How to Clear a Clogged Shower Drain

There are many things that can cause your shower drain to clog up, such as hair, soap and minerals from hard water. Luckily, there are also many ways to get rid of these particles. Check out the following methods of clearing a clogged shower drain:

Flushing the Drain with Boiling Water

In many cases, boiling water can break down the grease or soap that is causing the clog and clear it out. However, this method may not work when used on its own, especially if you are having a serious blockage caused by a lot of matted hair that has built up over a long period. It may clear just a portion of the clog, but when used with other methods, it can help solve the problem entirely.

Applying Baking Soda and Vinegar

This is a more natural alternative to using cleaning chemicals that can damage your pipes. To start, pour a cup of baking soda down the drain, and after a few minutes, follow it up with a cup of vinegar. You will notice a bubbling action, so wait for the bubbles to die down. Then, try to see if the solution has dissolved the clog in the drain by pouring boiling water into it. Though this method is environmentally friendly and safe, it does not always unclog your drain, so you might still need to use chemicals. However, you can first try performing the other methods below before resorting to such.

Taking the Drain Cover Off and Pull Out the Debris by Hand

This approach offers a fairly good chance of success, but it requires you to use your hands, so it is advised to wear rubber gloves. Remove the drain cover, by loosening and taking out the screw that you will find in its middle. It is also possible that your drain cover can just be pried off using a screwdriver. Look for the clog inside the drain, and if it is within reach, you can just pull it out with your fingers.

Using a Plunger

The location of the clog in the drain and the drain’s design will determine how successful this method will be. But if you think this is the right solution, start by adding petroleum jelly to the edge of the plunger’s suction pad to create a better seal when you position it for plunging. It is also important to add water to make the tool’s end submerged, which can help add more pushing effect. Plunge up and down repeatedly until you see that water is flowing freely down the drain.

Using a Plumber’s Snake or the Auger

When using the snake, push its cable down the drain until you reach the object causing the clog. Turn its handle, which can hold of the debris and pull it back up. Run water to see if the drain is still clogged.

Depending on the gravity of the stoppage, you can use any of the methods listed above. But if any of them does not work, and you do not want to make the problems worse, the last remaining option that you can take is calling a professional plumber.

How to Clear a Clogged Sewer Line

Dealing with clogged drains can be easier with the right knowledge and skill to handle them. But what if the sewer line is the one giving your drains a hard time?

It might be quite difficult to differentiate a regular clog to a sewer line clogging. In this article, there are a few tips that can help you determine this very easily.

1. First, if you are faced with multiple drain clogs, then it is important to know if these are backed up. So you need to check these plumbing fixtures like toilets, bathtubs, and showers. Try to check if they all make gurgling sounds whenever they are backed up with water. If they do so, then it is obvious that the main sewer line is clogged.

2. Second, if you observed that water backs up in uncommon places when you try to use plumbing fixtures, there is a great possibility that your sewer line is in trouble. Check when you flush your toilet if there is gurgling noise in your shower drain or tub. The same goes when running your bathroom sink if water will rise or bubble up.

If one of these signs ever come to your observation, then it is time to clear up your sewer line with haste.

Shut Off the Main Water Supply
The primary thing that you need to do is to shut the main water supply at home. A shutoff valve should be located somewhere at the back or the basement or near the water heater or in the garage. Then it is time to call a professional to handle it. In cases like these, there is not much that you can do unless you are equipped with skills to do so.

Nevertheless, if you are really inclined to fix it yourself then there is a two-step process that you can apply. Sewer line cleaning can be tedious, but with the right tools, you can do it like a pro.

  • First thing that you need to do is to run a plumber’s snake or a drain auger that can be pushed through the sewer to clear out the clogged items within it.
  • The next thing is to use a fiber optic camera that can be used to look down the line to determine what to do next. Most of the time, there are items that cannot be diluted because of the type of materials in there. Likewise, if you live in a place surrounded by trees then roots can grow into these pipes that may hinder the drainage. The camera will allow you to see what is inside the line.

