DIY Drain Cleaning

Allan Ostenfeld
Jun 29 · 3 min read

I’m sure everyone has gone through this: You turn on the water in your sink, shower, or tub and instead of flowing down the drain, it begins to back up. After seeing the countless commercials liquid drain cleaners on a daily basis, your first reaction is to reach that bottle of thick blue liquid with some outworldly sounding chemicals into the drain and that should do the job.

Sadly, that’s not the case about drain cleaners. The bad news is that companies who make drain cleaners won’t tell you that these chemicals are damaging to your pipes. No matter if the bottle claims to be “Safe on pipes”. It should be evident enough that there’s a warning on the back of the bottle to call your local poison control center if the stuff so much as touches your skin.

If you insist on trying a liquid-based solution to clear up minor clogs, choose an all-natural enzymatic product. These products use natural enzymes to break up organic material and bacteria clogging your pipes, but they won’t break down particularly tough clogs. These products are better used for monthly drain maintenance rather than clearing up clogs, but we have simpler ( and less expensive) DIY solutions that you can try before purchasing a pricey expense.

DIY Drain Maintenance

If your drains are just a little slow or you want to clean out your drains each month to ensure gunk doesn’t build up along pipe walls, there are two easy, cost-efficient solutions that could work:

  1. Hot Water: Pour a large pot of very hot (but not boiling) water down the drain you’re having issues with or want to clean. Follow it up with some cool water to flush out the clogs you just melted away.
  2. Baking Soda and Vinegar: Pour half a cup of baking soda down your drain and chase it with half a cup of vinegar. Plug the sink and let it sit overnight. Flush the drains with hot water in the morning they’ll work like they’re brand new. Do this once a month

Tools for Tough Clogs

If you end up with a clogged drain and want to try to clear it yourself before calling in the experts, put down the bottle of drain cleaner and instead keep an auger or a drain snake as well as a cup plunger on hand

  • Snake or auger: A plumber’s snake or auger is a physical tool used to break up clogs in pipes. There are different types, but the general idea is that you feed the snake’s thick wire or cable through the drain pipe and turn a handle that keeps the snake spinning inside the pipe. Once the auger hooks onto the clog, you can pull it out and discard the mess.
  • Cup Plunger: Cup plungers work best on small clogs. Before trying to plunge a sink drain, pull out the stopper in your sink and make sure it’s not the cause of the clog. If cleaning this doesn’t restore flow, block the overflow opening to seal the drain and create the proper suction needed to plunge. Place the plunger fully over the drain and run a small amount of water in the sink, then begin plunging up and down. You’ll be able to feel when the clog loosens as the plunger will become easier to plunge.

Avoid Drain Clogs: What Not to Put Down the Drain

Of course, the best way to avoid a clogged drain is to use it properly in the first place. Here’s a list of most common things homeowners put down the drain that can cause major problems over time:

  • Grease, fats or oil
  • Eggshells
  • Pasta, rice, and potatoes
  • Bones
  • Stringy or fibrous foods
  • Coffee grounds
  • Feminine products
  • Tissues and paper towels
  • “Flushable” wipes
  • Hair

When all else fails, call the experts to clear the drains for you. SPS Plumbing services are a reliable and experienced plumbing company in all around Sydney.

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