How to Unclog a Urinal? A Step-By-Step Guide

Once upon a time, I thought clogging a urinal was impossible. But then it happened in my own bar, with a place full of beer lovers — I don’t have to explain what it meant for my business that night. 

And so, I learned how to unclog a urinal. It turns out that it’s easier than unclogging a toilet – you only need to use a toilet plunger, a drain auger, or muriatic acid. After that, it all comes down to following a few simple instructions.

Keep reading to see a step-by-step guide on how to break the clogs in your urinal. 

What Clogs Urinals?

Most urinals can last forever without clogging, so it mainly occurs in public restrooms. But there’s nothing mysterious about clogging a urinal — it can only happen for one of these three reasons.

Flushing Physical Objects

As the name suggests, the purpose of the urinal is to dispose of urine. Sometimes people forget this simple fact and flush other objects down the drain. These include items like cigarette butts, hair, and chewing gums.

Although small, all these objects are large enough to block a thin drain line. If you keep throwing them in the urinal, it will clog sooner or later.

Uric Acid Crystals

Urine is a salt solution with a high concentration of uric acid crystals. This is what gives urine its color and distinctive smell, but it’s also the reason why it forms partial clogs over time. 

Uric acid is particularly bad if you don’t clean the urinal regularly — it sticks to the drain’s surface to form folds and deposits. However, we must say that uric acid crystals can’t clog a urinal on their own. 

Urine salts are too small to create big waste balls, but they build up to make the drainpipe thinner. If there are uric acid sediments in your urinal, even a tiny object can clog it. Besides that, they make your toilet smell like urine.

Hard Water Deposits

Minerals from hard water can accumulate in a urinal, too. These minerals form unsightly sediments that ruin the smoothness of porcelain walls and plastic pipes. 

In the worst-case scenario, they can turn into rust and corrode the metal parts. Like uric acid crystals, hard water deposits can’t form clogs on their own. 

They make the drain line thinner instead, preventing bigger objects from exiting the pipes. That’s how you get slow-moving drains and a clogged urinal.

How to Unclog a Urinal in 3 Quick Steps

The good thing about clogs in foul-smelling urinals is that you can decompose them quickly. We recommend one of the following solutions.

Solution 1: Use a Toilet Plunger

A regular toilet plunger is the first thing you should try before moving on to more complicated methods. It can solve most cases of small urinal clogs, so you don’t have to drill with a drain auger.

Before starting, remember to get your health protection equipment. That includes a pair of rubber gloves, a shirt with long sleeves, goggles, and a face mask. You can also open windows and turn on the exhaust fan to remove bad odor.

This is enough to save yourself from ugly urine smell and stains, so let’s see how to use a plunger.

  • Remove hard elements from the urinal — splash guards, urinal cakes, and waste
  • Remove the drain cover by unscrewing the screw sealing it to the urinal
  • Turn the screw counterclockwise with a screwdriver
  • If there is no screw, use a flathead screwdriver to snap off the drain cover
  • Place the plunger against the porcelain to create a tight vacuum seal
  • Pump in down at least ten times — you’ll feel the pressure growing inside
  • When you hear the water gurgling, it’s a sign that you’ve unclogged the urinal
  • The only thing left is to remove the plunger and flush the urinal to test it

Solution 2: Drill With a Drain Auger

Drain augers are tools that serve the purpose of unclogging toilets and urinals. However, keep in mind that toilet augers are not the same as urinal augers — the former has a much longer rod, so it’s hard to operate while unclogging urinals.

The drain auger has a drum with a handle, which makes it easy to twist and push the drill inside the urinal. Besides that, there are two types of augers — electric and manual.

The difference between them is that the electric one has a motorized drum that does all the work for you. Manual augers require you to crank the handle yourself, but they last longer and don’t vibrate as much.

Electrical augers are also more expensive, so we’ll focus on unclogging the urinal with a manual drain auger cable. Here’s how it works:

  • Remove the drain cover and insert the cable in the drainpipe
  • When the auger goes in, rotate the drum handle counterclockwise
  • As it keeps going into the urinal drain, the auger will break debris and sediments
  • Once it reaches the clog, the drain auger cable will stop for a moment
  • It’s time to push slightly harder because it’s the only way to break the clog
  • When you do that, you’ll notice that the auger can progress freely once again
  • Now it’s time to pull out the drill by turning the drum handle clockwise
  • When it’s out, you should clean the cable with a wet cloth
  • Test the urinal by flushing it a few times — it should work as usual

Solution 3: Pour Muriatic Acid

If you want a more elegant solution to unclog the urinal, perhaps you should try pouring muriatic acid. Muriatic acid is one of the strongest acids that you can dilute for use as a cleaning agent.

Our advice is to avoid it because the substance is dangerous and toxic. If you still want to give it a try, remember to cover your face, hands, eyes, and skin. After that, you can follow these steps to fix the clogged urinal:

  • Find a plastic bucket and pour one cup of muriatic acid
  • Add 10 cups of clean water to dilute acid
  • Leave the substances in the bucket for a few minutes to let them merge
  • Pour the solution into the urinal, but be careful not to splash it
  • Let it rest on the drain surface and inside the urinal for 10 minutes
  • Muriatic acid mixed with water should decompose clogs in that period
  • Flush the urinal a few times to check if it works
  • Remove the bucket and clean it using hot water and your favorite cleaning product

How to Prevent Urinal Clogging

When you remove clogs from the urinal, you should try your best to prevent future clogging. It should be difficult — all it takes is a proactive mindset and an occasional cleaning. Here are a few tips:

Clean Regularly

Clean up the urinal on a regular basis. Cleaning it biweekly or even monthly should be enough to keep the urinal in perfect condition. You can deodorize foul-smelling urinals and clean them with your standard cleaning product.

It should protect that white-colored porcelain while preventing build-up sediments from uric acid and hard water. Besides that, don’t neglect the urinal by allowing users to block it with hard objects.

Install the Splash Guard

Splash guards are simple devices that prevent the splash of urine on the floor. They can consist of different materials, but our advice is to install a stainless steel guard.

This tool doesn’t only stop urine splashes but also halts hard objects from entering the urinal. That way, you can pick whatever is in the urinal and clean it effortlessly.

Stop Flushing Hard Objects

Another important tip is to stop using urinals as garbage bins. If you want to dispose of cigarette butts, Q tips, and other things, don’t do in the urinal. However small, hard objects will clog the urinal eventually.

One way to change this ugly habit is to put a garbage bin close to your urinal. That way, you’ll see and use the trash every time you feel the urge to throw something in the urinal.

Post a Warning Sign

If you have kids, customers, or employees who think they can use urinals as containers, post a warning sign. Explain why they should never flush hard objects in the urinal — it will probably be enough to fend off careless garbage throwers.

The Bottom Line

So how to unclog a urinal? We guess it doesn’t look like a big challenge now that you’ve read our article — all it takes is to use a toilet plunger, a drain auger, or muriatic acid.

Each of these solutions will help you get rid of annoying clogs in your urinal. After that, it is only a matter of prevention and keeping your urinal clean for good.

FAQ

Why do urinals clog?

Urinals clog because of hard objects people throw in them. If you frequently flush cigarette butts, Q tips, hair, or chewing gums down the drain, it will block the urinal soon.

Hard water deposits and uric acid crystals only add to the problem, making your urinal easy to clog.

How do you dissolve urine crystals in the urinal? 

You can dissolve urine crystals in the urinal by cleaning them with your favorite toilet cleaning product. Pour a cup of detergent into the urinal, spray water over it, and scrub the urinal. After that, urine crystals will disappear.

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