When your kitchen or bathroom drain is clogged, the first reaction is to panic and call the plumber. Plumbers can charge anywhere between $50 and $300 for this simple job. There really is no need for you to do so. Since the possibility of your drain getting horribly clogged is surely going to arise one day, it helps to know these quick and easy ways to unclog your system:
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1. Use a plunger
A plunger is the easiest way to unclog a kitchen drain, bathroom sink or even a toilet. It creates a vacuum and lifts up the debris in the pipe to make way for the water to go down. Always keep a plunger handy in your tool kit as you never know when you are going to need one. Here are the steps to using a plunger:
- Protect your floor/countertops surrounding the clogged sink/toilet with newspapers or old cloth.
- If possible, remove the excess water from the sink. On the other hand, for a toilet, make sure there is at least adequate water for the plunger to suck upwards. If there isn’t adequate water, you might have to add some with a bucket.
- Switch off the main water supply of the flush in case you are unclogging a toilet.
- Press down the plunger and push downwards and upwards several times. You should hear a sucking sound.
- The water should start receding. Repeat the action until all of the water is cleared. If the water does not recede, use the other easy ways to unclog drains given below.
2. Hot water and dish soap
Hot water and dish soap can easily dislodge oily grime and clear the pipes of a kitchen’s or a bathroom’s sink. Simply add a bit of soap and pour down hot water in the clogged sink. Wait for half an hour then use a plunger to flush the system.
3. Use chemical drain cleaners
Always use chemical drain cleaners as a last resort because many of them produce harmful by-products which can be dangerous to metals used in the sink. Chemical cleaners are readily available in grocery stores and drug stores. You need to simply pour the chemicals down the drain with some hot water and wait for 30 minutes before flushing the system. This method is very useful for kitchen and bathroom clogs consisting of food, grease, hair, soap and toothpaste. Here are some tips when using chemical drain cleaners:
- Buy a product that is safe and won’t harm your porcelain/metal sinks.
- Follow the instructions given on the product label.
- Make sure the room has adequate ventilation.
- Minimize contact of the chemical with your skin.
4. Use biological drain products
Biological drain cleaners may not be as effective as mechanical and chemical cleaners but, when used regularly, can safely keep your drains free of organic materials. Use these from time to time to ensure that your drains remain clog free. Biological cleaners also keep away cockroaches and other kitchen pests. Another advantage of using biological products to unclog drains is that they will keep the septic system and eventually our waterways free of chemicals.
5. Plastic/metal strips
In bathrooms, hair is usually the reason for clogged drains. Products like Zip-It® consist of hooks that pull out such hairy dirt and debris and easily clear away the clog.
6. Vinegar and baking soda
Vinegar and baking soda are a fantastic way of clearing clogged kitchen sinks. Simply remove excess water and debris from the clogged area. Pour a cup of fresh baking soda and ½ cup of vinegar. The bubbling action of the mixture will push down the debris. Leave the mixture to react for 30 minutes. Follow up with a flush of hot water. This is usually a helpful method for removing simple clogs and chokes.
7. Manual method-Plumber’s snake
This is an easy albeit a messy way to unclog drains and toilets when the clog is just at the neck of the drain. You must wear gloves to use this method. Buy an auger or bend an old metallic clothes hanger and try to reach the clog. You can also buy a plumber’s snake which is readily available in the market. Twist the auger/hanger/snake and insert one end into the pipe. Twist and push the snake through the clog until the water starts receding.
8. Preventing clogs
There are many easy ways for preventing clogs in drains in kitchens and bathrooms:
- Avoid pouring grease down the sinks
- When you use kitchen garbage disposal, make sure you use plenty of water to flush down the food bits.
- Never throw coffee grounds in the sink.
- Once a week, pour some hot water or vinegar and baking soda mixture to cut the grease.
- In bathrooms, clean the hair from pop up stoppers. Avoid flushing sanitary pads, condoms or heavy papers in the toilets as they can cause massive clogs.
- Avoid pouring paint, waxes or other chemical waste down the drains.
- Use non caustic cleaners every few months to keep the drain systems working.
- If you have a septic tank, have it professionally cleaned at least once a year.
Clogged sinks and drains are a headache every homeowner has to face once in a while. Thankfully, most cases are easy enough to clear on your own and an average homeowner should not have to face too much of a hassle to do so. We hope that the above easy ways to unclog drains quickly help you.