It is crucial to determine what type of clogs you will be dealing with. Otherwise, you will likely be just throwing away your hard-earned dollars without getting any results. There are a number of things that can be done by yourself, particularly when clearing clogs in drains or even the part when your sewer line gets clogged as well. But when you come in contact with sewer line troubles, perhaps it is time to get the assistance of experts before the problem gets any worse.

How to Clear a Clogged Kitchen Drain

Do you have a clogged kitchen drain? With the proper tools and a little knowledge, you will be able to clear most stubborn causes of clogs in about less than an hour. You can save yourself the costly plumbing services and get the job done yourself by following these steps:

1. Secure The Right Tools To Start.

A clogged kitchen drain can ruin a perfect evening with your family or friends, but you can deal with this problem quickly with the use of two inexpensive tools—the plunger and the plumber’s snake.

The Plunger
This household device is sold at any home center or hardware store near you. For your kitchen drain, you can opt for one that has a larger rubber bell, which is known to deliver more thrust. Also, it should have a stout handle so that you will be able to apply plenty of force when you are at it.

The Snake
Sometimes called the hand auger, this tool can be cheap or expensive, depending on its turning mechanism, size and length. For a high level of functionality, the 3/8-inch model that can reach about 20 feet is highly recommended, as it is easier to turn down the drain. However, the shorter 1/4-inch type can also work for any type of clog as well.

Aside from these two main tools, you should also keep several other items handy, including a plastic bin or bucket that can perfectly fit under your kitchen sink, flashlight and rubber gloves.

2. Use The Plunger.

Holding tightly a wet cloth over the sink drain to cat like a seal, set your plunger over it and then plunge up and down vigorously for at least 15 seconds. If you have a dishwasher, then do not forget to clamp the hose and fill the sink with about 3 to 4 inches of water, which will ensure that the plunger will have more pushing power. When plunging, roll the plunger’s head into the water in order to force water (not air) into the drain. On the last upstroke, pop the tool off the mouth of the kitchen drain for additional pressure. If the water still does not swirl straight down the drain, then you can repeat the process for several minutes. Remember that using the plunger can be quick and easy, but it can also be wet and messy, so you might want to keep towels on hand to soak up spills. Also, avoid plunging if you are using drain cleaners or chemicals in the sink, as these solutions can cause serious burns on your skin if you are splashed.

3. Clean The P-Trap.

When disassembling the trap, loosen the slip nut on its arm and the taste tee, and then wiggle the trap free. Now, you can check the waste tee if it is clogged. If so, clean it. Clogs in the P-trap and the drain’s trap arm often occur when coffee grounds and grease stick to them. Sometimes, these things cannot be removed by plunging, which means that you have to remove and disassemble the P-trap. Follow these steps.

  • Start by sponging water from the sink to lessen the flow under it by the time you pull off the trap, and make sure you have your bucket or pan underneath to catch spilled water. Whether you have plastic drain lines or those that have metal traps and pipes, you will need slip-joint pliers to loosen the slip nuts and break the pipes free. Unscrew the slip nut between the P-trap and its arm first, and then the nut that is found at the bottom of the waste tee. Be gentle when loosening to avoid bending or cracking the trap assembly.
  • If the clog is in the trap, then clean it. After you reinstall it, test the drain line with warm water. Do not over-tighten the slip nuts as they might lose their thread. Hand-tightening, plus a quarter turn using a pair of pliers, should be enough.
  • If the clog is not in the P-trap, then you should remove its arm to clean. You can run a screwdriver around the inside of the stub-out of the pipe and pull out any objects that may have collected in its opening.

If these steps do not work, then it is time to use the snake.

