased pressure to clear the blockage

5. Wind the hose back in

Slowly start pulling the hose back whilst still using short bursts of pressure to clear the pipe of the loose debris.

A reel makes retrieving your hose easy

What Pressure Washer Nozzle Should You Use to Clean a Drain?

What you will be looking for is a sewer jetter nozzle for pressure washers. It sprays water out of a front facing jet as well as a number of rear facing ones.

The nozzle will also come with a special hose that you attach to your pressure washer.

A sewer jet nozzle

What PSI is Best When Cleaning a Drain with a Pressure Washer?

A gas powered pressure washer with 3000 psi of power is ideal for cleaning a drain. You can get the job done with an electric powered machine, but it might take a bit longer.

Things to Be Careful of When Using a Pressure Washer to Clean a Drain

While this may seem like a straightforward method, there are still some things that you want to pay close attention to.

  • Don’t use this method when your pipes are weak or not made of PVC or metal. Using a pressure washer on a cracked or weak pipe can cause some serious damage.
  • Keeping the hose in one place is not ideal when using a pressure washer to clean a drain. The right way to do it is to move the hose back and forth. Keeping it in one place will only put you at risk of damaging the plumbing, but keeping it moving will clean it quickly.
  • Overlooking your safety isn’t an option, wear the necessary gear. At the minimum, you should wear safety glasses and gloves. You are using water being shot out at high pressure and you could be injured if something comes back at you from the pipe if you’re not wearing safety gear.

Is It Safe to Clean Drains with a Pressure Washer?

Yes, providing your wear the correct safety gear and your pipes are in good condition and made of a pressure washer suitable material.

For older homes that have been plumbed with clay pipes or pipes made of Orangeburg, it’s not recommended to use this method. If your home has PVC or metal piping in good condition, there should be no issues whatsoever. 

You can always test the pipe by spraying it right up on the pipe with your pressure washer wand and look for any damage caused by doing so. In the case where you spot damage, stop immediately and call in a licensed plumber so you don’t cause further issues.

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