9 Home Solutions For Clogged Drains
A clogged drain is the absolute last thing you want when your week is overflowing (pun intended)! Whether your drain is completely blocked or the water is barely trickling down, a clogged drain causes unpleasant smells, delayed schedules, and frustration every time you use your sink. Your drain is the unsung hero of your plumbing, and you really don’t appreciate it until it gets a bit behind. Anything from hairballs racing down the tub drain to greasy water coursing through your kitchen sink, it is effortless to clog your drain.
The pros at Cam Plumbing know how frustrating the clog is! So let us give you a few expert tips to help you resolve the problem quickly! Here our experts share 9 home solutions for clogged drains.
Avoid Clogs To Begin With
Yes, we know this tip is probably not your top one as you hunt for a solution for your clogged drain. However, it is worth noting that the very best way to never deal with a clog again is to take some simple precautions. Using a drain grate in the bathroom drains to catch extra hair will make your life easier. Also, not pouring coffee grounds, bacon grease, eggshells, or coconut oil down your drain will help prevent clogs in the future. Finally, if you have a garbage disposal, regular maintenance is essential to help stop clogs! One tip is regularly dumping ice cubes down the drain to sharpen the blades. These precautions will not only avoid clogs in your drain but also save you more money in the long run.
Drop the Drain-O
Many homeowners opt to take care of a clog with a chemical drain solution. However, while this solution might solve your immediate problem, it can cause substantial damage to your plumbing. Synthetic cleaners contain a powerful combination of chemicals — usually sodium hydroxide or sulfuric acid. The combination of these chemicals will eat away at your pipes over time, regardless of whether your pipes are metal or plastic. Not only can these cleaners fail to remove the clog and damage your plumbing, but they also are hard on the environment. The harsh chemicals go down your drain and end up in landfills and groundwater, where small birds, deer, and other animals become sick from drinking the toxic water. Not only does it impact the water the animals drink, but it also affects the water we drink and the water plants drink. In addition, these cleaners are also toxic to your health. They release harmful fumes which damage your lungs and can cause serious burns if the solution comes in contact with your skin. Finally, harsh drain chemicals can also damage their surfaces depending on what material your tub or sink is.
So, if your drain is already clogged and the Drain-O tempts you, wait a minute. Instead, let’s skip the headache and talk about the nine home solutions for clogged drains. Then, let’s get your drain back in tip-top shape!
Please note that before you attempt any of these home solutions, remove your drain screen or stopper (if you have one) and wipe out any visible clogs with a paper towel.
1. Dish Soap and Hot Water
Yes, the very same solution you wash your dishes in each day! Boil approximately 9 cups of water and mix in 3-4 tablespoons of liquid dish soap. Slowly pour this mixture down the sink. Repeat several times. This solution is excellent if the clog is due to a grease build-up. The hot water and dish soap will heat the grease, turning it back to a liquid state and allowing it to travel out of the pipe.
2. Plain Old Boiling Water
Flushing the drain with hot water is the simplest solution and the easiest. Boiling water is a minor clog’s kryptonite. Before you pour the water down the pipe, double-check that you have metal pipes, not PVC. Extremely hot water (over 175 degrees) can melt or soften PVC at the joints. If you are unsure what material your pipes are, opt for hot water from your faucet, not hot water you boiled.
3. A Wire Coat Hanger
A wire coat hanger can work to pull up a clog made up of food or hair buildup. First, straighten the wire hanger and leave the hook intact. Then, use the hook end of the hanger to fish in the drain and pull out the clog. Remove as much as possible before running hot water down the sink.
4. Plunge Away
If you are dealing with a bathroom sink drain, plunging will most likely not solve your problem. Plugging is an excellent solution for a kitchen sink, as common kitchen sink clogs usually involve grease, soap scum buildup, and leftover dinner pieces. A plunger works to help push the clog farther down the pipe, allowing it to scoot on its merry way! Before plunging, clear the sink of all dishes, rags, and scrubby brushes. Next, fill the sink halfway with warm water. Then find a cup-shaped plunger, not a flanged one. A flanged one will not form a proper seal over your clogged drain. You also might not want to use the same plunger you operate on other parts of your house! Next, you will start to plunge! Make sure you have a clean, airtight fit completely covering the drain. Finally, begin to pump the plunger using quick, sharp movements. Stop to see if the drain has cleared. If not, keep plunging!
5. Snake It!
A plunger is the first thing to try, but opt to snake your drain if it doesn’t work. Yes, snaking your own drain is daunting for many homeowners, but it is possible! Drain snakes come in a variety of types and lengths. However, a 25-50 foot drain snake will clear many sink clogs. If the clog is in the shower or bathtub drain, you will first want to remove the tub stopper and any hair that might get caught in the cross-section of the drain.
We recommend using a standard drain snake with a ¼ or 5/16-inch cable. The smaller snake drain is easier to navigate around the pipe’s curves. Send the coil down into the drain as far as you can get it, and then reel it back in. Hopefully, it will take the clog with it!
6. Try a Wet-Dry Vac
If plunging and snaking is not doing the trick, you might want to dry a wet-dry vac. Unfortunately, these aren’t everyday household items for many people. However, if you have one and none of the previous methods have worked, give it a try.
First, set the wet-dry vac machine to the “wet” setting. Next, make a very tight seal over the drain. Finally, turn it on at its highest setting. Hopefully, the suction will suck that clog right out of your sink!
7. Baking Soda and Vinegar
Baking soda and vinegar create an excellent (safe) chemical reaction to help unclog your drain. You can truly use vinegar for everything, and it is a staple in every kitchen! Not only can you cook with vinegar, but it is an effective and environmentally friendly cleaner. One of vinegar’s unique properties (usually 5-8% of vinegar, by volume, is acetic acid) makes it an ideal cleaner and disinfectant! In addition, its unique properties help it attack stubbornly blocked sink drains!
First, heat ½ a cup of white vinegar. You’ll get better results if you heat the vinegar first, but it’s not essential. Next, pour ½ cup of baking soda and the white vinegar down the drain. You’ll immediately hear fizzing and bubbling from the chemical reactions occurring. Next, plug your drain and let it sit for one hour. The longer it sits, the more effective it is at breaking apart the clog. Next, pour a boiling pot of water down the drain. If the clog persists, repeat!
8. Baking Soda and Salt
Baking soda and salt are similar to baking soda and vinegar. Again, combine ½ cup of baking soda with ½ a cup of salt. Let the baking soda and salt mixture sit for at least 30 minutes (overnight is ideal). Then pour building water down the drain. Repeat several times for bigger clogs.
9. Baking Soda + Lemon Juice
Again, baking soda and lemon are a fantastic alternative to baking soda and vinegar – especially if you or someone in your home hates the smell of vinegar! Combine 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup lemon juice and pour the solution down your drain. Plug your drain, and let the mixture sit for one hour. Then, chase your concoction with a big pot of boiling water.
When In Doubt, Give Us A Shout!
Sometimes a clogged drain becomes a recurring problem despite all the above natural remedies you try! Sometimes the natural remedies don’t work from the start! When the homemade remedies aren’t quite cutting it, it is time to call in the drain unclogging professionals. Time to call a quality licensed plumber that you can trust! If you live in Southwest Florida, give Cam Plumbing a call! We offer top-quality clogged drain solutions at an affordable price. Our experts also explain what is causing the clog and how to prevent future problems. Available 24/5, Cam Plumbing is here for you!
If you are interested in seeing what’s coming down the pipes in the world of plumbing, follow us on Facebook and Instagram!