Having a clogged drain in your home can prove to be a huge inconvenience. When that happens, water is slow to go down the drain, or worse; water will not drain at all. Your usual household routine will be severely disrupted, and you will not be able to do important tasks such as washing the dishes or taking a bath. This article will discuss home remedies for clogged drains.
A plumber can help you fix a clogged drain, but it can be costly and inconvenient. Before thinking of calling one, there are steps that you can do to solve this problem. Do you have ideas how to address this situation?
These do-it-yourself steps are simple, easy to follow, and cost effective. Some of these you might already hear of, but I am sure that you will learn new things after reading the article.
What Causes A Clogged Drain?
The usual cause of clogged drains is the build-up of debris in the drain itself, or the problem can go deeper within the pipes. Over time, solid particles accumulate on the drain, which can then lead to further build-up because more and more debris will stack on top of it.
There are two types of drains that can be found inside the house:
1)The kitchen sink drain and
2) The bathroom drain.
In the case of the sink drain, the common causes of clogging are food particles, used cooking oil (which may contain food residue), and grease.
In the case of the bathroom drain, the usual suspects are soap residue (which can eventually harden) and clumps of hair which fall off during bathing. Hair strands are notorious for causing clogs in the bathrooms, especially if the drain strainer (also known as stopper or catcher) is broken or damaged.
Home Remedies For Clogged Drains
There are different ways to solve the problem of clogged drains. Some of these techniques are natural or mechanical, while others require the use of chemicals. Some of the materials are readily available at home; others need to be purchased from a hardware store.
1. Baking Soda And Vinegar
The materials needed for this technique can easily be bought at your local supermarket. The first step is to put ½ cup of baking soda down the drain and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, pour one cup of vinegar. Cover it with a drain plug and let the mixture sit for about ten minutes. Pour a pot or kettle of boiling water to flush down any remaining gunk.
What is the science behind this technique? The mixture of baking soda and vinegar results in a chemical reaction that dissolves solid particles, fatty acids, and grime. Also, the mixture produces a bubbly “volcano-like” reaction that helps to get rid of clogs.
2. Use A Plunger
This mechanical tool is one of the most common and effective means to unclog drains. You must make sure that the plunger is not damaged (presence of holes or cracks). Otherwise, the effectiveness of this procedure will be compromised.
The plunger is cup-shaped and comes in two variations: the full-sized and the hand-held. The first thing that you need to do is remove the drain strainer or stopper. If the sink or bathroom is free of water, add two pails of water (you can skip this step if the kitchen sink or bathroom is already filled with water).
You must make sure that the plunger completely covers the entire drain opening. Use fast and forceful plunges. Repeat several times until the water drains completely.
3. Drain Snake
A drain snake is not expensive and can easily be bought at your local hardware store. It is called a “snake” because of its shape. With its length and maneuverability, this steel wire can reach the clog if other techniques have failed to solve the problem.
Remove the drain strainer. Insert the drain snake deep into the drain pipe. Push it until it reaches the clog. Twist the snake’s handle to hook whatever is obstructing the drain. Make a back and forth motion to clear the clog. Add water to the drain to check if you have succeeded in getting rid of the obstruction.
4. Soda Drinks
Soda drinks are not only great for quenching your thirst; you can also use them as home remedies for clogged drains. They contain phosphoric acid, which can dissolve sludge, grime, and grease.
Use a liter or two of your favorite soda and pour it down the clogged drain. Let it sit for about one hour. Then, rinse with hot water to check if the drain is already free of clogs.
5. Boiling Water
This is probably the most practical technique that you can use to clear your drain of clogs. Boiling water is ideal for dissolving grease build-up and will soften other obstructions, making it possible to flush them down.
Another alternative to this method is to add salt to increase its potency. Be sure to aim for the drain itself when pouring boiling water, especially when dealing with bathroom drains. Boiling water might damage the bathroom tiles, and you surely don’t want that to happen.
Zip-It is a plastic tool that you can buy at a hardware store. It is very affordable considering that it is practical and effective. It is flexible, thin, and has barbs on either side.
Do you know what the primary target of a Zip-It is? You probably guessed it right – hair. The barbs are very good in removing hair strands (the main cause of clogged drains in bathroom drains).
Bleach is a toxic chemical, and it should be handled with utmost care. The corrosive property of bleach can dissolve grease, soap residue, and other debris. However, because of its toxicity, some homeowners may view this as an alternative or last resort when dealing with clogs.
Make sure that you aim for the drain when pouring the bleach. Scattering bleach all over the place is not a good thing because it can cause damage if ever it comes in contact with the skin. As a safety precaution, you can use safety gloves.
8. Main Drain Line
If all of the methods mentioned above are not successful, the problem could be that the main drain line of your house is clogged. This may be the case if both the kitchen sink and bathroom drains are both clogged. It is important to note that this may require the expertise of an experienced plumber.
Nevertheless, if you are knowledgeable about plumbing or construction, you can try to fix the problem yourself. First, you have to locate the clean-out plugs in the drain pipes. When you find the steel cap, use a wrench to remove the fitting. Remove any debris by using a drain snake. Replace the steel cap and that is it.
How to Prevent Clogged Drains
- Keep your kitchen sink drain free of food particles and other debris. Before washing the dishes, remove any leftover food by soaking the plates, drinking glasses, spoons, forks, and knives in a basin with water.
- Make sure that the drain strainer is not broken or damaged. A broken strainer will let bigger particles to go down the drain pipe. It will cause debris to accumulate, and it will be harder for you to reach the obstruction.
- To ensure that water flows quickly down the drain, it is advisable to keep the drain clean by removing food particles and grease (for sink drains) and hair strands (in the case of bathroom drains).
- Do not pour used cooking oil into the kitchen sink drain. It may contain leftover food particles. Cooking oil is also greasy, and it will stick to the walls of the drain pipe, attracting more debris.
- Use a mixture of vinegar and baking soda at least once a week to unclog the drain. Alternatively, you can use boiling water and pour it into the drain. It will significantly decrease the build-up of grease and other debris.
A clogged drain is a typical problem that many homeowners deal with from time to time. It is caused by the build-up of food particles and grease (in the case of sink drains) or hair strands and soap residue (in the case of bathroom drains).
Fortunately, there are simple methods that you can do yourself to solve this annoying problem. These methods can either be natural, mechanical, or chemical in nature. Whatever technique you use, they are all effective home remedies for clogged drains.
Regular maintenance of kitchen sink and bathroom drains is essential in preventing the formation of clogs. Keep them clean and free of debris. After reading this article, hopefully, you won’t have to deal with clogged drains anymore. Spare yourself from the expense and hassle of having to call someone else to fix the problem.
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