Whether it’s a kitchen sink, bathroom shower, or laundry room drain, a blockage can disrupt your daily routine.
Sooner or later, it’s an inconvenience you will have to face. Here are 10 proven methods to unclog any drains in no time and get them running smoothly.
1. Hot Water
The simplest yet effective method to unclog drains is using boiling water.
Start by boiling water in a kettle and carefully pour it down the drain in stages. This method is particularly useful for tackling grease and soap scum buildup.
Boiling water works by melting and softening the greasy or sticky substances that might be causing the blockage. As the hot water moves through the pipes, it can help break down and flush away the clog, allowing the water to flow freely once again.
Disclaimer: Exercise caution and avoid using hot water on plastic pipes to prevent potential damage.
2. Baking Soda and Vinegar
Baking soda and vinegar is a tried and tested combination to clear blocked drains.
To start with, measure half a cup of baking soda and pour it in the drain. Then add half cup of white vinegar. Cover the drain for around 15 minutes, allowing the mixture to create bubbles that break down debris.
Finish by rinsing the drain with hot water. This method works by causing a chemical reaction between baking soda (a base) and vinegar (an acid). The reaction produces carbon dioxide gas, which forms bubbles and agitates the debris, helping to dislodge it from the pipe walls.
After the bubbling subsides, the hot water flushes away the loosened particles, leaving your drain clear.
3. Using a Plunger to Clear Obstructions
While you might have a plunger for your toilets, for clearing drains, you’ll need a sink-specific plunger.
Place a damp cloth over the overflow opening and vigorously plunge to create suction. This technique effectively dislodges minor clogs, making it perfect for bathroom and kitchen sinks.
The plunger creates a vacuum and pressure effect. When you push down, the plunger compresses air and forces it into the pipe. When you pull up, the suction pulls the clog back, helping to break it apart.
This back-and-forth action can be quite effective in freeing up minor blockages.
4. Cleaning With a Drain Snake or Auger
Sometimes the blockage is deeper in the pipe, requiring a drain snake or auger.
Drain snakes, also known as drain augers are essentially a coiled wire or flexible cable that can be extended into the pipe. As you rotate the snake, it helps to dislodge the clog, allowing it to be pulled back out or flushed away.
Insert the drain snake into the pipe and rotate it to break apart the clog. Withdraw the drain snake and clean it, then repeat the process until water flows freely. Always rotate the drain snake gently to avoid damaging the pipes.
5. Wet and Dry Vacuuming
If you have a wet and dry vacuum at home, put it to good use for clearing drains.
Seal the vacuum hose tightly over the drain, set the vacuum to liquids mode, and let it do its magic.
Wet and dry vacuums are versatile tools that can handle both wet and dry materials. When used for cleaning drains, the vacuum’s powerful suction can help pull out clogs or debris that might be causing the blockage. This method is particularly effective when dealing with hair, small objects, or other materials that can’t be easily reached with other tools.
6. Dish Detergent Magic
Sometimes, a bit of lubrication is all you need to clear drains.
Squeeze a generous amount of dish detergent down the drain, followed by hot water. The detergent effectively breaks down grease and fats, ensuring a smooth water flow. Dish detergents are designed to cut through grease and grime, which makes them surprisingly effective at breaking down clogs caused by built-up fats and oils.
When mixed with hot water, the detergent helps to emulsify the grease, allowing it to be washed away more easily. This method is particularly useful for kitchen sinks that often experience clogs due to food particles and cooking grease.
7. Salt and Hot Water Flush
Salt isn’t just for seasoning your food, it can also help tackle clogged drains.
Mix half a cup of salt with hot water and pour it down the drain. Allow it to sit for a few minutes before rinsing with hot water. This method effectively dissolves grease and mineral buildup.
Salt is a natural abrasive and can help to scrub away built-up residues on the walls of the pipes. When combined with hot water, it can create a powerful solution for breaking down clogs caused by grease and minerals. Additionally, the hot water helps to melt and flush away the debris that has been loosened by the salt.
8. Caustic Soda
For more stubborn clogs, caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) can be helpful, but it requires careful handling.
Wear protective gloves and goggles, then mix 3 cups of caustic soda with 3 litres of cold water. Stir thoroughly and pour it down the drain. Allow it to sit for 20-30 minutes before rinsing with cold water.
Caustic soda is a strong alkali that can break down organic materials, such as hair, grease, and soap scum. When it comes into contact with water, it generates heat, which can help to dissolve or soften tough clogs.
Caustic soda is corrosive and can cause chemical burns, so it’s important to follow safety precautions when using it.
9. Enzyme Cleaners
Enzyme-based drain cleaners offer a natural approach to tackling clogs. These products contain live enzymes that break down organic matter, including hair and soap scum – common culprits behind clogged drains.
Enzyme cleaners are an eco-friendly option for unclogging drains. Enzymes are naturally occurring proteins that act as catalysts to speed up chemical reactions. The live enzymes work by quickly targeting and breaking down the organic materials causing the clog. Because they are specifically formulated to target certain substances, enzyme cleaners are safe for your pipes and the environment.
You can find enzyme cleaners at local retailers like Bunnings; just be sure to follow the product instructions for best results.
10. Seek Professional Help
When all else fails or if you suspect a more complex issue, it’s wise to call in the professionals.
A trained plumber possesses the expertise, tools, and experience to diagnose and address intricate clogs without causing harm to your plumbing system. At Sydney Emergency Plumbing, our experts can provide a thorough assessment of your plumbing system and accurately diagnose the cause. If you’re looking to get your drain cleared, you can contact us on 1300 115 429.