how to unclog drains

Drains will inevitably become clogged as they handle water, hair, grease, and other solid substances. However, there is no need to hire a residential plumber for minor blockages in sinks, tubs, showers, and toilets. Various inexpensive and efficient techniques can help you unclog drains quickly and easily, allowing you to resume normal activities in no time.

However, it is essential to remember that even if you can’t unclog drains efficiently after learning the methods below, contact a plumbing company and ask for residential plumbing services.

Safest Methods for Clearing Up Clogged Drains

Numerous products in the market can dissolve the most stubborn substances clogging drains. However, such products usually contain harsh chemicals that are detrimental to your health and plumbing. Therefore, why opt for them when safer alternatives that are equally effective are accessible?

Here are some of the most effective methods to unclog drains without resorting to chemicals.

safest methods for unclogging drains

Use Dish Soap

If you find that grease has congealed in your pipes and is clogging your sink drain, causing a variety of issues, don’t fret. A readily available solution that can be found right next to your sink is dish soap. Here is how you can do it:

1. Boil water in a kettle.

2. Remove standing water from the sink and drain.

3. Pour a substantial quantity of dish soap into the clogged drain.

4. Allow the soap to drip for a few minutes to reach the blocked area.

5. Pour hot water from the kettle down the drain to flush it out.

6. Repeat the process if necessary. If the clog persists, it may be due to something other than grease.

Use Dish Soap to Unclog Drains

You Can Use a Plunger to Unclog Drains

Bathroom sinks are notorious for getting clogged with hair and soap scum. Luckily, you can use a plunger to clear your bathroom sink just like you would your toilet. However, make sure to clean the plunger thoroughly or use a separate one. Here are the steps:

1. First, remove any cover or plug from your drain.

2. Run the faucet until there’s about an inch of water in the sink.

3. Ensure a tight seal by placing the plunger completely over the drain.

4. Vigorously pump the plunger up and down for up to thirty seconds.

5. Observe how the water drains. If it remains in the sink, pump the plunger again.

Use a Plunger to Unclog Drains

Using Baking Soda is One of the Safest Ways of Unclogging Your Drain

Baking soda is a safe and natural drain cleaner that can effectively unclog drains. Combine baking soda with vinegar and boiling water to create a powerful, chemical-free unclogging solution. All you need to do is to follow these steps:

1. Boil water in a kettle.

2. To unclog and warm up the pipes, pour the boiling water into the blocked drain.

3. Refill the kettle with water and heat it up.

4. Pour a cup of baking soda and a mixture of one cup of water and vinegar down your blocked drain.

5. Cover the drain and leave it for ten minutes.

6. Pour boiling water down the drain.

7. The vinegar and baking soda mixture should loosen the clog enough for the boiling water to flush it out.

using baking soda for unclogging a drain

Use Wire Hanger

If you have a wire hanger lying around, you can use it to break up drain clogs. Here’s how:

1. Use needle-nosed pliers to straighten the hanger into a long wire while keeping the hook intact on one end.

2. Insert the hook end into the drain and rotate it while keeping a firm grip on the other end.

3. If you encounter resistance, wiggle and rotate the hanger a few more times.

4. Gently remove the hanger from the drain and wipe away any debris with a paper towel.

5. Repeat until the clog is completely cleared.

6. Be careful when using this method. Too much force can push the clog deeper into the pipe and make the problem worse.

Use Wire Hanger to clear drains

The Most Professional Method is Using Drain Snakes

If a wire hanger is ineffective, you may need to purchase a drain snake specifically designed to unclog drains. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Place the tip of the drain snake into the drain.

2. Rotate the handle at the end of the drain snake to push the tip further into the drain.

3. Continue rotating the snake into the drain until you encounter resistance.

4. Rotate the snake and continue cranking until it breaks through the clog.

5. When you break through the clog, crank the drain snake in the opposite direction to remove it from the drain.

6. Allow hot water to run through your bathroom or sink drain for a few minutes to clear the blockage.

drain snakes

Now Let’s Learn How to Unclog Any Clogged Drain 

How to fix a clogged toilet:

Forcing a clog through a toilet with a plunger can sometimes worsen the problem. Instead, form a seal and apply gentle pressure on the plunger as you push it down, then pull it back sharply. This will help you pull the clog back up towards the bowl, breaking the blockage and allowing gravity to take over.

If the clog is stubborn, a plunger may not work. In this case, a toilet auger can be used. It is designed to fit inside the toilet bowl and enables the user to thread a cable through the toilet without causing any scratches to the surface coating. The auger can break up the clog, hook it, and pull it back through the bowl.

How to fix a clogged lavatory sink:

While plungers can be useful for clearing sink clogs, it is crucial to employ the appropriate method.

Nearly all lavatory sinks that comply with the code have overflows located approximately one inch from the rim. When plunging, the pressure can potentially travel back through the overflow instead of dislodging the blockage. To avoid this, cover the overflow hole with a rag and apply hand pressure while plunging to take advantage of the hydraulic pressure.

If the plunger proves ineffective, resort to using a wire drain snake. Eliminate the pop-up assembly from the sink and insert the wire gently into the drain while rotating the handle. As soon as the snake progresses, add some extra wire and keep feeding it through. This will break up the blockage and force it through the pipe.

The sink drains often converge at a T or Y-shaped connection in bathrooms featuring two sinks. In sinks with T-shaped fittings, if a snake is inserted through one sink drain, it may potentially travel across the pipes and into the other sink rather than traveling down the drain towards the blockage. In such situations, you might need to eliminate the T-fitting, snake the drain, and subsequently substitute the T-fitting with a Y-shaped fitting.

How to fix a clogged bathtub:

When using a plunger on a shower drain, cover the overflow to create a seal. The most straightforward method is to take off the cover, place a cloth over the opening, and apply pressure with your hand. This enables the plunger to generate pressure in the drain system, hoping to push the blockage through.

If plunging does not eliminate the blockage, proceed to feed the snake through the overflow opening and down into the drain system.

The overflow creates a direct route to the trap, circumventing the narrow turn produced by the drain’s T-shape.

How to unclog a clogged drain pipe:

Bathroom fixtures such as sinks, toilets, and showers are connected to bigger drain pipes, which can also become clogged. However, regulations require the installation of a cleanout fitting at every change of direction. Simply remove the cap and employ this access point to clear the obstruction by using a pair of pliers or a wrench,

Using a larger wire snake is one method to unclog drains pipes. These snakes are typically longer and more powerful, with more aggressive tips designed to break up or hook onto the clog for removal.

To clear the clog, insert the wire snake into the drain and continue feeding it until the obstruction is removed. Whenever feasible, run water through the pipes while snaking to flush the loosened build-up through the system.

Drain-cleaning bladders can also be used to clean clogs using hydraulic force. Rubberized bladders can be attached to the end of a hose and placed inside a cleanout. As water fills the bladder, it expands, creating a seal to block the pipe.

The bladder has a hole at the tip that releases water into the drain pipe, increasing the pressure and forcing the clog to move forward and out of the system. However, note that this system can potentially damage older pipes.

Do Not Go for Chemicals

Chemical drain cleaners are only appropriate for infrequent use in running slow drains, as they cannot clear actual blockages. Furthermore, utilizing liquid drain cleaner in a drain can make the task more hazardous for anyone required to remove the blockage using a plunger or snake. In addition, chemical drain cleaners are harmful to the environment and can corrode metal pipes, resulting in drains that are too effective and cause flooding.

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