4. Snake The Pipeline.

When inserting the snake into the drain, thread its tip into the stub-out, tighten the setscrew and then turn the crank clockwise to feed it into the pipe. Follow these steps:

  • Start by loosening the setscrew at the snake’s tip and pulling out 6 to 10 inches of its cable. Tighten the screw before spinning the cable down into the pipeline. You should initially feel an obstruction early on, but this is most likely the tip of the snake turning a corner, so loosen the setscrew again, pull out another 6 to 10 inches of cable and then continue to feed the cable into the line.
  • If you feel the snake has hit an obstruction, continue cranking and pushing it through the clog until you feel its tip biting through, which will be obvious because of the drop of the cable’s tension. Now, turn the crank counterclockwise and pull out the snake, cleaning as you pull as it would be covered with gunk. Also, keep that pan or bucket handy, as you may get a large chunk of material at the end of the cable. Repeat the process until you no longer feel something blocking the pipeline.

Avoiding Clogs

You can prevent any type of clog from occurring by observing proper care when using your kitchen drain. Avoid overloading your waste disposal unit with meat and other food remains that are high in starch or fiber. Also, run plenty of cold water down your kitchen drain. Never dump coffee grounds or bacon grease into the drain, as they would solidify when allowed to settle and cool.

If you have followed these steps properly and still not able to clear your clogged kitchen drain, then maybe it is time to call in the professionals.

How to Clear a Clogged Drain with Baking Soda

It is important to determine what type of clogs you are going to clear out. This is because using chemicals can be easier compared to tools, but there are certain limitations as not all chemicals can be applicable to every situation. Hence, it is essential to know what things may congest the drains.

Facing a Bathroom Clogged

For instance, if you are dealing with bathroom clogs, you should know what type of materials are capable of clogging it. Such would include soap residue or clumps of hair. Most of these items can clog the shower drains and the bathroom sinks. These are just a few of the many factors that can cause problems in your homes.

Another one is the clog that could bring hassles in the kitchen. Some of them are food particles, dirt and grease that could clog the sink. Perhaps this is a very common condition if you are not so careful when dealing with dirty dishes.

Clogged drains can also come from the main drain. So even the strongest type of chemical cannot dilute obstructions like tree roots or any accumulated materials from the inside drains in your very own home.

If you have determined the culprit as a simple clogging because of food particles or common dirt or grease, then it can be dealt by using one chemical in your cupboard. This can be done by using baking soda.

Using Baking Soda

Baking soda is not only a good cleaner but also a good way to remove odors. This type of chemical is even more environment-friendly than anything you can purchase at the store. Perhaps a little extra like the elbow grease or a plunger and then you are ready to hunt down these tough congestions.

1. First, you need to pour boiling water about one or two liters down the drain. This will melt or soften up any type of grease or food particles that are located at the pipes.

2. Drop that one-half cup of baking soda right after and allow to sit for a number of minutes. This will produce bubbles and create a passage way for air within the pipe.

3. After which, you need to pour in one cup each of boiling water and vinegar down after the baking soda has settled within. Try to keep the chemical reaction down below by covering the drain plug. It will be very effective if you let it stand for about five to ten minutes.

4. Follow it up with a liter of boiling water in order to make flush the remaining materials out of the system. This final push will rinse the bad stuff out of the drain and will release the remaining water and dirt on it.

The effect of baking soda and hot water is so effective because it can loosen up the sludge that might be hanging out down the bottom of the drain. By simply adding vinegar, the chemical reaction will loosen the congested materials and free up the drain while you wait.

Clearing the drain with the help of baking soda is not only a cost-efficient solution to clogged drains, but a very eco-friendly option as well.

How to Clear a Clogged Drain

Facing a clogged drain can sometimes be a stressful experience for every household. You don’t just need to spend money for the services of a plumber but will waste time. However, it should not drain your energy as well because there are practical solutions that you can apply first before asking for help from your friendly handyman.

If you have a few of the needed tools such as a cable auger or plumber’s snake, a closet auger, an electric power auger and the plunger, then solving this dilemma can be done in no time. Here’s how.

