“I need a plumber!” is often the first response to plumbing issues. We would agree! In most cases, you need a plumber to resolve serious problems. But, there are a few DIY fixes you can try for minor issues like a clogged drain. In this article, we’ll discuss which safe and easy drain cleaning solutions you can try at home.
Know Your Clog
Not all clogs are the same. A slow-draining shower may require a different solution to a clogged kitchen sink. It all depends on what kind of waste is going down the drain, and where those drain pipes run off.
If, after trying some of these simple solutions, your drain is still clogged, call your plumber. The problem may be more serious – like roots or debris entering a broken pipe, or a backed-up sewerage line.
Most people turn to chemical drain cleaners for clogged drains. But they’re no good for the environment, and can damage your pipes over time.
Many of these products require protective gear. They can cause chemical burns on both the skin and in the airways, if inhaled. They may also react with porcelain, stainless steel, and aluminum – ruining your bathroom fittings.
We’d recommend trying some of the ‘natural remedies’ below instead of a chemical cleaner.
The first, and simplest, solution is hot water. Many clogs are created by a build-up of soap, fat, and food waste (especially in kitchen and bathroom sinks). Boiling hot water can dissolve some of the stubborn debris clinging to your pipes. Boil a full kettle of water, and then pour it incrementally – allowing a short rest period between each pour.
Another easy solution is baking soda and vinegar. You can simply pour the baking soda directly down and around the drain, and follow with a good dose of vinegar to wash it down. Again, follow with hot water to flush it through. This is also a good solution for smelly drains – particularly in the kitchen.
We also sell our own eco-friendly drain cleaner, Bio-Clean, which contains enzymes and bacteria that break up the organic waste clogging your drain. It’s safer, greener, and better for your plumbing than a chemical cleaner.
Plungers and Augers
Then there’s the good old-fashioned plunger. Your traditional ‘cup’ plunger – the type most people have at home – needs to sit flat around the drain in order to create suction. This is usually better for bath and shower drains, especially if they have standing water that drains slowly.
Many websites will advocate purchasing an auger, or plumbing snake. While there are some smaller models available for home use, we do not recommend this as a DIY option. More often than not, home-owners end up damaging their plumbing with an auger – then you really do need a plumber to fix an even bigger problem than a clogged drain.
Prevention is better than cure. Avoid flushing food waste down your drain, even if you have a garbage disposal. Try to collect hair from the bath and shower, and don’t flush larger items down the toilet (like condoms and sanitary products). See our full list of drain-clogging culprits for more information. We also offer a Preventative Maintenance Program, ensuring regular maintenance visits to alleviate plumbing issues before they become disasters.
For Immediate Emergency Assistance Call 1-800-475-1504