Home Remedies for a Clogged Drain
There’s nothing worse than a clogged drain in the bathroom or kitchen – two of the most used rooms in the home. While clogs may not immediately seem like significant plumbing problems, their repair costs can quickly add up if you’re not careful. As a homeowner, you should try to handle any plumbing issue – small or large – in a timely fashion. If you ignore maintenance and repairs for a clogged drain, you risk a significant leak somewhere in the piping system. A leak could cause extensive structural damage and saddle you with even more expensive repairs.
Although many stores sell chemical cleaners that may remove a clog from any drain in your home, these products can be incredibly hard on your plumbing system. Use such chemicals too often, and you’ll notice the pipes wearing down, and perhaps even sprouting leaks at all ends. You may even find a larger clog. Whenever possible, you want to invest in professional plumbing services. However, if you want to try some maintenance on your own, there are several home remedies that could solve your problem without breaking the bank!
A Quick Note
While home remedies may work in some instances, if the problem persists, your best option is to call in a professional plumbing technician. Some clogs are quite small and can be dislodged with ease. Larger, more problematic clogs may cause considerable damage without proper care and attention. Do not risk your whole home’s plumbing system on a single drain.
Home remedies are designed to be as simple, cost-effective, and easy to administer as possible. You can complete many of the following treatments without a trip to the local supermarket or big-chain store for supplies. Most homeowners will have all the necessary ingredients in their cabinets or garage.
The Plunger Method
Most households have a plunger somewhere in the bathroom. If you can’t find one in your home, they’re quite cheap at any local chain store. The plunger method works best with significant clogs.
First, be sure you have a cup-shaped plunger, not a flanged. Handheld and full-length plungers will both work. Before you begin, remove any metal strainer from the kitchen sink, or pull up the stopper in the bathroom. This step ensures you can achieve a secure seal with the plunger. Use sharp, fast movements to remove the clog, then check periodically to see if it has worked.
Follow these steps to properly plunge:
- Completely cover the whole drain with the plunger.
- Press and then pull in quick succession for approximately 30 seconds.
- If the water begins to drain slowly, add some more water to the drain, then plunge more.
- If the water drains rapidly, you’re on the right path.
If you have a clog in your kitchen or bathroom drain, consider using boiling water. The water should be hot enough to dissolve any organic matter stuck in the sink. Of course, this method only works if the clog is made of organic matter and not, say, feminine products or any plastic-based items. Check this before you begin — children love to shove foreign objects down the drain for a few laughs.
A quick warning, however: if you have PVC pipes, do not use boiling water to remove a clog. The heat from the water may loosen the joints. Furthermore, be sure to never pour boiling water onto a porcelain sink bowl, as this may cause cracks. Where possible, pour the boiling water directly down the drain. If you have a kettle, pot, or funnel, use the spout to direct the flow of water.
Vinegar and Baking Soda
If you have tried the boiling water method and the clog persists, consider using a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. First pour half a box of baking soda down the drain. Do not add any water. Then, pour in half a cup of vinegar and stop the drain using either a metal stopper or a single rag. The vinegar and baking soda will combine and react, which will force the clog loose. Wait about 30 minutes, then pour boiling water down the drain.
While not surefire methods to remove a clog in the drain, these simple tricks may also work, especially for small clogs.
- Borax – Mix ½ cup of borax with 2 cups of boiling water; pour the mixture into the clogged drain. Let the concoction sit for 15 minutes, then run the water to flush the pipes.
- Dawn – Dawn dish soap can sometimes remove a clog. Pour a single cup of dawn into a clogged toilet. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes, and then pour in a bucket of hot water.
- Alka Seltzer – Drop four tablets into the drain, then follow them with a single cup of white vinegar. Let the mixture sit for ten minutes, then flush it with boiling water. This method also removes any odors from the drain.
The surefire way to remove and prevent clogs is regular drain maintenance. You don’t need to be a professional plumber to ensure that your pipes remain clear. Follow these tips in your home to avoid clogs as much as possible:
- For an open drain, such as one in the bathtub, consider using a strainer to catch hair, food, and small objects.
- Run hot water down the drain after you use it. The hot water will remove any fresh buildup, preventing it from attaching to the sides of the pipe.
- Drop a handful of baking soda in the drain, then follow it with hot water. The baking soda is a natural cleaner, and can even remove odors from the drain.
By performing regular drain maintenance, and the occasional do-it-yourself remedy, you can effectively protect your system against clogs. Of course, as with any good maintenance plan, you need to keep on top of the schedule. If you intend to clean the drains and system once a month, make sure you set a reminder and perform the maintenance promptly. It’s too easy to forego maintenance one week and then discontinue the regiment solely because you skipped the task once. Get in the habit now. Not only will your drains smell fresh and clean, but they’ll function more efficiently and adequately.
Professional Drain Cleaning Services
If you’ve tried all the above do-it-yourself remedies and the clog remains steadfast, it may be time to call a professional drain cleaning service. We here at General Plumbing have seen it all — from a tub filled with water to an overflowing sink. Our experienced technicians are prepared to provide quality drain cleaning services to homeowners and business owners alike.
If home remedies don’t suffice, we’ll use industrial-strength cleaning products, cable drain cleaners, and high-pressure water jets to break down the clog once and for all. Furthermore, if you give us a call and schedule service, we promise to come on time and prepared to handle the problem.
If you have a persistent clog that just won’t go away, contact General Plumbing by calling 561-420-0442. We’re happy to schedule prompt service to remove your pesky clog and ensure that your plumbing system functions as intended. Furthermore, we’ll offer professional advice to help prevent any future clogs!