Cable Auger

The cable auger can help in dislodging clogs that are located down the pipe. It is a flexible steel cable that is set up around a spool. It is also known by the moniker plumber’s snake. Most of these may reach up to 100 feet in length, but around 25-foot models are enough to deal with most clogs down the drain.

Closet Auger

The closet auger, which is designed to snake out toilets. Similar to the cable auger, it can be operated using a hand crank but covered with a rigid shaft instead of spool. This is made perfectly to fit through the tightly designed curves of the toilet traps.

Electric Power Auger

The electric power auger that is built to deal with huge clogs located away from the fixture. This type of machine is large enough to cut through any clog or even tangled roots.

Plunger

The plunger is the one used by many plumbers. This type of equipment will be able to clear out most fixtures, which include sinks, toilets and tubs. It would be nice to keep one of these tools at home to get rid of nasty clogs in a flash.

There are many other options that you can try out at home. In fact, a lot of chemicals can be used to clear the drain without using hand tools. If you are not so comfy with the tools mentioned earlier, perhaps you can also apply one or two of these items to solve your problem.

Additional Alternatives

Baking soda, boiling water, and vinegar are the popular choices of people who opt to use chemicals instead of tools. However, it would be quite necessary that you have the right knowledge to utilize them.

For example, the baking soda will require the mixture with vinegar in order to work. This combination will allow the components to build a foam which should be followed by boiling water to make it effective.

Likewise, pouring boiling water down the clogged drain will only be effective if you add salt in order to allow the clog to break up easily. Without doing so, a different outcome will happen or might just worsen the situation.

Keeping your homes free from clogged drains can be very easy if you know how. Once you get used to it, there is no reason for you to spend additional dollars just by calling a plumber to fix it. Not only have you saved money, you also learned a thing or two in making your home a much better place to live in.

How to Clean Clogged Bathroom Sink

When the drain in your bathroom is clogged, it can cause quite a bit of mess in the area. Also, a stopped-up and slow-moving drain is a common issue in sinks, caused by certain objects and impurities, like hair and gummy soap scum, which can get caught on the stopper or pivot rod. Luckily, there are easy-to-perform fixes that would only take you a few minutes to finish. Here are steps you can take in order to clean a clogged bathroom sink and keep things staying clean in the area:

1. Apply Baking Soda And Vinegar.

Aside from being used to settle an upset stomach and add flavor to salads, baking soda and vinegar are often used as a simple household remedy in clearing the gook out of a clogged bathroom sink. To apply them, just pour in ½ cup of dry baking soda to the opening of the drain to be followed by a cup of vinegar. Let the mixture set for about 30 minutes, and then flush it down with a tea kettle full of boiling water. But if your drain pipe is made of plastic, use hot tap water, instead of boiling water, to avoid melting the pipe.

2. Use A Plunger.

If the baking soda+vinegar technique does not work, then you can try using the old-fashioned plunger. It is not the large-type plunger for toilets, but the short-handled plunger with a small rubber cup on the end, which fits nicely over a bathroom sink drain. If there is not any standing water in the sink, you need to turn on the faucet to allow about 2 to 3 inches of water to stand in it, as it would give the plunger a better suction effect. Place the plunger’s cup over the sink opening and then quickly press it up and down several times.

3. Remove The Sink Drain.

If the plunger does not get the job done, then there must be something dropped down the drain, causing it to clog up. Small objects, such as a chunk of soap, a toy or a ring might be stuck in the trap and become a big part of the stoppage. If this is your situation, you need to remove the drain pipe under the sink. Follow these steps:

• Place a bucket underneath the pipe to avoid water spills and anything else that might come out with it.
• With a wrench, loosen the pipe until it is free to remove. After removing, its inside to find the cause of the clog.
• If there is not anything in the pipe, it means that the stoppage is down the drain and you need to use an auger to de-clog it. There is a handle on the side of this device that allows you to unwind it as you work it down. Wiggle its end down the pipe until it comes out through the removed pipe.
• Leaving the auger in the drain, run a little water into the sink to see if it comes out into the bucket, which is a sign that the clog is cleared.
• Clean the pipe and install it back using the wrench and make sure it is tight enough.

