After washing your face, you pull the plug in the bathroom sink. But instead of draining out, the water just stares back at you from the bottom of the bowl. Or, after washing dishes, you reach into your kitchen sink to take out the stopper, and surprise! That water isn't going anywhere. A clogged drain is annoying at the very least. But calling in a plumber for a clogged drain can be costly. So why not try a few methods to unclog your drain yourself before calling in a professional?
DIY Ways to Unclog a Drain
Baking Soda and Vinegar
Combine 1/3 cup baking soda with the same amount of white vinegar. Pour this fizzing mixture into the clogged drain and let it sit overnight. The next day, pour hot water down the drain and check to see if the clog has vanished. This fizzy creation has the ability to cut through hair, grease, food, and other minor clogs.
Put a pot of water on the stove and turn up the heat until it reaches a rolling boil. While the water is heating up, use an old cup to remove as much standing water as you can from the sink. Then, pour the boiling water into the sink and wait a few minutes. In many cases, boiling water is strong enough to remove food, grease, hair, or other mild clogs.
A Wire Hanger
Straighten a wire hanger and use it to fish hair, ripped-up tissues, or other debris out of your drain. Be sure to push the hanger as far as it will go into the pipe beneath your sink. You'll be surprised at the gunk that will emerge from the drain when you pull out the hanger. Yuck! I suggest this method only for those of you with a strong stomach.
A Drain Snake
A drain snake is a plumbing tool that consists of a long, bendable wire sent down into a drain to travel the pipe below. The typical drain snake has a crank you use to feed the wire into the drain. It has a spring on the end of it to catch debris and bring it up out of the pipe. I suggest getting a drain snake with a non-slip handle so it's easier to turn the crank.
Try the old-fashioned route and work on a clogged drain with a plunger. Use a plunger with a straight handle and a plain rubber cup at the end for sink clogs. This sort of plunger covers the drain completely, allowing you to create a pressurized environment to move the debris.
Clean the P Trap
The next option is to clean the P trap of your sink. First, put a bucket underneath the P trap to catch the water inside it. Next, use a wrench to loosen the nuts on either side of the P trap, then unscrew them by hand. The P trap will slide off, allowing you to clean it. Finally, reattach it firmly to the pipe.
Salt and Baking Soda
Put a half-cup of baking soda and a half-cup of salt down the clogged drain. After letting it sit for 20 minutes, pour boiling water down the drain. The combination of these three materials can dissolve a mild clog.
A Wet/Dry Vacuum
Get out your wet/dry vacuum and switch its setting to wet. Place the end into your clogged drain and seal the area around the hose the best you can to get the most suction. Sometimes, this can loosen and remove a clog, especially if it's near the top of the pipe.
Questions to Think About Before Calling a Professional Plumber
- Is there a growing mess connected with the clog? If so, it's best to involve a plumber right away to reduce the damage being done to your home.
- Is every drain in your home affected? If so, there is probably a block in the main drainage line. A plumber is necessary to address this issue.
- Do you need access to the clogged sink or tub right away? If not, then it's OK to let the clog remain until you have time to try to fix it with a homemade method.
Give yourself the chance to experience the pride of unclogging a drain in your home! Many clogs are minor and just need a bit of a push to get the water flowing freely again. Thanks for reading. - Alan