How To Make A Plumbing Snake Turn Corners?


When it comes to plumbing, navigating corners can be a challenging task. Did you know that improper maneuvering of a plumbing snake can cause damage to your pipes and worsen the blockage? To avoid any unnecessary complications, it is essential to understand how to make a plumbing snake turn corners effectively.

Plumbing snakes, also known as drain augers, have been used for decades to clear clogs in pipes. These flexible tools are designed to navigate through bends and twists in the plumbing system. However, it requires skill and technique to ensure they can make those sharp turns without causing any harm to the pipes or getting stuck. By following the proper steps and using the right approach, you can effectively make a plumbing snake turn corners and clear those stubborn clogs.

How to Make a Plumbing Snake Turn Corners?

Understanding the Basics of Plumbing Snakes

A plumbing snake, also known as a drain snake or an auger, is a useful tool for clearing clogs in drains and pipes. It consists of a flexible cable with a length of metal coil or a spiral auger at one end. The other end is equipped with a handle for user control. Plumbing snakes come in various sizes and can be manual or motorized.

When encountering a clog, the plumbing snake is inserted into the drain or pipe, then rotated manually or mechanically to break up and remove the obstruction. However, one of the challenges users often face is navigating the snake around corners and bends in the plumbing system. This can be particularly challenging in complex and convoluted pipe systems where the snake needs to make multiple turns.

In this article, we will explore different techniques and tips to make a plumbing snake turn corners effectively. Whether you are a homeowner dealing with a stubborn clog or a professional plumber seeking to improve your skills, these methods will help you navigate pipes and clear blockages more efficiently.

1. Choose the Right Plumbing Snake

Before delving into the techniques of making a plumbing snake turn corners, it is important to select the right snake for the job. Choosing the correct size and type of snake can greatly affect its maneuverability in tight spaces.

Manual snakes are suitable for smaller drains and shorter clogs, while motorized snakes are more powerful and typically used for larger plumbing systems. Depending on the size and type of clog, you may need a smaller or larger snake. It is essential to choose a snake that is long enough to reach the obstruction and navigate the bends and corners in the pipe.

Consider the following factors when selecting a plumbing snake:

  • The diameter of the snake should match the diameter of the pipe to ensure a proper fit.
  • Opt for a flexible cable that can easily bend and navigate corners.
  • Choose a snake with a length that can reach the clog without being too long to handle efficiently.
  • If dealing with complex pipe systems with multiple bends, a smaller snake with a more flexible cable may be preferable.

2. Preparing the Plumbing Snake

Once you have chosen the appropriate plumbing snake, it is essential to prepare it before attempting to navigate corners. Proper preparation can make the snake more effective at maneuvering through bends and can help prevent damage to pipes.

Follow these steps to prepare the plumbing snake:

  • Inspect the snake for any damage or sharp edges that could scratch or puncture the pipes. Smooth out any rough spots with sandpaper or a file.
  • Ensure the cable is clean and free from debris or buildup that may hinder its flexibility.
  • Apply a lubricant, such as petroleum jelly or a specialized drain cleaning lubricant, to the cable to reduce friction as it moves through the pipe.
  • Attach any necessary attachments or augers to the end of the snake, depending on the type of clog you are facing.

Properly preparing the plumbing snake will help it glide smoothly through the pipe, making it easier to negotiate corners and bends.

3. Technique: The Push and Twist Method

The push and twist method is a common technique used to navigate corners and bends with a plumbing snake. It involves a combination of pushing and rotating the snake to help it make its way through the pipe system.

Follow these steps to use the push and twist method:

  • Insert the snake into the drain or pipe, starting with the section closest to the clog.
  • Push the snake forward while simultaneously rotating it clockwise. The pushing motion helps the snake advance, while the twisting motion helps it negotiate corners by gradually guiding it through.
  • Continue pushing and twisting the snake until you reach the clog or encounter resistance.
  • Once you reach the clog, reverse the rotation of the snake and pull it back slowly while maintaining pressure.
  • Repeat the process as needed until the clog is cleared.