4. Run Hot Water.

After all the previous steps are performed, run hot water down the drain to finally help clear out any remaining scum. Check around for leaks, and if there are some drips, tighten the pivot rod nut slightly with a pair of pliers.

By following these steps, you will be able to clean a clogged bathroom sink in no time!

How to Clean Bathtub Drain Clogged With Hair

A bathtub that doesn’t drain properly and completely is icky. Can you dare use the tub again with visible signs of dirt and grime? But unless the drain works properly, you won’t be able to thoroughly clean the bathtub.

What can you do with a bathtub drain full of hair?

You can always use chemical cleaners to do the dirty job for you, but they may not be always effective, and may even lead to more problems. Some chemicals may leave residue in the drain that can make matters worse. There are several tools you can use to remove hair from the drain manually.

Zip-it

Zip-it is a flexible tool used to clean clogged drain pipes. It has barbs or spikes along its length that snag hair and pull it to out. It is inexpensive and is very easy to use.

Procedure
1. See if the tool will fit inside the drain cover. Otherwise, unscrew it.
2. Push it all the way down the drain or until only the top tab is visible.
3. Slowly pull it out to keep the hair or other blockage from dislodging.
4. Test if the bathtub drain will flow smoothly and properly.
5. Repeat when necessary or until the bathtub works as it should.

Drain Snake

The drain snake is a low-tech tool that can unclog a bathtub drain. It is especially effective in situations where you need to go further down the pipeline and into some curves. Because of its flexibility and length, it can reach hard-to-reach areas.

Procedure
1. Feed the snake through the drain. At about three feet, start turning it as you push further downward or until you encounter a clog.
2. Once it breaks through the trap, move the snake back and forth through the drain pipe, turning it as you do.
3. Run water while moving the snake in the drain to flush out clog that has come loose.
4. Repeat the process until the train has been cleared out, and water moves down smoothly.

Wet and Dry Vacuum

A wet and dry vacuum is an effective tool for unclogging drains. But it must be used properly to avoid making a mess.

Procedure
1. If there is standing water, set the vacuum to suck out liquids first. Make sure to cover the vent to prevent liquids spilling all over the place.
2. Set the equipment to vacuum dry.
3. Place the nozzle over the drain and create the tightest seal possible. Wrap the ends with an old rag or use an old plunger head.
4. Turn the vacuum up to its highest setting and power it up.

This can be powerful enough to suck the clog out of the pipe and into the vacuum bag. Using a wet and dry vacuum may not always be effective, but it is worth a try.

Use a Plunger

This tool is probably the most popular among the equipment used in unclogging a drain. When dealing with a bathtub drain, however, it is best to use a plunger with a flat rubber end instead of the one with a rubber bell-shaped end.

Procedure
1. Fill the bathtub with enough water to cover the bottom of the plunger.
2. Use a rag to plug the overflow outlet. If the overflow plate is attached to the drain stopper, make sure to remove it before you use the plunge on the drain. Take care in removing the overflow plate and drain mechanism.
3. Plunge up and down for five times, or until you think the clog is removed and the pipe is opened.
4. Test if the water drains quickly and property.
5. Rinse and repeat when necessary.

Use Baking Soda and Vinegar

The baking soda-vinegar combo is a popular, inexpensive and natural choice for unclogging drain. Some may say it is not as effective against hair, but there are tricks to make it work.

Procedure
1. Pour one-third of a cup of baking soda down the clogged drain.
2. Follow it up with an equal amount of vinegar.
3. When the mixture starts to fizzle, plug the drain with a stopper.
4. Wait for 45 minutes to an hour, and then fill the bathtub with water.
5. Remove the drain plug.

