Clogged drains are a nuisance, but the good news is that there are things you can try yourself before calling a plumber. If armed with the right tools and remedies, many minor drain clogs can easily be fixed.
Baking Soda and Vinegar
Do you remember mixing baking soda and vinegar together as a kid and watching the explosion ensue? These two solutions not only create chemical volcanoes, they also double as an eco-friendly drain cleaner. Wait until you have a dry drain, then pour a cup of white vinegar down the drain mixed with one cup of baking soda. Let the solution sit overnight, then wash it down with boiling water.
Baking Soda and Salt
This is another effective mixture. Mix one part baking soda with one part salt and add four parts boiling water. Pour the solution into the sink and let sit overnight. Rinse with hot water the next day.
This can be a great solution, especially if the clog is due to grease buildup in the kitchen sink. Boil a large pot of water and pour it down the clogged drain. Add salt to really pack a punch!
While it can rot teeth, it can also clean a drain. Coca-Cola and Pepsi are the two preferred sodas for this job because they contain phosphoric acid. Simply pour a two liter bottle down the clogged drain, let it sit for several hours and then wash it down with hot water.
Detergent contains sodium carbonate, which is similar to baking soda. Mix the detergent with an equal part of hot water and pour it down the clogged drain. Let it sit for several hours and then rinse with more hot water.
For tougher clogs, the first tool to reach for is a plunger; of course, you’ll want to use a brand new one. The suction from the plunger can sometimes be enough to dislodge an obstruction. Add a moderate amount of water in the sink or tub, then simply plunge the clogged drain with a vertical up-and-down action for 30 seconds. If you don’t notice immediate results, this method may need to be repeated several times.
Drain augers (or drain snakes) are metal coils that are designed to clear clogs in sink and bathtub drains. To use a drain snake, simply feed the line into the clogged drain; it should go down several inches. Then, gently crank the handle, which will cause the snake to go further down into the drain. Once you reach the P-trap, the snake may seem to be stuck, but if you keep turning the handle and wiggling the snake, you should be able to reach the blockage. Then, the tip of the snake will either break up the material or pull it back up with the snake as it ascends. You may need to repeat this step several times.
A closet auger, or a snake used for toilets, feeds a relatively short auger through a hook-shaped length of metal tubing. A plastic boot on the end of the auger protects the finish of the toilet from scratches. Since most toilet clogs occur in the trap, the short cable is sufficient to break up or retrieve most clogs.
A Snakentainer is a more powerful device for clearing out tough drain clogs. A large crank on the back of the drum provides powerful leverage. After a couple of turns, you should have the speed and momentum to break through a stubborn stoppage.
Once your drain clog is cleared, take a few simple steps to prevent future clogs:
Do you have a clog that won’t come loose? Head over to our equipment rental page to find the right tool for the job!