How to Unclog a Drain

You cannot live with a blocked drain in your home. Nobody wants to be standing around in dirty water while trying to enjoy a nice shower; no one wants to be unable to drain their sink properly. A clogged drain needs to be dealt with as soon as possible.

We have put together a list of nine ways that you can unclog a drain so that you do not have to worry about it ever again. Having a variety of options allows you to find one that works for you, and if one does not work, you can try another!

Hot Water

This may seem like a simple solution, but you should try it before trying any other method. The hot water is good at dissolving any dirt and grime that may have built up into a clog, plus you do not have to spend any money!

  • Start to boil your water using either your kettle or the stove.

  • Make sure you have a couple of quarts of water to pour down into your sink.

  • If it does not drain after a few minutes, this means that the clog is still there. Try repeating the process a few times.

  • If there is still no change after a few tries, you will need to try a different method.

Coat Hanger

  • Make sure that your coat hanger is as long as it can be by straightening it out fully.

  • Bend one of the ends of the coat hanger into a hook-like shape.

  • Put the coat hanger down the drain and move it around until you feel the blockage.

  • Wiggle the coat hanger around the blockage, trying to hook it onto the small hook you made.

  • Once you have successfully pulled the blockage out, run your hot tap down the drain to clear it out.

This method is the best for blockages that are near to the surface. Using a flashlight can help you locate the clog before using the coat hanger. If this method does not work, and your water still does not drain properly, this could indicate that there is another clog that is deeper. If this is the case, you may need to use a plumber’s snake to unclog.

Plumber’s Snake

Longer than a straightened-out coat hanger, a plumber’s snake/drain snakes are used when trying to reach deeper blockages. Here is a guide on how to use them:

  • Put the snake down your drain.

  • Move the snake around until the grips hook onto any clogs.

  • Pull the snake back out and put the clog into the bin.

  • Make sure to clean both your drain and the snake.

Snakes work really well when dealing with hair that is clogging your drains. If you are having problems with your shower not draining, or draining slowly, using a drain snake is the best fix.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

This is a quick and eco-friendly way to try and resolve any clogs in your sink!

  • Fill a pot full of boiling water and pour it down the drain to loosen any blockages, dirt, and grime buildup.

  • Pour a cupful of baking soda into the drain and leave to sit for around 10 minutes.

  • After the 10 minutes are up, pour a cup of distilled white vinegar into the drain. Do not worry if it starts to fizz; this is just the vinegar reacting to the baking soda.

  • Wait another 10 minutes.

  • Fill another potful of boiling water and pour that down the drain too.

  • Run the hot water for a few minutes to make sure all residue has been cleaned and the blockage has been removed.

Expert Advice

It is advised that you do this every couple of days to prevent any other problems. We can vouch for this as we clean our sinks with this method, and it works well.

Wet Vacuum

If you have a vacuum that can work with liquid, why not try unclogging your drain with it?

  • Make sure your vacuum is set to deal with liquids.

  • Position your vacuum over the drain and make sure you have created an air-tight seal.

  • Turn your vacuum on to the highest setting to ensure maximum force is being used.

  • If the clog has been sucked up, throw it away and run the hot water to ensure the sink is correctly draining.

Plunge It

If you are dealing with a particularly stubborn blockage, you may need to use a plunger.

  • If you have a dual sink, you will need to seal off the sink drain that is unclogged with a drain stopper or a damp cloth.

  • Make sure you have made a tight seal around the drain with your plunger.

  • Fill the clogged sink with enough water so that the plunger bell is submerged.

  • Plunge a few times forcefully. If the plunger removes the clog, you will hear it.

  • Once the clog has been removed from the drain, you can remove the plunger.

  • Drain the excess water in the sink, and then rinse with warm water.

Clean P-Trap

Clogs that are not lingering near the surface are more likely to be deeper in the drain, particularly in the p-trap curve of your pipes.

  • Make sure you have a bucket underneath your drain for any excess water or debris to fall into.

  • Find the p-trap and unscrew it from the pipe.

  • Find any clogs and dispose of them. Rinse the surrounding area thoroughly.

  • Screw the p-trap back on, making sure it is secure.

  • Run warm water down the drain to make sure everything is working.

Commercial Drain Cleaner

If none of these methods does the trick, you may need to invest in some commercial drain cleaner. This does a good job of deep cleaning your drain and can clear the most stubborn of blockages. Popular brands include Drano and Green Gobbler. Before you follow our directions, you should read the instructions that come with the product you choose. Generally, our tips should apply to most products:

  • Pour your selected product directly into the drain.

  • Check the packaging for the recommended wait time. This ranges from a few minutes to a full 24 hours.

  • Rinse the drain with hot water afterwards.

Contact a Plumber

If you have tried a few of our methods plus the drain cleaner and nothing is working, you may need to consult a professional. Call in a plumber if you are in doubt, especially when the clog is large and severe.

Tips for Preventing Clogged Drains

Trying to unclog a drain can be stressful and annoying. We have put together a few tips that should help you be able to prevent any undue stress:

  • When showering, use a drain cover. If you have long hair, these covers will trap the hair and make it easy to dispose of them in the bin. This prevents any large hair clogs.

  • Using the combination of baking soda and vinegar every couple of days is a great way to ensure clean drains. This method is good for targeting clogs that are just beginning to form and eradicating them quickly.

  • Rather than pouring any grease/oil directly down the drain, pour it into a separate container – grease can stick to your pipes and build up.

  • Avoid putting food into your drain. Put your food into your garbage disposal or a compost/food waste bin.

  • Pouring boiling water down your drain every week helps to flush out the pipes. It also helps to dissolve any small buildups that are just forming.

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