What makes this more effective than pouring hot water over the mixture, which is the usual practice, is the pressure of 40 to 60 gallons of water. When all that water goes down the drain, it will dislodge whatever blockage that the baking soda and vinegar combo has loosened. No amount of hair can probably stay inside the drain with all that water pressure.

Prevention Is Best

Once the bathtub drain is clear and is working properly once again, prevent a clog from happening again. Using baking soda or a plunger may not be hard work by your definition, but it is definitely not fun. Who knows what gross stuff is lurking in the drain? So prevention is still better than fixing the problem.

• Never drop pieces of soap down the bathtub drain. They don’t always dissolve and could build up over time.
• Remove hair after every bathtub use to keep it from accumulating and clogging the drain.
• Use a strainer to keep hair from going through the drain. Make it a point to clear out whatever blockage it caught every month.
• Pour boiling water down the drain once a month to melt away body oil and wash out other greasy stuff. This will prevent build up.
• Use the baking soda and vinegar mixture and procedure every three months. Let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing it away with plenty of hot water. Not 40 to 60 gallons of water, but only hot water.

By following these tips, your drain will stay clear and unclogged of hair and other stuff that will keep it from working properly. A bathtub will serve you for a long with proper care and regular maintenance. So make sure to keep it clean and clog-free.

How to Clean a Clogged Toilet

Is your toilet clogged? Cleaning and unclogging it can be done in different ways, some of which are fairly simple. So there is no reason to let the problem go unattended. Hiring a professional plumber can be your last resort as well.

Don’t: Avoid Using Chemical Cleaners.

One of the things you must avoid when cleaning a clogged toilet is using toxic cleaners. They may work, but slower. And if they fail to work, what you have on your hands is a toilet and drain that are full of highly corrosive water.

When this happens, make sure to run water into the toilet overnight so the toxic water drains through. If you need to use a plunger, wear rubber gloves and safety goggles to protect your hands and gloves.

Do: Assess How Bad the Clog Is.

As previously mentioned, there are different methods that you can use to unclog a toilet. The best way to determine which one would work best in a particular situation is to assess how severe the clog is. Once you determine how bad or not-so bad the situation is, you can choose the right method to use.

In the event that water comes through other drains in your home, the problem may be further down the drainpipes. The best way to deal with this problem is to call a plumber.

Use Baking Soda and Vinegar

Complexity: Super simple

Procedure
1. Measure the amount of baking soda to use, depending on the severity of the clog. Minor clog requires the full amount, while a severe one must be treated in several increments of small amounts of baking soda. Start with a quarter of a cup, a half, and so forth and so on.

2. Use equal parts of baking soda and vinegar.

3. Pour the baking soda first into the toilet, followed by the vinegar. Let both products combine, fizzle and then subside.

4. Pour a kettle of hot water, and then flush to check if the clog is released.

5. Rinse and repeat as necessary, or until the toilet have been unclogged.

6. Flush the toilet once or twice to clean out the bowl, and to see if the toilet is once again working as it should.

Warning: Do not use drain cleaning chemicals before or after using baking soda and vinegar in the toilet. This can release toxic vapors that can be harmful to your health.

Use Dish Soap And Hot Water

The process is simple, but there are risks involved. If the water doesn’t drain during the process, expect an overflow.

Procedure
1. Pour about a teaspoon of dish soap into the bowl. Let it sit for ten minutes to help loosen dirt.

2. Pour hot water into the bowl about waist height.

3. If the water doesn’t drain, add more soap and water. Repeat several times until the toilet drains.

Warning: Make sure to stop adding more soap and water before an overflow happens.

Use the Ever Reliable Plunger

Complexity: Simple

Out of the number of clogged toilets, about 90% can be fixed with a plunger. But the best one has a rubber bell-shaped end and an extension flange. This is designed to better fit toilets and deliver that extra power.

