While blocked drains can be a source of frustration for homeowners, it is inevitable that you will have to deal with a blocked drain or two at some point. This makes it important that you have strategies for steps that you can take to clear a blocked drain before the problem escalates.
While you may be able to remove some blockages on your own, it is important that you know how to do so safely so that you do not damage your sink, tub, or plumbing in the process of clearing a blocked drain. To help you clear your next blocked drain safely, here are a few simple remedies that you can use to clear a minor blocked drain completely.
Clear a Blocked Drain With Boiling Water
If your sink seems to be draining slower than normal and you suspect a mild block, you may be able to clear it with boiling water before you sink becomes completely clogged. Pouring boiling water down a sink is a tried and true method for clearing a block, as boiling water can dissolve organic matter that may be blocking your drain. However, it is important that you use boiling water, as simply using hot water isn’t enough to clear a block.
It is important that you do not use this method to clear a blocked drain if you have PVC pipes, as the heat could cause their joints to loosen. Additionally, you should never pour boiling water directly onto a porcelain sink, as this could cause the bowl to crack. If possible, pour boiling water directly down the drain. Boiling the water in a kettle on the stove can make it easier to direct the water as you pour it down the sink.
Use a Natural Solution to Clear a Block
Of course, boiling water may not always be enough to remove a stubborn clog. Your next step at this point would be to try to use a natural solution to clear the block such as using vinegar and baking soda. To do this, you will need to pour half a small box of baking soda down the drain without adding any water. Next, pour half a cup of vinegar down the drain and stop up the drain with a metal stopper. Vinegar and baking soda create a strong reaction that you may remember from volcano experiments in school, and the combination of these two ingredients can help break up a block in your drain. After waiting 30 minutes, follow up the vinegar and baking soda with boiling water, unless you have PVC pipes. It is best to use these natural solutions when possible, as chemical drain cleaners available in the store can actually cause damage to your plumbing.
You May Need to Use a Plunger
If your drain is severely blocked, you may find that no liquid can flow through at all. In this case, it may be time to use a plunger to try to clear the blocked drain. Before you start, however, it is important that you make sure you are using the right type of plunger, as flanged plungers are meant for toilets, not sink and shower drains. You will want a cup-shaped plunger in order to clear a blocked drain. Once you have the right plunger, remove any metal strainers or stoppers from the drain. Next, make sure that there is a few inches of water in the sink, then place the plunger over the drain and make sure it creates a firm seal. You will then want to use sharp, fast plunges to remove the clog, checking periodically to see if the sink is draining.
Unfortunately, not all blocked drains are easy to fix, and if none of the above methods work it is likely time to consider consulting a professional. A plumber will have the right tools to inspect your plumbing and clear it of any clogs that have formed. Contact us to learn more about what you should do when you encounter a blocked drain in your home.