Drain clogs can be caused by chemical concentrations, food product accumulation and grease accumulation. These clogs can be very severe and require professional cleaning or repairs. This may not always be possible due to certain plumbing systems or budgets.
You may be able, in the best case, to clear these clogs at home using several tools and methods before calling a professional plumber. We’ve collected 6 of the best DIY drain cleaning methods homeowners can use to reduce the impact of clogs and restore their drain pipes to peak performance.
Hot water could be the solution
A simple hot water rinse can sometimes be all you need to get your drains back to their best. Hot water and water pressure can be used to flush out clogged drain pipes.
Run hot water for approximately 15 minutes through your blocked or dirty drains to get the best results. If everything goes according to plan, the heat and force of hot water will dissolve any blockages in your drain and restore your pipes to their original condition. This flush is the easiest drain cleaning technique you have.
Make use of tools you already have
You can also use tools that you already have to clean your drains. Before you go out and buy drain cleaning tools or call a professional plumber to inspect your drains, you can use these tools to make quick, easy repairs to your drain pipes.
The bathroom plunger that you already have may be the best solution to your blocked or poor-performing drains. Special sink plungers that are optimized for sink use are even more efficient.
Whatever plunger you use, clearing a drain is the same regardless of which one. Simply cover the drain opening with the plunger and then press down in a fluid motion for approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Do not force the plunger with excessive speed or force. The steady buildup pressure caused by fluid motions can cause significant pipe clogging.
If the fixture is equipped with an “overflow” vent, such as the ones found on conventional sinks that prevent overflows, be sure to cover them before you start draining. Otherwise, all the pressure and air will escape from the drain, making your efforts useless.
Petroleum jelly can be used to seal a drain opening. This jelly temporarily seals the plunger to the fixture and prevents air from escaping.
Homemade Liquid Cleaners
If the above methods are not practical or do not work for you, you might consider using homemade solutions to clear your drains. These solutions, like commercial chemical cleaners can dissolve and dislodge drain pipe buildup. However, unlike commercial cleaners these solutions are not likely to cause pipe damage or deterioration.
A simple vinegar-baking soda combination is the most popular of these at home mixtures. These products, which may be already in your pantry, react to break down any loose materials within pipes and have no effect on the structure of surrounding pipes walls.
After a quick, 3- to 5-minute time-span, pour one cup of each into your drain pipes. Then, heat some water to boil. This drain cleaning method will clear any blockages in your drains for a fraction the cost and risk associated with commercial chemical cleaners.
For DIY Plumbing Service, use a drain snake
A plumber’s snake is one tool that you might not have, but will need if your drains are blocked or clogged. These tools are used by professional plumbers to clear standard clogs or excavate drain pipes. They can be purchased at your local hardware store for a reasonable price (roughly $25-50) and will return on their investment within a single usage.
Although you might think that these tools are only for professionals, homeowners are increasingly using snaking methods to clean their drains. Drain snaking is as easy as 1-2-3:
- Start by feeding the snake into your drain pipes. Turn the handle clockwise to encounter resistance.
- Rotate the snake tothe blockage so that the snake latches onto the blocked materials
- Slowly remove the snake from the drain, then reassemble the drain cover.
You can solve your drain clog problem without having to call a professional.
Sugared Sodas & Drain Clogs
This drain cleaning trick is often ignored simply because it’s unusual But it can solve common drain clogs just like the homemade ones featured in this blog.
These soda applications are significantly safer than commercial drain cleaners like vinegar and baking soda. This is because of the dissolving agents in sodas. The most notable being phosphoric acid.
Surprisingly, these agents may be more efficient than commercial, chemical cleaners. This just shows that sometimes, the most effective solutions for drain cleaning are not always the best.
Tips for Keeping Your Drains Running Well
Avoiding clogging is the best way to get rid of drain clogs. Express Sewer & Drain recommends performing monthly performance tests on drains and having a professional plumber inspect your plumbing at least every year.
You can prevent clogs from becoming more serious and expensive by taking proactive steps. It is important to know what your drains can and can’t process, and this information can be used to prevent clogging. Avoid putting fibrous, stringy foods down your drains or garbage disposal.