There are numerous ways to unclog a drain, but it’s not always clear which one is best for your plumbing. To avoid harming your pipes, it’s always advisable to start with the gentlest treatments first before going on to more severe methods.
Here are ten simple DIY drain unclogging options for your home.
1. Use a bent wire hanger to unclog a sink
Hair, skin, grime, and food particles clog drains because they bind to the soap scum that builds upon the drainpipe walls. This can slow down water flow over time.
A clogged sink can be unclogged with a simple hanger. Straighten out an ordinary coat hanger and make a little hook form on one end of the wire. Slowly push this end down the plughole and start “fishing.”
Pushing the hanger downwards can cause the clog to travel further down the drain. To help loosen and eliminate the muck that’s obstructing your drain, employ mild “prodding” and “hooking” motions.
2. Dish Detergent for Shower and Toilet Drains
Hair commonly clogs shower drains. Poop, excess toilet paper, wipes, female sanitary goods, or cotton wool balls are the most common items found in toilets (always throw anything that isn’t toilet paper in the trash!).
Dish detergent works well in these situations since it dissolves residue and lubricates the drain. Add a cup of dish detergent and then a pot of boiling water. Then, to help remove the clog, use a plunger. You can also put on rubber gloves and use your hands to unclog the drain.
3. Vinegar and Baking Soda
This isn’t just for your seventh-grade volcano! The fizzing action of this mixture can also assist eliminate mild blockages, such as those in your bathroom sink.
Pour boiling water down the drain first and wait for it to clear. Pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain after that. After that, add one cup of boiling water and one cup of white vinegar to the mix.
Allow this mixture to work its magic for at least one hour, but ideally for as long as possible for optimum results.
After that, drain it with a hot tap and check to see if the water is draining properly. If these tips won’t work for you, you can either try the other tips listed below, or you can try a professional service to unclog your home drains.
4. Try using washing soda
If baking soda has failed you and you need a more powerful DIY alternative, washing soda is your next best option.
Washing soda, also known as sodium carbonate, is a common cleaning ingredient that can also be used to unclog drains. It has a higher alkaline content than baking soda, making it a more powerful drain cleaning.
Fill your sink halfway with boiling water and a mug of washing soda. After that, add a mug of hot water and wait 5 minutes. This should aid in the removal of any obstruction. If your sink continues to drain slowly, repeat the procedure.
Bonus Tip: No washing soda on hand? Fill a baking dish with 12 pinches of baking soda and bake it at 400° F for one hour. This will cause it to expel extra CO2 and convert it to washing soda.
5. Vacuum both wet and dry
A wet/dry vacuum accomplishes precisely what its name implies: it vacuums both liquids and dry dust and dirt. These guys are frequently used to suck waste from clogged drains, particularly if the clog is high up.
Create a seal over the plughole before you start to avoid a mess — an old plunger head works nicely. Then, with the highest intense suction, put the vacuum to the liquid setting and place it over the plughole.
Turn on the vacuum and wait 1-2 minutes. Then turn off the water and run it slowly to test if the sink is unobstructed.
6. Coke can be used to unclog a drain
Coke is a lesser-known beverage that you can find in your fridge. Pour a 2-liter bottle of cola down the clogged drain – Pepsi, Coke, or generic brand equivalents.
Although coke is caustic and efficient in removing buildup in drains, it is far gentler than professional drain cleaners. Allow at least one hour to pass before putting on the hot water to drain it all.
When should you not use soda or cola?
For obstinate obstructions, cola is the best option. Soda beverages may easily clear filth off pipes due to their acidity. Sugar syrup, on the other hand, might leave a sticky residue. Use an alternative approach such as baking soda or washing soda if you only have a little sink clog.
You can also try these easy house cleaning tips for different purposes.
7. Remove the P-Trap.
If the vinegar or baking soda methods fail to unclog your drain, you may need to manually remove the clog’s cause. You don’t have to hire a plumber to clean the p-trap because you can do it yourself!
The p-trap is a curved pipe beneath your sink that collects debris and prevents it from entering the rest of your house’s plumbing system. Place a bucket under your sink to catch any excess water, and remove the u-shaped pipe (the p-trap) under your sink with a wrench or pliers.
Empty the p-trap and place it in a different sink to rinse and clean any debris. Then, to see if your clog is gone, replace it.
8. Use Plungers
If none of the solutions work, try using a plunger to manually unclog your drain. If you’re dealing with a smaller drain, such as in your sink or shower, you’ll need a different plunger than if you’re dealing with a toilet. A cup plunger built for smaller drains is required.
Remove the grate or stopper and place the cup plunger in the drain, attempting to create a tight seal (applying petroleum jelly to the rim of the plunger can help with this). Then dive hard, check for clogs with running water, and repeat as necessary.
9. Millipedes, Augers, and Snakes
Although snakes and millipedes are sold at almost every hardware store, if done wrong, they can damage or puncture your pipes. If you’re a rookie plumber, it’s best to hire a professional plumber to snake more problematic clogs that can’t be fixed with the procedures listed above.
10. Caustic soda
Because it can produce chemical burns, caustic soda is more severe than natural alternatives. Caustic soda, often known as sodium hydroxide, necessitates the use of rubber gloves and eye goggles (or other eye protection). When handling this chemical, take extra precautions and make sure the environment is sufficiently ventilated.
Add three cups of caustic soda to three-quarters of a gallon of cold water in a bucket. With a wooden spoon, thoroughly mix everything together. The mixture should begin to bubble.
Pour the liquid down your clogged drain and wait 20 to 30 minutes for it to work its magic. To flush out the mixture, pour boiling water down the drain. You may need to repeat this procedure if your drain is substantially plugged.