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DIY Tips for Clearing A Blocked Drain

DIY Tips for Clearing A Blocked Drain

How embarrassing would it be to have a sink issue when you have guests over? Well, it's sad, but we've all been there. Nobody likes to see dirty water flowing back into the sink.

While it may look like it, this problem does not arise in a day. If you are vigilant enough, you can detect the early signs of a blocked drain and take the necessary steps to deal with it.

Today, we bring this guide to help you with some of the best DIY methods that you can use to combat drain blockage. So, without any further delay, let's get started.

How Do You Know You Have a Blocked Drain?

Blocked drains are a nuisance to property and can have detrimental health impacts on your family. To fix the problem efficiently, you must identify it on time. Only when you know that the drains are under a potential threat do you have the chance to fix them.

The primary problem you will encounter is that everything will start passing slowly through the drain. When you take a bath, you might see water pooling around a drain and water taking longer than usual to empty. If you do not fix it on time, the chances are that it will just keep getting worse. You will also hear gurgling noises around the drain as the water tries to push past the blockage.

But, the worst thing is the foul smell that follows. And until you fix that, you can forget having your friends over for dinner!

What Causes A Blocked Drain?

Blocked Drain Example

If you have to fix a problem, you often have to go to the root of the cause, and this case is no different.

A common issue that we often see is tree roots infiltrating your drains. Their uncontrolled growth often blocks nearby drains, and if not monitored, can cause harm to your sewage system too. The roots grow very fast and break the pipes, which causes blockage.

Additionally, never flush down items such as diapers, baby wipes, and sanitary napkins. This is an absolute no-go, and unless you want to deal with a drain blockage, never do it.

You should stay vigilant in the kitchen too. Cooking oil is known to cause a blockage if thrown directly into the sink. Due to its high viscosity, it cannot flow freely. The problem is that it gets stuck to food chunks, making it easy for a blockage to occur.

The other thing that you should take care of is mineral buildups. Calcium is the most common chemical that gets stuck in the drains. This can lead to significant blockages. You also need to be careful with the maintenance of your pets. For example, if directly thrown into the water, cat litter enlarges and leads to significant blockage. 

Lastly, your hair is another culprit. When you take a shower every day, hundreds of stands get stuck in the drains. And soon, these stands come in contact with other substances such as soaps and shampoos, leading to major drain blockages.

How To Unblock?

Let's take a look at some of the best DIY ways to cure a blocked drain.

Unblocking Kitchen Sink Drain With Plunger

Hot Water For Flushing

Before you bring the big guns out, you should start with the easy methods. Boiling hot water is a handy way to deal with the problem. Honestly, it is not a guaranteed technique, and you might still be left with a blockage after conducting this experiment. We have seen that it works perfectly for minor clogging but is not efficient for major ones.

When you do this, we suggest that you take more prior precautions. Boiling hot water can easily melt PVC pipes. So, unless you are implementing this method on metal pipes, it is not a good idea.

Try The Drain Cleaners

A little search on local supermarket racks will find you some good quality drain cleaners. But before you decide on which one to get, make sure that you read the label well. Some formulas are designed specifically for particular kinds of blockages and cannot be used universally. If you listen to the plumbers, this is actually the last solution that you should opt for.

However, if it's a small blockage, you can even make your own drain cleaner. After all, we are reviewing the best DIY methods! All you need to do is get your hands on some baking soda, hot water, and vinegar. Make a solution and apply it. This method is eco-friendly, simple, and hardly takes much effort.

Once you apply it, you will hear a fizzling sound and see bubbles starting to form. Wait till the bubbles subside, and then pour two more cups of hot water into the drain. Keep repeating the process until the drain gets cleared.

Make Use Of A Plunger

This is a tried and tested method to clear out blocked drains. You can make use of two kinds of plungers: one is the cup plunger, and the other is the toilet plunger.

If you face a blockage in your shower, baths, or any flat surface, it is best to go with a cup plunger. It has a rubber suction cup at the end of the rod and is quite broad. This way, you can make use of the suction mechanism to clear the drain holes. The moment you pull the plunger, the suction helps you draw out all that is stuck in the drain.

The other plunger that you can use is the toilet plunger. You will get two variants in this: the ball and the bellow plunger. Both types have a long handle and a rubber base that fits the shape of the toilet bowl. The best way to use this is to apply some upward and downward strokes and flush the toilet.

When the water clears out, you will see that the toilet is unclogged.

Inspect The P-Trap

If you do not know what a P-trap is, let us explain it to you. When handling sink blockages, primarily the issue lies in the pipes located underneath. The 'P' shaped part of the drain pipes located under the sink is called the P trap. Because of its perpendicular shape, blockages are quite a frequent phenomenon as food particles easily get stuck there.

The easiest way to clean it is to unscrew it and give it a proper wash. Also, make sure that you keep a bucket underneath the cupboard to catch the extra water when clearing it out.

Use A Drain Snake

Don't get worried by the name. It is nothing deadly, but sure can be very effective!

You can find a good drain snake at any local hardware store without any problem. This is ideal for clearing out sink blockages. The first thing you need to do is take the drain protector away and take out as much as possible into the sinkhole with your hands. Make sure you are wearing disposable gloves to avoid any infection. Once you clear that out, slowly insert the drain snake until it hits a blockage.

Fair warning, you will have to carry out this task with patience. Slowly you will be able to bring out all the clogs and debris. Keep repeating the process until the drain gets clear. However, keep in mind that it is mostly suitable for light blockages. Do not force the drain pipes too much as they can lead to unwanted pipe damage.

Also, keep in mind that proper hygiene is essential. Unless you handle the waste well, you can even contract diseases. Keep some polythene bags handy to dispose of the waste. Once you clear the clogs, make sure to remove the trash out of the house as soon as possible. These will help you get rid of the foul odor faster.

Unblocking Your Drain At Home

That's all we have for you today, friends!

Now that you have gone through our brief guide on clearing blockages using DIY skills, we hope you can do it better. Cleaning blockages is no rocket science. But keep in mind that these DIY methods only work for minor blockages.

When the situation is critical, you must contact a professional plumber. After all, only an expert knows how to get to the root cause and get rid of the problem once and for all.

With that, it's a wrap. Make sure you let us know about your favourite method in the comments section below. And until next time, stay safe!