Plumbing services don’t come cheap.
For instance, a typical job, on average, will cost between $175 and $450.
That’s a lot of money by most peoples’ standards.
Unfortunately, it's often something people can't ignore. After all, plumbing problems have significant negative outcomes when they’re left unsorted. It’s in every homeowners’ interest to deal with leaks, drips and blockages as soon as possible.
Thankfully, there are often DIY methods for handling the situation too. For certain issues, all it takes is the right know-how to avoid the financial burden of hiring a plumber.
Clogged drains are one particularly common problem that you can sort out yourself!
Want to know how?
Keep reading to discover seven easy ways to unclog drains!
1. Get the Plunger Out
A plunger is an essential household item.
Not having one is like driving a car without a radio. It shouldn’t happen.
Sometimes, to unblock a drainpipe, there’s no replacement for a bit of elbow grease. The plunger becomes your weapon of choice.
Now, you may already have tried the plunger, but you might not have done it right! Here’s the actual recommended plunging process:
- Cover the overflow opening (you don’t want rancid drain gloop hitting you in the face)
- Fill the basin or sink with enough water to cover the plunger head.
- Affix the plunger over the drain opening.
- Top tip: cover the plunger in Vaseline to improve the seal.
- Plunge like your life depends on it to build up the pressure.
- After 10 or so plunges, swiftly remove the plunger.
- Problem solved, in theory, anyway.
Alas, the plunger isn’t foolproof. If it doesn’t work the first time around, repeat the process another few times. Still no joy? Move onto the following ideas.
2. Baking Soda and Vinegar
Get ready for the classic DIY drain cleaner technique!
Baking soda and vinegar are widely recognized as the ultimate in clogged drain self-sufficiency.
Start by combining one-third of a cup of baking soda with another third cup of vinegar. There will be an instant reaction. Expect a fair amount of fizzing! Get it down the drain as soon as possible to get working.
An alternative approach is to pour the baking soda into the drain first. Next, chase it with the vinegar. The same effect occurs, but directly inside the drain.
The trick is to leave it be for a while. Don’t run water down straight away. Instead, let the chemical reaction take care of the blockage for a couple of hours. Some people even recommend leaving it overnight.
Once the time has passed, run some hot water down the drain to see if it’s worked.
3. Use Boiling Water
Boiling water is to clogged drains what turning the computer off is to technical issues.
It’s the go-to solve-all approach that’s genuinely surprising when it doesn’t work.
This approach is fairly self-explanatory. Boil the kettle. Pour it down the drain. Voila, unclogged drain! Now, the best approach is to pour a full kettle of boiled water down in short bursts. Don’t go all at once.
With the boiling water down you could even try plunging again.
However, be careful of the hot water coming back and hitting you!
As it happens, regularly flushing the drain with boiling water is a good way of avoiding blockages. Make a habit of doing it!
4. Salt, Baking Soda, and Boiling Water
If ever there was an A-team of DIY drain cleaners, this would be it.
This approach is best suited to blockages caused by grease and oily grime. Slow drains caused by oil may need a little extra shove to dislodge and/or clear away.
Pour a half cup of salt down first. Follow this up with half a cup of baking soda. Finally, add the kettle of boiling water. Again, it helps to leave it for some time to do its work. leave it overnight for best effect.
5. The Old Bent-Coat-Hanger Technique
This is another incredibly technical DIY method of unblocking a drain.
Start by rummaging in your closet for an old, unwanted wire clothes hanger.
Next, unbend it to create a straightened stretch of wire, leaving a small hook on the very end.
Then, use it to dig around in the drain. Expect rank odors and a fair degree of gagging to ensue. Pull the hairs, grime, dirt, and debris out as well as you can. Think of it like fishing for dirt.
The trick is to get as much out as possible, without pushing anything further in. That’s the opposite of what you want to happen.
All things going well, you’ll successfully unclog whatever was down there. Run the hot water to check!
6. All the Above
Okay, let’s face it:
An unclogged drain is a time for action.
This is war. It’s you versus the blockage. Sometimes you have to throw everything you’ve got against it. In reality, a combination of each approach may be the answer to your problem.
If the plunger doesn’t work, then you might need boiling water. Then, you may have to attack it with a coat hanger. Is it still clogged? Bring out the big guns: the vinegar and baking soda combo.
With those down, repeat from the beginning! Plunger to boiling water to coat hanger and so on. Eventually, the drain should clear.
7. Hire a Professional
Occasionally, nothing works.
Try as you might, the drain is well and truly clogged. No amount of vinegar, coat hanger stabbing, and boiling water dousing will do. You’re left with a steaming, gunk-filled, vinegar stinking mess.
At this point, it’s often best to hire a professional drain cleaner.
These guys know what they’re doing and have all the tools required. Of course, you could save all the hassle and hire them from the outset! It doesn’t get much easier than that.
Time to Unclog Drains
There you have it: seven straight-forward ways to unclog drains that everyone should know.
Plumbing problems are fairly common. Unfortunately, the cost of hiring someone to fix them can be steep. Thankfully, you can handle many of the simplest issues with a DIY approach.
Hopefully, this post has provided some top ideas for handling one of the most frequent plumbing problems: clogged drains!
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