By: Kurt Wilson | February 23, 2016

It all starts with not draining as quickly as it does before. Then, you get that horrible stench.  Until you’re left with nothing but a clogged drain.  Intervention is needed immediately when problems like this arise.  Don’t worry, we got you covered.  We’ve listed 10 easy ways that you can try before you call the plumber.

  1. There’s always that buildup of hair that you won’t be able to simply pick up with your hands.   If this is something that you might be experiencing, simply take a wire coat hanger, straighten it and bend an end, creating a hook.  Start feeding it down the drain, making sure that you’re not pushing the clog further down.  As soon as you have pulled everything that’s clogging the drain, flush it with hot water and everything should be back to normal.  If that doesn’t do it, we have more steps for you. 
  2. Get 1/3rd cup of baking soda and mix it with 1/3rd cup of vinegar.  Make sure to pour it down the drain immediately after mixing since you need all that fizzing action to happen just down there. Let it stay there for an hour or overnight, if you can, then pour hot water.  If you’re uncomfortable with mixing both in a cup, then pour the baking soda down the drain first and follow it up with the vinegar.
  3. If you have one of those wet and dry vacuums, that’s one great tool to unclog a drain.  Set the vacuum to liquids and cover the vent to avoid making a mess.  Then, make a very tight seal over your drain.  You can even use an old plunger head.  Turn the vacuum to its highest setting and watch it suck the clog up.  It may not work, but if you’re lucky, that’s all the work it needs.
  4. The easiest way to unclog a drain is to pour boiling water.  Slowly pour the water in at least 3 stages, giving the water some time to work on that clog.  Just remember not to do this step when you have PVC pipes as this may cause further damage. 
  5. Using Sodium Hydroxide or caustic soda may not always be the safest but I guess that’s why they say “Safety first”.  Wear eye protection and some rubber gloves to keep yourself from getting chemical burns.  Get 3 cups of the caustic soda and add it to a 3-4 gallon of cold water. It’ll start to heat up and fizz.  Carefully pour it down the drain and let it sit for at least 20 minutes.  Flush with hot, boiling water.  Take this step with extra caution.
  6. Disassembling pipes is a job for a plumber but this one’s really easy that you can do it yourself. Under the trap or the U-shaped pipe, place a bucket.  Loosen the nuts at each end then remove the trap.  Turn it upside down, making sure the water goes straight to the bucket.  Clean the trap and if you can, include the pipes that hold the trap.  An old toothbrush can do the trick in cleaning.  Before putting the trap back, rinse it with water and the problem should be resolved.
  7. Tough clogs require snaking it.  To do this, you will once again need to remove the trap, feed the cable of the snake into the pipe that goes straight to the sewer line.  Once you reach the clog, tighten the nut in the snake and start twisting and pulling it back and forth with twisting motion.
  8. Here’s another trick making use of baking soda.  Baking soda is a lot of help when it comes to clogs.  But not alone.  This time, you will need to add ½ cup of salt to ½ cup of baking soda.  Pour both down the drain, leave for 10-20 minutes, then flush with boiling water.
  9. If it’s your toilet that’s clogged, put ¼ cup of dish detergent.  This will act as a lubricant and will help with greasy residue.  Flush with hot water then plunge.  If the plunger can’t do it, your next option is rubber gloves.
  10. Bath drains can be tricky too.  You can do the tips stated in # 2 (baking soda and vinegar) and put the stopper back.  After an hour, fill the tub with water.  Once filled, remove the stopper. The pressure from the huge amount of water should be enough to knock the clog out.  You can also plunge or snake it along with the water’s weight.

Simply follow these steps if your initial thought of plunging a clog doesn’t work and you should be able to keep your money and have your drain draining quickly again.  If it’s a more serious case of clog and is not resolved by any of these steps, your best bet is to dial your plumber’s number. 

Category: Plumbing 



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