How to Make a Plumbing Snake Turn Corners

Whether you are a newbie or a seasoned plumber, you need to know how to make a plumbing snake turn corners. Even if you are a homeowner trying to complete your DIY projects (although it’s not always advisable), knowing how to operate and use the plumbing snake can be a real advantage.

Reasons for ‘Stuck’ Snake

How to Make a Plumbing Snake Turn Corners
Credit by Hunker

There are basically several logical reasons why your snake doesn’t make a turn. The first one is probably you are using the not-so-right snake. It may be too much for the job. The second one is that the snake may catch a snag, caused by the (pipe) corrosion. The third one is the fact that it contacts the clog when it should turn a corner.

In most cases, the snake may be too big for this work, so you may want to go with the smaller snake. How to make a plumbing snake turn corners even if you have the right one?

Tackling the Corners

What should you do when you have reached the corner and you need the snake to turn corners?

  • First of all, you want to have the drain snake that goes along with the corkscrew auger. Check whether it has been attached securely to the solid cable.
  • Go through the cleanout plug so you can locate the clog
  • Push your corkscrew auger passing the clog until you can feel that it hits something or it doesn’t move forward anymore. You want to crank backward around ¼ turn before pushing again.
  • Keep doing this until you have felt that you pass through (the clog). Keep on pushing until you can see (or feel) the auger’s end coming out from the drain.
  • It’s now the time to do the cleaning, as well as removing the debris at the same time. Push the cable forward and then pull back fast. That should do it!

The steps above are the common ways to use the snake. But seasoned plumbers have various methods and ways in operation, especially related to tackling a challenging task. There is another possible (and common ways) on how to make a plumbing snake turn corners.

First of all, try to operate it within a reverse mode when reaching the corner. When the head (of the snake) rotates in reverse, it should bobble (back and forth) until it has reached the right angle. Don’t force the snake as normal, with clockwise maneuver, when you reach the corners because it may make it turn within the same spot.

And it also builds tension within the cable. What you want to do is to try moving it forward, and then backward, so you can aim for the bend of the turn’s outside area.

The Complete Steps in Using the Snake

In the previous section, you’ve learned about the methods on how to make a plumbing snake turn corners. In this following section, you can learn about the complete steps from finding the most perfect location, inserting the snake, and dealing with the corners and clogs.

1. The first thing to do is to access the nearest drain. Think about the possible drain opening that provides you with the most direct (and also easy) access to the existing clog. If you deal with deep clogs within the drain line, try finding the access point right outside of the cleanout.

Another alternative is to access the floor drain. You should know that it’s easier to tackle with shallow clogs, so you may want to use the sink drain. If you can find out the closest access point, that would be better. The closest point will give you fewer turns before you finally reach the debris.

2. Now it’s time to insert the snake. You can use low power or hand to do it. When you feed the snake, pay attention to its reaction. You may want to turn the snake clockwise. Try to estimate its (extended) distance as you move forward. You should also manage a slack (around 4 inch to 6 inch of length) from the snake to the drain opening.

3. Now you need to maneuver to turn corners. You can always use the steps described in the previous sections. Just make sure that you operate the snake (in reverse and turn the auger clockwise) with low speed. There’s no use using the fast speed for this matter.

Don’t forget to switch directions when you sense that it doesn’t make any forward progress. If you are confused, imagine rocking the car (back and forth) so you can get traction. The idea is just the same. Moreover, you want to ‘hug’ the opposite side of the intended corner, so the snake is able to follow the curve (of the turn).

4. If you have maneuvered the turn successfully, you will see that the snake’s movement is somewhat easier. Keep moving forward until you come to the clog.

5. This is the time to clear out the clog. Use the snake at its full power by ‘parking’ it on tough clogs. Let it chew the debris up or dismantle it completely. After everything is done, don’t forget to clean the snake thoroughly. Dry it properly before you store it.

Make sure that it has been dried off completely before the storage as you don’t want to deal with damp snake.


Q: Can I use the snake to unclog a pipe with 90 degree shape?

A: Yes, you can. There is a snake for tight corners, having proper settings and softer wire for the cable. But if you don’t have the snake, use a liquid drain cleaner (with chemicals).

Q: What is the correct way to turn the plumbing snake?

A: It’s typically in the clockwise way. When you have to maneuver a turn, you move clockwise at hand strength or low power

Q: How should you navigate the drain auger?

A: It feeds to the drain gradually and slowly. Don’t power it fully – or until you get to the clog.

Q: Do I need to use augers with special features?

A: If you can do it, it’s better. You may want to find one with features that can help with the operation and feeding, like auto recoiling.


The plumbing snake has been designed as one of the most likable tools for plumbing. Its function is to remove blockages and clear out clogs in drains. Not only you need to know the type of snake perfect for your needs, you also need to know how to make a plumbing snake turn corners effectively.

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Jack Robert

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