Every property, whether residential, commercial, or industrial, faces the problem of blocked drains now and then. There are many causes of blocked drains, and although we cannot always avoid blockage, we can reduce the frequency of these blockages by following best practices. Blocked drains can present many problems, including slow drainage, foul odours, water backup, damage, pest infestations, higher bills, etc. Although some blockages require professional help, some home remedies can help unblock your drains.
Boiling water can help in unblocking drains if the blockage is mild. It’s the simplest of techniques for unblocking clogged drains. Boiling water can be especially useful in breaking down grease, oil, and small debris. Boil water in a kettle or a pan, wear heat-resistant gloves, and pour the boiling water into the clogged drain. Make sure to pour slowly to avoid splashes, which can burn your skin. Wait a few minutes after pouring down a small volume of boiling water, and repeat if necessary. Wait a few years, then check if the drain has been unblocked. Regularly pouring boiling water into your drain can help you avoid future blockages.
Boiling water may work for minor blockages, but if large-size solids have been lodged into your drainage system, you may need to try a different approach. A plunger is often handy for unclogging drains, which would not respond to boiling water. You can use flange or cup plungers. The former is used for toilet drains and the latter for showers and sinks. The plunger should be used in such a way that it creates a vacuum seal on the drain opening. Pump the plunger a couple of times and then pull it quickly. The vacuum thus created should be able to dislodge any blockage. You will hear an unclogging sound if the plunger works. Repeat if necessary.
You heard that right! A mixture of baking soda and white vinegar can do miracles. Any blockage caused by organic waste, scum, or grease can be dislodged with the help of this mixture. Start by cleaning the drainage area to make it dry. Pour half a cup of baking soda directly into the drain. This should be followed by pouring down the same quantity of white vinegar into the drain. Use a rag right away to cover the drain completely. Let the mixture fizz for 20 minutes, and then slowly pour a kettle of boiling water into the drain. Wait another few minutes and check if your drain is now working properly. Use this method once a month as a preventive measure for clogged drains.
You have three options when it comes to commercial drain cleaners. Caustic, acidic, and enzyme-based cleaners. Caustic drain cleaners contain sodium or potassium hydroxide. These are strong chemicals; you must wear safety gloves when using them. These drain cleaners convert the waste into a soap-like substance that can be easily washed away. Acidic cleaners usually contain hydrochloric or sulfuric acid. These, again, are pretty strong and can burn your skin, so be careful when using them. These cleaners can deal with various waste materials, including paper, mineral deposits, and hair. However, they can also have a detrimental effect on pipes. Enzyme-based cleaners are the most eco-friendly but more suitable for dissolving organic waste. Therefore, they have a mild effect on pipes and can be used more frequently than other commercial drain cleaners. Regardless of which commercial drain cleaner you use, read the instructions and always wear safety gear.
A plumbing snake or auger can help you get rid of stubborn blockages. It is called a snake because it is coiled and highly flexible. The snake can be easily driven inside the drain to dislodge any blockage. It can be driven manually as well as with the help of a motor. Motorised augers or longer snakes are usually used for large drains and toilets. For showers and sinks, you can use a handheld snake. Get a snake that matches the size of your drainage. Start by wearing your safety gear. Clear the drainage area. If you use a manual snake, turn the snake handle clockwise to insert it into the drain. If you use a motorised auger, assemble it according to the manufacturer’s instructions, activate the motor, and slowly insert it into the drain. The snake will encounter resistance when it touches the blockage. Continue inserting the snake to break through the blockage. Once the obstruction is clear, retract the auger slowly to retrieve the clog. Debris might come out with the auger, which you can collect with the help of towers and rags. Flush the system with hot water to wash away any remaining debris.
A shop vac, also called a wet/dry vacuum, can be used to create powerful suction for removing blockages from drains. They can be especially useful for dealing with blocked tubs and sinks. Before using the vac, gather some rags or towels to clean any spills the vac will pull out of the drain. Switch the vac to “wet mode” and place the suction over the drain opening. If you fear that the vac may suck in debris, you can place a screen or a filter over the nozzle. Cover any sink overflow holes with damp cloths so the air does not escape when you turn on the vac. Switch it on and hold it firmly over the drain opening. Run it for several seconds to clear out all the blockage. After you have cleared the drain, run hot water through the drain.
If you have tried all the above and failed, another innovative way of dislodging blockage from your drains exists. Use your wire coat hanger as a hook. Unwind the hanger to transform it into a straight wire. Turn one end into a hook; use pliers with your hands if you can’t do it. Insert the hooked end into the drain and pull out the blockage. Try it a couple of times, and if you can dislodge the blockage, you have saved yourself from considerable trouble.