Procedure
1. Wear rubber gloves, as things could get messy.

2. Plunge gently the first time to release air out of the rubber end. If you do the opposite, be prepared for a toilet bowl water bath, which is something you don’t want to happen.

3. Once the air has been forced out, plunge in and out as vigorously as you can. This will force water in both directions in the drain, effectively loosening clogs. Repeat for 15 to 20 minutes.

4. To keep you from “working yourself to death”, alternate the plunging action between steady strokes and vigorous plunges.

5. Make sure the plunger stays covered with water to generate as much pressure as possible, along with air.

6. Repeat until water drains smoothly and properly.

Most of the time, using a plunger is all it takes to clean a clogged toilet.

Use a Plumbing Snake

Complexity: Medium

A plumbing snake is designed to snag whatever is clogging the toilet, and then pull it out. You can also use a closet auger, a special type of snake that goes around the first bend and keep debris at arm’s length. It comes with a rubber sleeve that keeps the wire from scraping the enamel bowl.

Procedure
1. Feed the snake into the pipes until it hits a clog.
2. Turn it clockwise so it breaks through the clog and turn it into tiny, drainable pieces.
3. Flush to check if the toilet drains properly.
4. Rinse and repeat when necessary.

Pull up the Toilet

Complexity: Difficult

Pulling up the toilet is like major surgery, but it might be the only option left if all other methods fail. You can choose to do it yourself or hire a professional, as this involves turning off the water supply and unhooking it, partially disassembling the toilet, and unscrewing it from the ring where it’s mounted.

Think you can handle all these? Otherwise, hire a plumber.

Make sure to use a new wax ring and mounting bolts when re-placing the toilet bowl.

Prevention Is Best

Once you have unclogged the toilet, prevent the same problem from repeating by doing the following:

• If you resort to using chemical cleaners, make sure it completely goes down the drain. Run as much water as possible into the toilet. Do so overnight, when necessary.
• Keep the toilet covered so hairbrushes and other items don’t fall into it. This will also keep kids from dropping toys inside it, which are said to be one of the leading causes of clogs.
• Never pour compounds into the toilet that will harden over time, such as grease, caulk, wax and drywall joint compound.

Conclusion

Cleaning a clogged toilet can vary from simple to difficult, depending on the severity of the clog. So remember to evaluate the situation beforehand, and choose the appropriate method to use. If all else fails, hire a plumber.

How to Clean a Clogged Sink Drain

A clogged sink, whether in the kitchen or bathroom, is a problem that causes a lot of inconvenience. If it’s not taken cared of quickly, the dirty standing water can cause foul smells to spread and linger inside your house, molds and bacteria will grow and stick to your sink, and mosquitoes and other insects can breed in the stagnant water. You should know how to remedy a clogged sink drain by yourself and know when it is time to call a professional.

When Water is Flowing Slowly

1. Remove the remaining water. Take off and clean the drain cover. Use a flashlight and check if there are particles blocking the drainage system that are within reach. Pull these out using your hands covered in gloves.

2. Boil water in a kettle or pot. When it boils, turn off the stove. Then slowly pour the hot water into the drain. This can help dissolve any oil, grease, or gunk that has accumulated in the drainage system.

3. If boiling water doesn’t work, try other items that can dissolve particles that are causing a blockage. Some options include:

Coke or Pepsi – They are loaded with phosphoric acid, which can effectively break down buildup in your drains. They are even effective in removing lime scale. Buy a big bottle of Coke or Pepsi and let it acclimate to room temperature. After that, pour it down the drain and let the fizz work its magic as it corrodes the particles causing the clog for about an hour. Run hot water to wash off any remaining gunk, and check if the drain is already flowing properly.

Vinegar and baking soda – Pour a cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by a cup of vinegar. Leave it to set in for 15 minutes, then allow hot water to run.

Salt and boiling water – Pour half a cup of salt down the drain followed by the boiling water. After 15 minutes, wash off the mixture with hot water.

