Drain clogs can be caused by a buildup of hair, soap scum, grease, and other debris. They can also harbor bacteria and other harmful microorganisms. Blockage can be one of the leading causes of unpleasant odors and overall poor plumbing performance. Cleaning your drains regularly can help prevent these blockages from forming, keeping your drains flowing freely. Clearing buildup can help remove contaminants and improve the overall sanitation of your home or business. Below, we provide a home drain cleaning guide to help you keep your plumbing in excellent condition.
Use a Plunger to Remove a Drain ClogOne of the simplest ways to clean a drain is to use a plunger. Although plungers are traditionally used for unclogging a toilet, you can also use them to unclog any other type of drain because of the suction they create. To use a plunger to clear a drain, follow these steps:
- Fill the sink or basin with enough water to cover the plunger’s cup.
- Place the plunger over the drain and press down firmly to create a seal.
- Plunge up and down rapidly for about 30 seconds.
- Remove the plunger and check if the water drains properly.
- Repeat steps 2-4 several times if the water does not drain.
- If the problem persists, you may have a more serious blockage that requires professional attention.
Use a Drain SnakeA drain snake, also known as a plumbing snake or auger, is a long, flexible tool that can be inserted into a drain to remove blockages such as hair, soap scum, and food particles. They can effectively remove blockages in sinks, toilets, and shower or bathtub drains. Drain snakes come in various sizes and designs, and the specific type you use will depend on the location and severity of the blockage. Small, hand-held snakes are best for minor blockages in sinks and toilets, while larger, electric snakes are more suitable for clearing blockages in main sewer lines or other large-diameter pipes. When using a drain snake, it is important to be cautious not to force the snake further down than it can go, or you may risk damaging the pipes. And always be careful with the electricity and water mixture.
Baking Soda and VinegarBaking soda and vinegar can be used together as a natural and effective method to clean and unclog drains. The combination creates a chemical reaction that can help to break down and remove built-up grime and debris in the pipes. To use this method, you can follow these steps:
- Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain.
- Slowly pour 1 cup of vinegar down the drain.
- The mixture will begin to foam and bubble, indicating the chemical reaction.
- Allow the mixture to sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Rinse the drain with hot water for about a minute to flush out any remaining debris.
Commercial Drain Cleaning ProductYou can use commercial drain cleaning products to clean and unclog drains, but you should use them with caution and follow the instructions on the product label. Commercial drain cleaning products often contain strong chemicals such as lye or sulfuric acid that can dissolve grease and hair but can also harm pipes if used improperly or in excessive amounts. They also can be dangerous to handle and should be kept out of reach of children and pets. When using commercial drain cleaning products, it is important to:
- Wear gloves and eye protection to avoid contact with the skin or eyes.
- Read and follow the product label’s instructions carefully
- Avoid using products that contain more than one type of cleaner, as they can react with each other and produce dangerous fumes.
- If you are uncomfortable using commercial drain cleaning products or if the blockage is severe, it’s best to call a plumber for professional help.