Chemical concentrations, food product buildup and dirt accumulation are the most common causes of drain clogs in personal homes. At their worst, these clogs require professional cleaning, or perhaps repairs, which may not be possible given particular budgets or plumbing systems.
From the best-case situation, however, you might have the ability to remove these clogs with several DIY (do it yourself) procedures and resources, before picking up the phone and calling a plumbing professional. We have compiled a few of the most effective, DIY drain cleaning tips and tricks homeowners may use to mitigate the effects of clogs, and return their drain pipes to peak performance.
Top Drain Cleaning Tips and Tricks
Try Hot Water
Often overlooked because of its simplicity, occasionally a simple hot water cleansing could be all your dirty or clogged drains have to come back to peak performance. Flushing your drain pipes with warm water may often dislodge clogged accumulation and gunk build up, via a simple blend of water pressure, heat and force.
For the best results, try running hot water through your filthy or clogged drains for about 15 minutes. If all goes accordingly, the heat and force of the water will dislodge any buildups impacting your drain, and return you will have cleared your pipe with no added strain on your wallet. As this flush requires nothing other than a working faucet, it is the simplest potential drain cleaning methods you can do on your own without calling in the professionals.
Check Your Toolbelt
Additional straightforward techniques you may not have thought about for cleaning your drains can be carried out with tools you already have at your disposal. Before going out and purchasing DIY drain cleaning gear, or calling an expert plumber to provide you a quote, consider using these tools to perform easy, fast drain pipe repairs.
The Tried and True Plunger
The standard toilet plunger you already own may be the perfect answer for your clogged or badly performing drains. Even more successful for sink drains are specialized sink plungers, which contain optimized layouts perfect for sink applications.
Don’t shake the plunger down with excess force or speed. It is the continuous buildup of pressure from fluid motions that can remove significant pipe clogging.
Also, if the fixture in question is equipped with an overflow port (like those on most conventional sinks, which prevent overflows), make sure you cover these vents ahead; otherwise, all the atmosphere and pressure you force in the drain will probably escape, rendering your efforts moot.
One approach to get the best seal above a drain opening would be by applying petroleum jelly to the rim of the plunger; this jelly temporarily seals your plunger to the fixture, preventing an air from penetrating.
Try Homemade Cleaning Solutions
When the above techniques are impractical, or don’t work in your unique situation, you may want to try clearing your drains with homemade mixture solutions. Like commercial, chemical cleansers, these alternatives might break down and dislodge any drain pipe buildup impacting your plumbing nonetheless, unlike commercial cleansers, these alternatives do not have the risk of pipe damage or deterioration after prolonged use.
The most common of those at-home combinations is an easy vinegar and baking soda concoction This is great considering it is highly likely that you already have these ingredients in your house pantry. These two ingredients react when blended to break down loose materials within plumbing.Added bonus, they don’t have any consequences on the structure of the surrounding pipe walls.
Pour one cup of your homemade solutions down your drain pipes. After three to five minutes, pour boiling water down the same drain. If all goes well, this drain cleaning technique will get rid of any clogging on your drains, even for a fraction of the cost and the added health risks that come with commercial chemical cleansers.
Consider a Drain Snake
One tool you may not have considered yet, but should if clogged drains or gunk buildup are a common problem in your house, is a plumber’s drain snake. These instruments are what professional plumbers typically use to relieve standard clogs and excavate drain pipes. Best part,they are available at your local home improvement store for super cheap!Typically, they range anywhere from $5 to $25. Plus, they are not just for a single use. You could use the same drain snake over and over when you encounter problems.
While plumbing issues can be intimidating, using a snake really is as easy as pie. Here is how to get the best result:
- Start by feeding the snake through your drain pipes, turning the handle clockwise until you strike resistance.
- Rotate the snake against the friction, so the snake latches on the clogged materials.
- Pull the snake out of your drain slowly, removing the clogged substance. Then reassemble your drain cover if need be.
Snap your fingers, and just like that, you have defeated the clog in your drain without having to call a plumber.
Soda is not just for Drinking
Soft drinks and carbonated sodas, Pepsi, Coke and Tonic water, can resolve common drain clogs like the home-made remedies we talked about above.
Significantly safer than commercial drain cleaners, soda and the like can break through clogged debris because of the dissolving agents included in these liquids; most notably, phosphoric acid. These agents, surprisingly, might likewise be more effective than compound, commercial cleaners. It only goes to show, when it comes to effective drain cleaning, occasionally the unconventional solutions are the best ones on the market (and the cheapest).
Clogged Drain Prevention Tips
Like anything in life, the best way to solve a problem, is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Same applies to your pesky clogged drain. It is our recommendation to have your plumbing inspected once a year by a professional, however, there are still things you can do on your own accord to be more proactive. By taking proactive steps, you can limit these clogs completely, or capture them in their early stages before they become more severe and expensive issues.
Here are our top prevention tips:
- Avoid placing stringy, fibrous foods through your drains and garbage disposal.
- Don’t put kitchen grease or animal bones down the kitchen sink.
- Don’t flush feminine products down the toilet.
- Try to prevent hair from going down the shower drain when possible (we know it is tough ladies).
- Regularly let hot water run through the pipes to wash away any debris.
- Avoid bathing your pets indoors – bathe them outdoors (weather permitting, of course).
- Don’t flush wipe!!! Even if they claim to be flushable.
- Don’t flush cat litter, even the flushable kind.
- Use mesh screens over your drains to prevent debris from making its way into the pipe.
By taking advantage of those simple drain cleaning tips and tricks, and performing routine checks to limit clog developments, it is possible to greatly enhance your home’s plumbing performance.