How to Clean a Clogged Drain?

using a plunger - mira mesa plumberSo you’ve got a clog? Don’t worry, it happens, and it happens often! Clogs are one of the most common plumbing emergencies. And one of the most annoying ones, as well. Drains can be blocked for a variety of reasons, from cooking oil and washed off food to hair and soap residue.

Even if you’ve noticed that water in your tub or kitchen sink is draining slowly, you should deal with it as soon as possible before it becomes fully clogged.

The good news is that armed with the right tools and techniques, you’ll be able to combat most minor clogs without having to resort to your trusted Mira Mesa plumber or a reputable plumber in the area you live in.

Here are a few useful remedies and tips that will help you handle a clogged drain and keep the water flowing.

1. Home remedies

If caught early, partial clogs can be cleaned with common natural household remedies such as vinegar, baking soda or even just hot water. They are usually quite simple and effective in clearing slow-draining sinks.

Hot water

This is your best friend in case of a grease buildup, but keep in mind that water should be hot before you pour it down the drain. Cold water will just harden the grease. You can heat it up in a large stock pot on the stove.

Soda

You may have heard stories about people beating a clog with Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Indeed, it works wonders! The bubbles work the magic because of the phosphoric acid, which is especially useful for dissolving calcium build-up. Just pour a two-liter of soda down the drain and wait for an hour or two before you rinse it with hot water.

Baking soda

Sodium bicarbonate is a natural and inexpensive product that takes on tough cleaning jobs. It eliminates odors and cuts through grease and grime. Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain and follow it with a cup of white vinegar. You’ll notice bubbles and hear a sizzling noise, which is a sign of a chemical reaction that loosens dirt and gunk. When it stops, after approximately 15 minutes, flush it with a pot of boiling water. You may also mix a cup of baking soda with a cup of salt and four cups of boiling water. Let the mixture sit in the drain overnight and then run hot tap water down the drain.

Keep in mind that this is only for partial not full clogs. You may repeat the process once a month to make sure your drain remains unblocked.

2. Work the plunger

If you’re dealing with a full clog, take a toilet plunger. It’s pretty useful for unclogging your sink or shower drain. Partially fill the sink before you start plunging and get ready for the messy part. Make sure the plunger has water in it and that it’s not full of air. The energy of water will dislodge the clog. Cover the drain completely with the plunger and then press and pull it vigorously for about half a minute.

3. Clean the P-Trap

Sometimes clogs appear in the P-trap and trap arm of the drain, so if the plunging doesn’t work, disassemble and clean out the debris in the P-trap or the trap arm. You should sponge the water from the sink and then pull off the trap. Be prepared for dirty water that will flow out. If you still can’t find the clog, reach for the snake.

4. Snake the line

An auger or plumber’s snake is quite helpful in removing hair and the debris build-up. Use a cable auger to dislodge clogs located farther down the drain. Thread the tip of the snake into the drain stub-out until you feel resistance. Once it hits an obstruction, keep cracking and pushing the cable until it goes through the blockage. Then turn the crank clockwise and pull out the cable. Repeat the process until you clear the clog.

5. Do not use chemical drain cleaners

Yes, chemical drain cleaners might clean your drain but after several uses they are most likely to weaken the pipes. Chemicals in the drain cleaning products such as acid or lye can be hazardous to your health if they get in contact with the skin or eyes, and they can permanently damage the pipes. Their purpose is to eat away at whatever they come in contact with. Instead of dangerous chemicals, resort to one of the abovementioned safer cleaning alternatives.

Call your trusted Mira Mesa plumber

If you still can’t clear the clog, don’t exert too much force. You can make it worse by causing permanent damage to a pipe or fixture. The best solution is to call an experienced Mira Mesa plumber or a plumber you trust in your San Diego community you live in. With over 30 years of experience, a family owned business and a reliable company, Plumbing Plus will assess the situation and find the most effective solution to whatever plumbing related issue you might have.