How Do I Clear a Clogged Drain?
TechXpert verified by Rob Ilie
You can use a selection of tools to clear a clogged drain. No need to let a clogged drain can stop up your day: If you’re dealing with a simple clog, you've got some tool-based solutions to try out. Serious clogs can call for professional drain snaking or hydro jetting.
Getting Started: Where Are You Clogged Up?
A clogged drain can happen in a number of places. Depending on where the clog is located in your home, there are different causes that call for different solutions.
The first step to clear a clogged drain is to figure out what caused it. Based on the location of the clog, you might be able to uncover what’s to blame.
Kitchen Sink Drain Clogs
Clogged kitchen sinks are never fun. They’re often caused by food particles, grease, oils, and other items that you might have put down your drain or garbage disposal.
Bathroom Sink Drain Clogs
On the other hand, bathroom sink clogs are often the result of items like hair or soap scum building up in your drain.
Tub or Shower Drain Clogs
The stuff that typically goes down a tub or shower drain can collect and build over time. Sometimes it can be a gnarly combination of soap scum, hair, and dirt or grime that form the clog.
All of these different types of drain clogs are common and often treatable with the same solutions.
Tools To Do the Trick
A few tools can help you clear a clogged drain. Get ready to put one (or more) of these to work:
Home Remedies for a Clogged Drain
There are a couple of different ways that you can tackle your clogged drain. Here are some unclogging procedures to get your drain flowing smoothly again.
With a plunger:
First, remove any drain covering or stopper that might be in your drain opening. Fill the sink, tub, or shower partially with water, then place the plunger over the drain opening. Make sure that the plunger lip is completely covering the drain opening with a tight seal. Plunge up and down vigorously for about 20 seconds. It may help to follow this procedure by pouring one of the mixture-based solutions described below down the drain as well.
With a drain snake, cable auger, or straightened-out wire hanger:
First, remove any drain covering or stopper that might be in your drain opening. Wearing gloves to keep things clean, slowly insert the drain snake or cable auger into the drain, about two to three feet deep.
If you feel the snake reach a blockage, turn it to hook the source of the clog. Pull the snake back out of the drain.
When to Hand It Off to a Pro
If you’ve tried all of these home remedies to no avail, there might be a larger issue at play in your plumbing system. Time to bring in the big guns! Contact your local plumber to get your clogged drain fixed. They’ll come in and assess the clogged drain, locate the source, and discuss the best way to clear it.
Keeping Away the Clogs
Now that this clog is behind you, let’s make sure it doesn’t happen again any time soon. There are a couple of ways to prevent your drains from clogging on a regular basis.
Tips and Tricks to Avoid Clogged Drains
Here are some simple steps to prevent drain problems down the road:
Throw away or compost any leftover food particles rather than putting them down your kitchen sink drain.
Don’t pour grease or oils down your drain.
Collect any hair in your tub or shower after each use, so it doesn't run down the drain and build up over time.
Remove any soap scum leftover after each bath or shower so it doesn't collect in the drain.
Building in some regular drain maintenance to your cleaning routine will help limit nasty clogs. The more frequent the preventative measures, the less frequent the drain problems!
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