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Clearing Your Blocked Drain

Cleaning a blocked drain is not something that most people actively think about. However, it is important to prioritise doing so as drain obstructions are one of the most prevalent plumbing issues that every homeowner fears. Drain cleaning, as we all know, should be done with extreme caution. Expect this to become a nasty and smelly problem if you neglect it. If you have previously run into this problem, do not worry; this article has got you covered!

You will find a compilation of the most effective methods for clearing clogged drains as you read on. If you are ready, it is time to get your sinks or drains working just fine once again.

What Are The Causes Of Blocked Drains?

Foreign substances and debris forced down the sink drain can pile up in your plumbing pipes, resulting in sink or drain blockages. Some of the most typical causes of blocked drains are:

Old House

Older homes have older pipes that are more prone to clogging and water leaks. Gunk loves to cling to the surface of frail inner walls. Therefore, if this is the case, try to identify the spots in your pipes where clogs occur most frequently. Instead of re-plumbing your entire house, you will only need to replace them in those specific areas.

Clogged Vents

If you do not perform drain plumbing properly, you might get chronic obstructions. Check your drainage system to determine whether your drain holes are blocked if you have a slow drain or if water keeps coming back up through the plughole. If this is the case, it signifies that your vents are severely blocked.

What Can And Cannot Go Down The Drain?

Plumber Checking Blockage

If you have blocked your drains, wastewater might reverse in the pipes and overflow out of your sink drains. This is an unpleasant occurrence that can be a health hazard for you and your family.

The first step in avoiding emergency plumbing situations like a blocked drain is to know what can and cannot go down the drain. Water or soapy dishwashing water and greywater from laundries and bathrooms will cause no problem to your drains. A clogged drain can be due to coffee grounds, cooking oil, foreign objects, food scraps, and other hard items going down it.

How To Clear A Blocked Drain

Drain cleaners work well for unclogging kitchen sinks, garbage disposals, and water filters. Before calling a local drain plumber to intervene, here are some quick and easy ways to clear a blocked drain with natural cleansers.

Using Boiling Water

You can use boiling water to loosen up any built-up filth or grease in your drains. Boiling water is an excellent initial step in clearing a clogged drain, and nothing is more environmentally friendly than H20. However, keep in mind that pouring boiling water can cause plastic pipes to melt. Therefore, you cannot use boiling water on PVC pipes other than metal or ceramic. To effectively clean PVC pipes, you can use mild hot water.

This works by applying pressure and corrosive action to the clog, which breaks it down and clears the line. The pressure is allowed to leave through the open drain as it has little effect on the clog. By using hot water, you can remove severe blockages.

Using Baking Soda and Vinegar

The use of baking soda and vinegar to clear your blocked drain is another excellent environmentally friendly alternative that is well-known. To clear up your blocked drain, you can pour boiling water down the clogged drain, followed by half a cup of baking soda.

Make sure to leave the baking soda for a few minutes before adding a cup of vinegar. Allow the solution to fizz for a few moments to clear off the residue that’s clogging things up. Then, add another cup of hot water to finish. If the clog does not clear up and your drain is still blocked, you can repeat this process or try other similar methods, including:

Using Baking Soda and Salt

You can pour an equal amount of each product down your blocked drain. Then, wait for around 20-30 minutes and flush the mixture down with hot water.

Using Vinegar, Salt, and Lemon

You can combine equal parts salt, vinegar and add half a teaspoon of lemon juice in a bowl. Next, pour the mixture down the clogged drain. Allow it to rest for approximately 20-30 minutes before rinsing the mixture with hot water.

Using Salt and Hot Water

Pour at least a half cup of salt and hot water down your blocked drain, then wait for about 20-30 minutes before flushing it with hot water. Because of its abrasive and antibacterial characteristics, salt can unclog drains, clean your pipes, and absorb microorganisms.

Remedies For Blocked Drains Caused By Debris

For fats, oil, and grease (FOG) clogs, these approaches are inadequate. While hot water might clear the blockage right away, it can also cause problems by dispersing the FOG. Therefore, you can use the remedies below to clear such clogs.

Use Washing Soda

If baking soda has not worked for you and you’re seeking a powerful home remedy, washing soda is your next best option. Washing soda or sodium carbonate is a popular ingredient in cleaning products and can unclog drains at home. It has a higher alkaline content than baking soda, making it a more powerful drain cleaning agent.

To unblock your drain, fill your sink halfway with boiling water and add a cup of washing soda. Then, add a hot cup of water and wait for around five minutes so that the mixture can work its magic on the blockage. This should assist in the removal of any obstruction in your drains. If your sink is still taking a long time to drain, repeat the process.

What if you do not have any washing soda? Fill a baking dish with some baking soda and bake it at 204° C for one hour. Doing so will cause it to expel extra carbon dioxide and convert it to washing soda.

Use a Wet and Dry Vacuum

A wet or dry vacuum can vacuum both liquids and dry dust and grime. It can suck waste from blocked sinks when the clog is high up. Before turning on your vacuum, set it to wet and make a tight seal between the clogged drain and the suction arm extension.

