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DIY Drain Cleaning: How to Save Money with a Pressure Washer Drain Jet

Maintaining clean drains is essential for the smooth functioning of your plumbing system. Clogged drains can lead to unpleasant odors, slow drainage, and even potential water damage if left untreated. One effective and cost-efficient method for clearing out stubborn clogs is DIY drain cleaning using a pressure washer drain jet.

Understanding Pressure Washer Drain Jetting

Pressure washer drain jetting involves using a specialized nozzle attached to a pressure washer to blast away debris and obstructions from drain pipes. This method utilizes high-pressure water streams to dislodge and flush out accumulated grime, grease, and other blockages.

  1. Equipment Setup: A specialized nozzle designed for drain jetting is attached to the end of a flexible hose connected to a high-pressure washer. The pressure washer itself is capable of producing water at extremely high pressures, often exceeding 3000 PSI (pounds per square inch).
  2. Inspection: Before starting the jetting process, it’s important to inspect the drain system using a camera to identify the location and nature of the blockage. This helps in determining the most effective approach for clearing the obstruction.
  3. Preparation: The area surrounding the drain is typically protected with tarps or other covers to minimize splashing and contain the mess.
  4. Jetting Process: The jetting nozzle is inserted into the drain opening, and high-pressure water is then pumped through the hose and nozzle into the drain. The force of the water stream is directed towards the obstruction, breaking it apart and pushing it through the drain line. The nozzle is moved back and forth and rotated as needed to ensure thorough cleaning of the pipe walls.

Pressure washer drain jetting offers several advantages over traditional drain cleaning methods:

  • Efficiency: High-pressure water can quickly break apart and flush out stubborn blockages, often in less time than manual methods.
  • Versatility: Drain jetting can be used on a wide range of drain sizes and types, from residential sewer lines to commercial plumbing systems.
  • Non-Invasive: Unlike some mechanical methods, drain jetting doesn’t involve digging or excavation, making it less disruptive and damaging to the surrounding area.

Safety Precautions Before Starting

Before embarking on any DIY drain cleaning project, it’s crucial to prioritize safety. Ensure you wear protective gear such as goggles and gloves to shield yourself from splashing water and debris. Additionally, inspect the drainage system for any potential hazards such as exposed electrical wires.

  1. Protective Gear: Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as safety goggles, gloves, and waterproof clothing to shield yourself from high-pressure water and potential splashes.
  2. Equipment Inspection: Thoroughly inspect the pressure washer, hose, and jetting nozzle for any signs of damage or wear. Ensure that all connections are secure and that the equipment is in good working condition.
  3. Clear Area: Remove any obstacles or debris from the work area to prevent tripping hazards and ensure unrestricted access to the drain opening.
  4. Secure Surroundings: Cover nearby surfaces with tarps or protective sheets to minimize water splashing and contain any mess created during the jetting process.
  5. Ventilation: If working in an enclosed space, ensure adequate ventilation to prevent the buildup of fumes from the pressure washer exhaust.

Preparing the Pressure Washer

Selecting the appropriate nozzle for the pressure washer is essential for effective drain cleaning. Opt for a nozzle specifically designed for drain jetting, as it provides concentrated water pressure for better results. Adjust the pressure settings on the washer according to the condition of the drain to avoid causing damage.

  1. Inspect the Equipment: Before use, visually inspect the pressure washer for any signs of damage or wear. Check the hoses, connections, and trigger gun for leaks, cracks, or other issues. Ensure that all components are securely attached and in good working condition.
  2. Check Fluid Levels: Verify that the pressure washer has an adequate amount of fuel (if gas-powered) or oil (if applicable) according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Inspect the water reservoir or connection to ensure a sufficient water supply.
  3. Connect Water Supply: Connect a garden hose to the water inlet on the pressure washer. Ensure that the hose is tightly secured to prevent leaks. Turn on the water supply and allow it to flow through the system to remove any air pockets.

Steps for DIY Drain Cleaning with Pressure Washer

Begin by inspecting the drain to identify the location and severity of the clog. Next, start the pressure washer and carefully insert the nozzle into the drain opening. Slowly maneuver the nozzle through the pipes, ensuring thorough coverage of the affected areas. Finally, flush out any loosened debris by running water through the drain.

  1. Safety Precautions: Before starting any work, put on appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as safety goggles, gloves, and waterproof clothing to protect yourself from high-pressure water and potential splashes.
  2. Inspect the Drain: Use a flashlight to inspect the drain and identify the location and nature of the blockage. Look for any visible debris, grease buildup, or other obstructions.
  3. Choose the Right Nozzle: Select a jetting nozzle suitable for drain cleaning. Nozzles with forward-firing or rotating jets are often effective for breaking apart blockages and clearing debris from drainpipes.
  4. Prepare the Pressure Washer: Follow the steps outlined earlier to prepare the pressure washer, including checking equipment, connecting the water supply, adjusting pressure settings, and attaching the jetting nozzle.
  5. Clear the Area: Remove any obstacles or debris from around the drain opening to ensure unrestricted access and prevent tripping hazards.

Dealing with Stubborn Clogs

In cases of particularly stubborn clogs, such as tree roots or solid obstructions, extra precautions and techniques may be necessary. Signs of stubborn clogs include persistent drainage issues and recurring blockages. Consider using specialized attachments or increasing the pressure settings on the pressure washer to tackle tough clogs effectively.

  1. Assess the Situation: Before attempting to dislodge a stubborn clog, assess the severity and nature of the blockage. Determine if it’s a simple debris buildup or if there are more complex issues such as root intrusion or hardened grease.
  2. Increase Pressure: If the initial attempts to clear the clog with lower pressure settings are ineffective, gradually increase the pressure of the water flow from the pressure washer. Be cautious not to use excessively high pressure, as it could damage the drainpipes.
  3. Use Specialized Nozzles: Consider using specialized jetting nozzles designed specifically for cutting through roots or breaking apart hardened debris. These nozzles typically have sharper edges or rotating blades to penetrate tough clogs more effectively.

Cost Savings with DIY Drain Cleaning

DIY drain cleaning with a pressure washer can result in significant cost savings compared to hiring professional plumbing services. While professional drain cleaning services can be expensive, investing in a pressure washer allows homeowners to tackle clogs themselves, saving money in the long run.


  1. Is pressure washer drain jetting safe for all types of drains? Pressure washer drain jetting is generally safe for most types of drains, including PVC and metal pipes. However, it’s essential to exercise caution and avoid using excessive pressure, which could potentially damage older or fragile pipes.
  2. Can I use a regular pressure washer for drain cleaning? While it’s possible to use a regular pressure washer for drain cleaning, it’s recommended to use a pressure washer specifically designed for drain jetting.


DIY drain cleaning with a pressure washer drain jet is a practical and cost-effective solution for maintaining clean and functional drains. By following safety precautions and proper techniques, homeowners can save money and ensure the longevity of their plumbing systems.

Date: 27/03/2024

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