7 Best Methods To Unclog A Blocked Drain

A blocked drain is one of the most frustrating experiences a homeowner can have. An overflowing toilet, a very slow draining dishwashing sink, and a rising pool in the shower are sights that can ruin our day. You’ll surely be hard-pressed to find an immediate solution to these unsightly clogs.

Before you go running out to buy those commercial clog removers, check out this list of the 7 best methods to unclog a blocked drain. These are the least aggressive solutions to protect your pipes’ integrity and very easy that you can do them yourself.

You can start by visually inspecting the blocked drain. Check if you can see and manually remove any visible obstruction. If the clogging persists, proceed to the methods below.

Heat Up that Clog With Boiling Water

Pouring boiling water over the clogged drain is one of the classic and reliable methods. First, manually remove the standing water from the sink or clogged structure. Dump a full kettle of water directly down the drain. Wait for the water to cool then check again.

You can repeat the process two to three times until the blockage is removed.

Note: This only works on pipes that are made of metal. If your pipes are made from plastic, PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) or any other synthetic plastic polymer, choose the other methods instead.

The Magical Baking Soda

Baking soda is a very reliable substance when it comes to dissolving hard, sticky clogs. You can create very powerful declogging solutions while using baking soda as your base. Several methods include mixing: 

  • Baking soda with vinegar at a 1:1 ratio 
  • Baking soda and salt at a 1:1 ratio
  • Baking soda, vinegar, and lemon at a 2:2:1 ratio

Flush the drain with hot/boiling water after 15-30 minutes.

Note: 

  1. Don’t use the baking soda and vinegar solution if you previously used or are planning to use other chemicals. The vinegar may trigger chemical reactions that can be corrosive to your pipes.
  2. This method doesn’t work if you’re dealing with blockage caused by oil, fat, or grease.  

The Secret Washing Soda

Washing soda, also known as sodium carbonate, is a common cleaning agent used in unclogging drains. It is stronger than baking soda, thus, its popularity.

Start this method by pouring a kettle of boiling water down the drain. Follow this up by adding 2 cups of washing soda. Use a plunger to apply some pressure and push the clog downwards. Repeat the process two to three times.

Dish Detergent for Your Toilet and Shower Drains

Dish detergents have strong enough chemicals that can help in loosening greasy residue that is clinging to the pipes. They also lubricate your drain leading to a faster flow of the greasy residue.

Pour about ½ cup of dish detergent into the drain. Allow it to settle for a few minutes. Follow this with about a litre of hot water. Finally, you can use a plunger to push the residue down or get a pair of gloves to manually clean the sides of the pipe.

The Clothes Hanger Trick

Those old clothes hangers can still be useful to clean up your blocked drain. Take a metal hanger and straighten it out. At one end of the wire, form a small hook. You’ll use this end to fish for the cause of obstruction.

This is similar to the drain snake that professional plumbers use in cleaning the drain.

The P-Trap Technique

Finally, let’s go to the easiest one on the list, the P-Trap technique. The P-Trap or slip joint nut is a part of the piping system under the sink. Its main function is to prevent the gas from the sewers from entering into the interiors of the house. 

The curve area of this structure always retains water. Over time, debris and residue can accumulate in this area, thus the need to regularly clean it. Such debris may be the cause of the clogging of the pipes. 

For the P-Trap technique, place a bucket underneath then simply open the valve on the base and remove the scum and dirt. However, we don’t recommend that you do the opening of the P-Trap on your own. If done improperly, a future blockage can happen sooner than you’d expect.

Caustic Soda, Anyone?

The methods mentioned above are the milder means of unclogging your drain. If worse comes to worst, use caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) to get rid of that stubborn clog. This is the go-to solution of professional cleaners out there.

The defining characteristic of caustic soda is its ability to turn hard grease into soap, yes, you read it right! The resulting product of this process can be easily dissolved in water.

Note:

It is highly advised that you have to wear protective gear like safety goggles, gloves, and masks when working with caustic soda. The chemical and its vapour can irritate your skin and eyes. In addition, make sure that you’ll be working in an area with open ventilation.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are a lot of methods that you can use to unclog your blocked drain. If you still can’t determine the cause for the blockage drain, then it’s useful to consider finding the many reasons why the drain is blocked and working out a further solution from there.

You can use the mildest methods at first then move through the list and try to do the others. Blocked drains are tough to deal with, especially when the accumulation of the blocking materials has been going on for months or years. You just have to be patient.

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