Baking soda and salt – Mix ½ cup of salt and 1 cup baking soda. Pour the mixture down the drain and leave it for a few hours. Then flush it out with boiling water.

When Water is Not Flowing At All

1. If you have a second sink, make sure to seal off the second side with a stopper or a wet cloth. Leave about one to two inches of water, just enough to cover the bell of a plunger. Place the plunger directly over the drain, making sure there is enough suction. Then plunge using a lot of pressure, and once you hear the suction clearing the clog, remove the plunger and run hot water to clean the drain well.

2. If the plunger doesn’t help, then try to fish out whatever is causing the blockage deeper in the piping. Use a plumber’s snake if you have one. If not, then look for a wire hanger or any sturdy metal wire, and shape a small hook on one end. Insert it into the drain and try to reach in and pull out the clog, being careful not to scratch your sink in the process.

3. If step 1 and 2 don’t work, you may have to clean your P-trap, the curve of the drainpipe under the sink. Have a bucket or pan ready to catch water or particles that may fall out. Remove the P-trap, check if there is something stuck, clean it out, then replace it. Let water flow through it to check if there is still a blockage or leaks.

When None of These Methods Work

Obviously, it’s time to call a professional. While waiting for help to arrive, remove any remaining water from the sink. Make sure to also clear the kitchen or bathroom so the plumber can work more efficiently.

How to Clean a Clogged Shower Drain

The feeling of standing in a puddle of dirty, soapy water while you shower is definitely not a good one. However, a clogged shower drain is just one of those unavoidable experiences in life, especially if you live with someone who has long hair, or if you have long hair yourself. Eventually, all the soap scum, hair, and grime will build up in your drainage system, causing blockages. Learn how to deal with this problem with your own sweat and determination. You’ll also need some items you can easily find at home.

These first methods are the easier ones. The most difficult part will be getting rid of the remaining water in the shower before you use any of these steps. Make sure to also pick up any hair and other particles left on the floor and on top of the shower drain cover. Don’t forget to wear gloves.

Option A

Boil water in a pot, and then carefully pour it down the drain. This can help break down the grease and soap that could be holding the clog together. However, this may not completely clear the blockage if it involves a lot of knotted hair. It is best to use this method with the other suggested steps in this article.

Option B

Remove the shower drain cover by taking off the screws. Clean the cover thoroughly and set it aside. Use a flashlight and check the drainage system if there are other blockages remaining. Try to use your hands to reach the hair and gunk and pull it out. If it is too far or your hands won’t fit the drain, use a pair of tweezers, pliers, or a wire with a hook on one end to fish out whatever is causing the clogging.

Option C

If you have removed the shower drain cover, pour a cup of baking soda, then a cup of vinegar into the drain. You will hear a sizzling sound, caused by the reaction of the grime and gunk when it comes in contact with the vinegar and baking soda. Let it set in for 15 to 20 minutes, then pour boiling water carefully into the drain to clean out the dissolved dirt and hair.

If options A, B, and C don’t get rid of the clogging problem, you’ll need to step it up a notch. Prepare to sweat a bit more as these next methods require more effort and patience.

Option D

Get your plunger. Make sure there is a little water left in the shower. Place the cup of the plunger directly over the drain and make sure it has enough suction. Once you get a good grip, apply pressure by pressing and pulling the plunger about 5 times. Gunk and hair will be sucked up and float out of the drain. However, if the clog involves a tougher blockage, this may not work and you’ll need to proceed to the next option.

Option E

Use a plumber’s snake to reach further down the drain. This device can help fish out whatever is causing the clog deeper in the drainage system. It may take some time and practice to hook the gunk and hair, so have a little patience. Once you feel the pipes are clear, run water and see if it will flow freely.

You can use a combination or all the options presented in this article if your shower drain problem is not solved through just one method. But if all else fails, call a professional right away.