You can start by creating a seal over the plughole to avoid making a mess. Then, with the settings set to maximum suction, put the vacuum to the liquid setting and place it over the plughole. Now, turn on the vacuum and wait for about one-two minutes. Then, turn off the water and run it slowly to test if the sink gets unblocked.

Try a Plunger

It is time to plunge those drains, sinks, or toilets that have a stubborn clog. Pump your elbows and use a plunger to pull up any obstructions in the sink or drain pipe. Plunging can be messy, so have some drop sheets or rags on hand to wipe up any spills.

If you are dealing with a smaller drain like your sink or shower, you may need a different plunger. A cup plunger built for smaller drains is required. Remove the grate or stopper and place the cup plunger in the drain, attempting to create a tight seal. You can apply petroleum jelly to the rim of the plunger for this. Then, plunge hard, run water to test if the clog is gone, and repeat as needed.

Invest in a Drain Snake

Hair, skin, dust, and food particles clog drains as they bind to the soap scum that builds upon the drainpipe walls. It can cause water flow to slow down over time. A drain snake is a more invasive tool, yet it can swiftly do the job of unblocking your drain. You can also clean clogged drains with a wire clothes hanger, closet auger, or plumber drain snakes. You can also use a DIY drain snake similarly.

A simple wire hanger can un-block sinks effectively. You can take an ordinary coat hanger and straighten it out. Then, make a small hook shape at one end of the wire to clear your blocked drain. Slowly push this end down the plughole and start fishing. Pushing the hanger lower can cause the clog to travel further down the drain. To help loosen and eliminate the muck that’s obstructing your drain, employ mild prodding and hooking motions.

You can find drain snakes in almost any hardware store. If you use a drain snake incorrectly, your pipe relining could be damaged or punctured. If you are a beginner at plumbing, you can seek help from a professional plumber.

Use Dish Detergent

Poop, excess toilet paper, wipes, female sanitary goods, or cotton wool balls are the most common items found in toilets, while hair clogs are the most prevalent in your shower. As it breaks up debris and lubricates your drain, dish detergent is an excellent choice for these areas.

Simply pour some dish detergent into the shower, then fill it with boiling water to weaken the clog. Then, to help remove the obstruction, use a plunger. You can also use your hands to clear the clog by wearing gloves.

Use Coke

Although coke is caustic and efficient in removing build-up in drains, it is far friendlier than professional drain cleaners. You have to wait at least an hour to pass before pouring down the hot water to drain it all. For stubborn obstructions, coke is a great option. Soda beverages may quickly clear filth off pipes due to their acidity. However, they can leave a sticky film because of the sugar syrup.

Clean the P-Trap

The p-trap is a curved pipe beneath your sink that collects debris and prevents odour from entering the rest of your house plumbing system. You can place a bucket under your sink to store any excess water. Then remove the u-shaped pipe (the p-trap) under your sink with pliers. Empty the p-trap and rinse it in a different sink while wearing gloves. Then, to see if your clog is gone, replace it.

Use Caustic Soda

Caustic cleaners are typically harsher than natural drain solutions and can result in chemical burns. When handling this chemical, take extra precautions and make sure the environment is sufficiently ventilated. Ensure that you wear eye goggles (or other eye protection) and rubber gloves while using caustic soda or sodium hydroxide.

To clear a blocked drain, add three cups of caustic soda to three-quarters of a gallon of cold water in a bucket. Now, use a wooden spoon to mix everything thoroughly. When the mixture starts to fizz, it is ready to use. Then, pour the liquid down your clogged drain and wait for around 20 to 30 minutes for it to work its magic. To flush out the mixture, pour boiling water down the drain. You might need to repeat the process if your drain is severely clogged.

Do You Need A Plumber For A Clogged Drain?

Calling a plumber is a smart option at any time. It can be hard to evaluate the degree of a clog; plumbers can handle any severity. Therefore, having them come over to diagnose and repair the problem as soon as possible is a good option. These are the more visible symptoms that require the services of a plumber.

  • If more than one drain in your home is clogged or there is a sewage odor in the air, it is essential to hire a plumber to snake your drain line as soon as possible.
  • If the plunger is not clearing the drain with strong plunging, you might need to call a plumber.
  • If you do not have access to a drain snake, you might need to call a plumber. Even if you have one, a plumber’s drain snake is more powerful and can penetrate tough clogs.

A blocked drain is a common plumbing emergency that needs fixing as soon as possible to avoid further damage to your pipe system and mainline. If you notice a clogged drain in your home, try the techniques in this article first to see if you can clear it yourself. For a severely blocked drain, seek help from a reliable plumbing company that has customer testimonials or any professional plumbers.

Blueline Plumbers are your local specialist for all domestic plumbing and gas fitting needs.

Get in touch for a free quote or speak with a qualified plumbing specialist. We will help you find a solution for your emergency plumbing or plumbing repair needs.
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