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  • Writer's pictureJustin Shook

How to Unclog a Drain: Simple Solutions


hand pouring baking  soda in a bathroom sink drain to clean it

Clogged drains are one of the most common household inconveniences. Whether it's in the bathroom sink choked up with hair or a kitchen sink full of food particles, a blocked drain can disrupt your daily routine. Instead of using caustic chemical cleaners, there are several DIY solutions you can try that won’t harm your pipes or the environment. The following list on how to unclog a drain includes some effective, eco-friendly methods to get that water flowing smoothly again. To save time and some frustration, contact your local plumber.


How to Unclog a Drain


1. Boiling Water


The simplest method to start with is boiling water. Heat up a kettle or pot of water to boiling and pour it slowly down the blocked drain. The hot water can help dissolve some organic blockages. It's especially effective for minor obstructions. However, ensure your pipes are metal or ceramic. Boiling water might damage or misshape PVC pipes.


2. Baking Soda and Vinegar


These common household items provide one of the best options for clearing your drain! The combination of baking soda and vinegar has been a trusted cleaning duo for ages. If the sink stopper is very dirty, it’s helpful to remove the stopper completely to clean it first, then reinsert and proceed to the next steps. Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain followed by an equal amount of white or apple cider vinegar. You can also close the sink stopper, place your vinegar and baking soda in the sink, then release the fizzy, natural cleaner down the drain. The mixture will bubble and fizz, breaking down grime and gunk. After about 20-30 minutes, rinse with hot water. Repeat if necessary.


3. Plunger


A trusty plunger isn’t just for toilets. For sinks, you'll want a cup or sink plunger (they're generally smaller than toilet plungers). Ensure there's enough water in the sink to submerge the plunger head. Seal the plunger over the drain and give it several vigorous pumps. The suction can help dislodge whatever is causing the blockage.


4. Natural Enzymatic Drain Cleaners


If you're wary of harsh chemicals, there are natural enzymatic drain cleaners available. They contain bacteria that eat away the organic material in a clog. They're environmentally friendly and won’t harm your pipes, but they might take longer to work than chemical alternatives.


5. Check the P-Trap


Sometimes, the blockage is not deep in your drain but located in the U-shaped pipe beneath your sink, known as the P-trap. Place a bucket underneath the pipe and unscrew it (you might need a wrench). Once removed, you can clear out any obstructions and then replace it.


6. Drain Snake or Auger


A drain snake, also known as an auger, is a long, flexible tool that can be manually or mechanically rotated to dislodge blockages deep in your drain. Push the end of the snake into the drain until you feel resistance, then twist and push to break up the obstruction. Once you feel the blockage has been cleared, pull out the snake and rinse the drain with hot water.


Prevention is Better than Cure

dirty clogged bathroom sink drain full of dirty brown water with hair and dirt in the bottom of the sink with water running and some white suds in water

While these methods can effectively tackle a clogged drain, the best approach is prevention. Avoid dumping oil, coffee grounds, or large food particles down the sink. Use strainers to catch hair and soap scum in the shower. Regularly flush your drains with boiling water or a baking soda-vinegar mixture to prevent build-up. Read our full article on clog prevention, here.


In conclusion, while a clogged drain is a hassle, it's often one you can handle without professional help. By using the methods outlined above, you can get your drains flowing freely again in no time. If you've tried multiple methods and still have a stubborn clog, it might be time to call in a plumber to ensure there aren't more significant issues at hand. Get a free estimate from Premium Rooter Plumbing Services!


(Disclaimer: Premium Rooter Plumbing Services takes no responsibility for any and all damages or injuries to persons or property resulting from following the steps in this article. For professional installations, contact Premium Rooter Plumbing Services.)


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