Plumbing code requirements for Cleanouts

When your sewer line or drainage system get clogged or backed up, first thing a plumber do is finding the locations of the plumbing cleanout throughout the property.

Cleanout comes in different sizes and it can be located inside the house which called a wall cleanout located under the kitchen or bathroom sinks or laundry room or/and outside the house, which it is usually located outside of your home in the front or back yard.

A wall cleanout located in the laundry room
A wall cleanout located in the laundry room

What is the drain cleanout means?

A cleanout provides access to your main sewer line for cleaning purposes when drain or/and sewer line get backed up.

Cleanout Code Requirements


Plumbing code specify the locations of the cleanouts when running new underground sewer lines, these requirements can apply for both residential and commercial properties.

Cleanout shall be provided for the following locations per the following code sections. (CPC 707.4) (UPC 707.4),

  • Cleanout is required every 100′ ft. run of pipe.
  • It shall be provided when the total turns of the underground pipe exceed 135 degrees.
  • In commercial space, a cleanout is required to be installed above the fixture connection fitting for each urinal regardless the location of the urinal in the building as long as it is located at the floor level.
  • If a horizontal line branches from the mainline exceed 5′ ft. in length.
  • When a horizonal line installed more than 72 degree from the vertical line.


Each cleanout shall be installed to allow cleaning in the direction of the soil and waste flow at right angles thereto and, except in the case of wye branch and end-of-line cleanouts, shall be installed vertically above the flow line of the pipe.

Cleanout shall always installed with the direction of the flow.

To learn more about how to apply for plumbing permit Read more.

Watertight and Gastight

Cleanouts shall be installed to be watertight and gastight. (CPC 707.3) ( UPC 707.3).

Plug Size Requirements

Size of Pipe (Inches)Size of Cleanout(Inches)Threads(Inches)
1 1/21 1/211 1/2
21 1/211 1/2
2 1/22 1/28
32 1/28
4 or larger3 1/28
Cleanout Plug Size CPC Table 707.1 – UPC Table 707.1

4'' inches end of the line cleanout
4” inches end of the line cleanout-New constructions


Cleanout extension shall be considered as drainage piping and each 90 degree cleanout extension shall be extended from a wye-type fitting or other approved fitting of equivalent sweep. (CPC 707.6) (UPC 707.6).

Cleanout Materials

If the existing/new sewer or drainage lines are made of cast-iron pipe, its cleanout fitting shall be cast-iron or copper alloy. For other approved materials, check Table 707.1 in the Uniform plumbing code and the California plumbing code.

Each cleanout fitting for cast-iron pipe shall consist of a cast-iron or copper alloy body and an approved plug. Each cleanout for galvanized wrought iron, galvanized steel, copper, or copper alloy pipe shall consist of a plug as specified in Table 707.1, or a standard weight copper alloy cap, or an approved ABS or PVC plastic plug, or an approved stainless steel cleanout or plug. Plugs shall have raised square heads or approved countersunk rectangular slots.


Cleanout shall be installed above ground and readily accessibly unless it is covered by cover plates which is provided for the cleanout protection. When cleanout located under floor.

It shall extend to outside building or above grade provided 18 inches vertical clearance and 30 inches horizontal clearance without any obstruction.

Cleanout out shall be not more than 5 feet from the underfloor access (Crawl space access). (CPC 707.9)(UPC 707.9).

Cleanout Clearance

Size of Cleanout (inches)Required Clearance (inches)
218 by 18
2 or larger 24 by 24
Clearance in front of the cleanout

Reference Codes – California Plumbing Code – Uniform Plumbing Code.

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