Clogged drains

8 Ways to Clear a Clogged Drain and What to Do If It Doesn’t Work

If you are here, you must have a clogged drain, right? Or maybe you are an avid learner of DIY skills. Either way, you have come to the right place. This is eight ways to clear a clogged drain by yourself before ever having to call a professional. We specialize in challenging clogs that can’t be cleared by the usual remedies and created this list to save you time and money on clogs that don’t require our services.  So let’s get down to it. 

1. Is It Clean?

Much like unplugging and plugging back in any electronic that is misbehaving, making sure your drain covers are clean and clear of any debris is a pretty basic, but no less important, step. It seems like an obvious thing to mention, but it can easily be overlooked. Some drain covers, such as bathroom sinks, can be unscrewed and pulled up out of the drain to be thoroughly cleaned. Putting an ounce of dish soap or dish detergent directly into your drain with hot water and letting it sit for awhile will eat up any grease, fats and oils. 


2. Hot Water 

If you have metal pipes, boiling water on the stove and pouring it directly down the drain slowly can melt grease, fats, and oils, potentially clearing your drainage from a clog. This method can also melt your PVC pipes, so boiling water is NOT recommended for any PVC piping. At sea level, water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, but it only takes a temperature of 175 degrees to soften PVC pipes. A clog will hold the boiling water in one place for a period of time and can cause warping, seals breaking, and even a pipe bursting. So be aware of your drain pipe material before doing this. 


3. Baking soda, vinegar, hot water, and other common alternative household mixtures 

If you search the internet for ways to unclog a drain, this is by far the most popular remedy because it works well. Pour about ½ cup baking soda and ½ cup of vinegar down the drain. Then pour several cups of hot or boiling water and leave it alone to let it sit and do its magic.  You can also try ¼ cup Borax and ¼ cup salt with vinegar in the same manner. As a side note, salt is cautioned against use because it’s abrasive and can create divots or scratches in your piping that “catch” future debris, fats, grease, and oils.  


4. Coke or Generic Coke Soda 

Yes, that sugary brown soda is pretty good at attacking stubborn clogs in your drains. This is due to its acidic nature. Just pour your 1.5L bottle into your drain and let it sit for over an hour. It’s a better choice than professional drain cleaners as they are not as harmful or toxic to the environment. While you don’t have to worry about toxic fumes from a bottle of Coke, you do have to be aware that your pipes may be coated with a sugary film after your clog has been treated. Be sure to rinse your drains with plenty of hot water.  


5. Professional Drain Cleaners and Green Enzyme Cleaners 

Professional Drain cleaners are an absolute last resort. It may be easier to just go to the store and buy the professional drain cleaners, however they rarely work as they should, and they are extremely toxic to the environment. Great care must be taken to protect yourself with rubber gloves, eye protection, and plenty of ventilation to disperse the fumes. Because of these factors many people are moving away from them and using Enzyme cleaners. Enzyme cleaners are great for clogs that contain hair and buildup of grease, fats, and oils.  


6. Wire Clothes Hanger, Drain Snake, Millipede and other Tools 

If liquids aren’t helping, it might be time to get a little more physical. If you have a wire clothes hanger handy, straighten it out and curl a tiny hook at the end. Stick it straight down the center of the drain and see if you can’t break up that clog or dislodge it. Take care to not scratch the sides of your pipes. If you don’t have a wire hanger, you can purchase clog-clearing devices such as Snake Drains, Millipedes and Closet Augers for as little as $10 to as much as $200.  No matter what device you use, follow directions carefully as to not damage your pipes. 


7. Wet / Dry Vac 

That’s right! Not many people think about this option, but it does work. You must seal up any overflow drains in your sink or tub with something like a wet rag. Then, you switch your Wet / Dry Vac to “wet” and make sure it has a solid seal around the drain. With any luck you will be able to suck that clog right out of your drain. 


8. Clear the Traps  

In sinks and drains there is a pipe connected directly underneath that is shaped like a ‘P’ or a ‘U.’ Those are traps. Their purpose is to trap large debris that accidentally goes down the drain from going deep into your water pipe system. You would need to get a bucket and place it under the trap to catch water and the contents of the trap. Then you would take a pipe wrench and unscrew the nuts at both ends and dump the contents out into the bucket. Go to a separate sink and rinse it out before you put it back together. 


If you have made your way through this check list and you still have drains that are clogged, it might be time to call a professional. We specialize in finding and clearing only the hardest clogs in your pipes that can’t be solved with these steps. Give us a call and we will happy to come out and solve your drainage problems. 

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