Using the push and twist method requires patience and finesse. It is essential to apply steady, controlled pressure and avoid forcing the snake through the pipe, as this can cause damage or create more significant clogs.

4. Technique: Using a J-Tip Attachment

In situations where the plumbing snake struggles to negotiate corners, using a J-tip attachment can provide additional assistance. A J-tip attachment, also known as a bulb auger, is designed to help the snake make tight turns and navigate through bends more easily.

Here’s how to use a J-tip attachment with a plumbing snake:

  • Attach the J-tip attachment to the end of the snake.
  • Insert the snake into the drain or pipe, ensuring the J-tip attachment leads the way.
  • Push and rotate the snake, using the push and twist method described earlier.
  • As the snake encounters a corner or bend, the J-tip attachment will help guide the snake through the turn.
  • If necessary, reverse the rotation and pull the snake back slowly while maintaining pressure to navigate the turn smoothly.
  • Continue the process until the clog is cleared.

The J-tip attachment serves as a pivotal point and helps the snake make sharper turns. It can be especially beneficial in complex pipe systems with multiple bends.

5. Technique: Working from Multiple Access Points

In certain situations, it may be challenging to make a plumbing snake effectively turn corners, especially if the pipe system is extensive or has limited access points. In such cases, working from multiple access points can provide a solution.

Follow these steps to work from multiple access points:

  • Identify all available access points to the plumbing system, such as clean-out openings or removable sections of pipes.
  • Insert the snake into one of the access points.
  • Push and twist the snake, navigating it through the pipes until you reach a point where it cannot turn further.
  • Remove the snake from the current access point.
  • Insert the snake into the adjacent access point closest to the previous endpoint.
  • Continue pushing and twisting the snake, working in sections from one access point to another, until you reach the clog.

Working from multiple access points allows you to navigate corners and bends more effectively by approaching them from different angles. It can be a time-consuming process but is often necessary in complex plumbing systems.

6. Practice Proper Care and Safety

When using a plumbing snake, it is crucial to practice proper care and safety measures to prevent injury and damage to the plumbing system.

Consider the following tips:

  • Wear appropriate safety gear, such as gloves and eye protection, to protect yourself from debris and potential splashes.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines for operating the plumbing snake.
  • Avoid applying excessive force or using excessive speed, as this can damage the pipes or the snake itself.
  • Regularly inspect the cable and attachments for any signs of wear or damage and replace them as necessary.
  • If unsure about a particular situation or facing a complex clog, it is advisable to consult a professional plumber.

By taking proper care and following safety guidelines, you can ensure the effectiveness of the plumbing snake while minimizing the risk of accidents or further damage to the plumbing system.


Making a plumbing snake turn corners may seem challenging, but with the right techniques and tools, it becomes more manageable. By choosing the appropriate snake, preparing it properly, and using techniques like the push and twist method or using a J-tip attachment, you can effectively navigate corners and bends in plumbing systems.

Remember to approach the task with patience, apply steady pressure, and practice proper care and safety. If the clog proves too difficult to solve on your own or if you encounter complex plumbing systems, it is always best to seek the assistance of a professional plumber.

Key Takeaways: How to Make a Plumbing Snake Turn Corners?

  • Use a flexible plumbing snake that can navigate bends and corners.
  • Feed the snake slowly into the blocked pipe, twisting it as you go.
  • If the snake gets stuck, apply gentle pressure and twist it to help it turn the corner.
  • Consider using a mechanical snake with a motorized auger for tough blockages.
  • Always wear protective gloves and goggles when working with plumbing snakes.

If you need to navigate corners with a plumbing snake, there are a few methods you can use to make it easier. First, make sure you have a flexible snake that can bend easily. Next, twist and rotate the snake as you push it through the pipe to help it maneuver around corners. You can also try using a corner attachment or a specialized snake with a built-in bend to make navigating corners even smoother. Remember to take your time and be patient as you guide the snake through the pipe.

To recap, when using a plumbing snake to turn corners:

  • Use a flexible snake
  • Twist and rotate the snake
  • Consider a corner attachment or specialized snake
  • Take your time and be patient


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here