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General Plumbing Blog

Drain Cleaning Methods the Professionals Use


Although a clogged drain isn’t necessarily the worst residential plumbing trouble you might run into, it’s one of the most common and irritating. Water that won’t drain out of the kitchen sink when you’re trying to clean up after a meal, or a shower that leaves you standing in ankle-deep water when it’s over are troubles you want resolved quickly.

You can attempt to unclog a drain on your own using some simple remedies, such as a plunger (quite handy) or a simple drain snake. But when the simple methods fail, it’s time to call for professional plumbers. If you’ve got a clogged drain in West Palm Beach you can’t eliminate, you can trust our plumbers to use the best tools.

What methods do we use for drain cleaning? We’ll go through them, but first we want to talk about a tool we don’t use…

Professional Plumbers Don’t Use Chemical Drain Cleaners!

We bring this up because we don’t want you to use chemical drain cleaners either. Unfortunately, people often reach for these bottles of caustic chemicals sold in grocery stores as a solution to a drain clog. 

The chemicals purchased from stores are diluted version of the chemicals available to professional plumbers. These chemicals include hydrochloric and sulfuric acids. Although there is a time and place for the use of these chemicals, please leave them to the professionals.

Here’s What Professionals Actually Use to Clean Drains

  • ​​Manual drain snakes: Drain snaking involves inserting a long, flexible metal cable into the drain. This cable has a corkscrew-like coil at one end that is fed into the pipe until it reaches the blockage. By turning the snake, it hooks onto the debris, allowing the plumber to pull it out or break it down to clear the path.
  • Motorized drain augers: Similar to manual drain snakes but more powerful, motorized drain augers can tackle tougher blockages. These electric-powered tools can reach further into the plumbing system and are effective at cutting through more stubborn clogs, such as tree roots that have invaded sewer lines.
  • Hydro Jetting: This is the most popular and effective drain cleaning method. It uses high-pressure water jets to blast away blockages and build-up inside the pipes. Hydro jetting is useful for removing grease, soap residue, and other debris that clings to the pipe walls. It not only clears the immediate blockage but also cleans the entire diameter of the pipe, preventing future clogs.
  • Video pipe inspection: This isn’t a direct cleaning tool, but it helps immensely to improve cleaning. Before proceeding with the cleaning, a plumber might use a video pipe inspection to identify the exact location and nature of the clog. A camera attached to a flexible rod is inserted into the pipe, providing images of the pipe’s interior. This method ensures targeted cleaning and helps in assessing the pipe’s condition.
  • Bio-Cleaning: For a more eco-friendly approach, some plumbers use bio-cleaning methods, which involve bacteria or enzyme-based cleaners that eat away at organic matter (like hair or food scraps) without damaging the pipes. These biological agents are also safe for the environment.

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