What To Do About Clogged Drains

No matter how careful we are, from time to time we still get clogged drains and toilets. Although they can be messy to clear, there are simple ways to do it.  Here we are going to talk about how to unclog your drains, and also some preventative measures.

Sink Clogs

The number 1 source of a clogged bathroom sink is hair. Men shave over the sink, and we generally comb our hair over the sink.  Over time all this hair will clump together and your problem occurs. Here are a few simple fixes:

1)      Try using an environmentally safe chemical drain opener. Read the directions on the bottle and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. After using any chemical cleaner, run hot water for at least 10-15 minutes to flush out the drain pipes.

2)      Run about 2” of hot water in the sink. Stuff a cloth into the overflow hole. Take your plunger and try plunging up and down several times. You might have to do this several times.  Once cleared, run hot water down the drain.

3)      Remove the drain plug. Take a straightened wire hanger and place in the drain. This should help pull up most of the clog. Always remember to clean the drain plug, too.

4)      If the clog is more stubborn than you like, drastic measures will need to be taken. At this time you will need to open the trap. This is generally where most of the clogs end up. Place a bucket under the trap (the u-shaped pipe under the sink) to catch any standing water. With a pipe wrench, loosen the nuts at both ends of the trap. Remove the trap and clear out any debris that might be stuck in it. Generally, you will be able to stick your fingers in the pipe to pull out more of the clog. If this is not possible, then a cable auger, or commonly called the snake, will need to be used. Insert the snake into the pipe and crank until you feel resistance. Keep working the snake until you can feel you have pushed through. Your clog is cleared when you stop feeling resistance. Reassemble your trap, and run water to flush out any leftover debris.

Bathtub and Shower Clogs

Once again, these clogs are generally caused by hair. The first step is to remove the stopper and clean any soap scum and hair accumulated on it. If this does resolve the problem, you can use any of the same steps for a clogged sink.

Toilet Clogs

Clogged toilets are generally the easiest to fix.  Using your plunger, place it over the “drain” at the bottom of the bowl. Instead of plunging down, where you could push the clog further into the pipes, press down firmly, then gives a quick pull upward. This should help bring the clog back up into the toilet, where it can either be discarded or broken down a bit more, before being flushed away.  If plunging does not do the job, then you will need to use a closet auger.

Kitchen Sink Drains

The major cause of kitchen drains clogging up is food and grease. Always try to use the garbage disposal side of the sink for food. To unclog grease from your sink, pour a cup of saltwater and a cup of soda into the drain, followed by a pan of boiling water. The grease will usually dissolve quickly, and the drain will open up.

Prevention and Easy Tricks

  • The easiest way to prevent a clogged toilet is to limit the amount of toilet paper you put in it. If you have to flush twice, then do it. If you have young children, lock down the toilet seat so they cannot flush small toys down the drain.
  • Once a month, clean your drains with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Simply pour about ¼ to ½ of a box of baking soda into the drain, then add ½ cup of vinegar. Once the mixture starts to foam, wait about 5 minutes, then follow with boiling water. This not only helps to clean your drains, but it also helps deodorize them as well.
  • Using a simple screen over your tub and sink drains will help eliminate hair and other debris from going down the drain. Just remove and clean the screen regularly.
  • Pour the juice of an orange or lemon into your garbage disposal at least once a week. This will help remove unpleasant odors.