How to Unclog Your Drain
Not all clogs are equal. Discover how to clear out even the most stubborn clogs in your drains.
It’s happened to us all - whether in the kitchen or bathroom - clogs in our drains are a common plumbing problem. A clogged drain can be an inconvenience for your daily routine at home - you rely on your sink for everything from washing your hands and brushing your teeth to clearing food waste from your dishes. And don’t even mention when it happens with guests over! Instead of trying to wait around for that slow draining sink, shower, or tub to unclog itself, take these actions yourself. If that doesn’t work, feel free to call us and we’ll send a technician over in a hurry. We’ve outlined a few simple ways you can unclog your drain and clear up your pipes.
Pro tip: Make sure you have a good pair of disposable gloves for handling whatever may lie beneath.
Shower & Tub Drain
How you remove the stopper will vary depending on your shower or tub drain. Some are easy to screw off and others require a screwdriver. If you don’t feel comfortable removing it yourself or have any questions, one of our licensed plumbers would be happy to answer any questions you have or do it for you.
If you have a plumber’s snake, now is the time to use it. Feed the cable into the drain until it hits the blockage. Turn the handle clockwise to catch the clog and pull it out. If you don’t have a snake, a bent wire or hanger will work as well. Create a bend in the wire to hook onto the obstruction.
A plunger also works well for clearing out your shower clog. Fill the shower with water until the rubber of the plunger is submerged. Then pull up and down on the plunger without breaking the seal. This should loosen the blockage from your pipes to clear your drain. Just make sure you aren’t using the same plunger you use for your toilet - yuck.
- The Baking Soda Method
An old tried and true solution, ⅓ cup of baking soda and ⅓ cup of vinegar create a natural mixture to remove hair and grime effectively from your sink. Let the solution sit for an hour, and then flush it down with hot water.
Out of vinegar? ½ cup of table salt with ½ cup of baking soda can work just as effectively. Pour it down the drain followed by boiling hot water 15 minutes later to create an aggressive, homemade compound to clear tough build-up.
Check out this other post for more natural solutions to unclog your bathroom sink.
- Tougher Clogs
Sometimes it takes more than pouring a solution down the drain. When natural or chemical mixtures don’t work, snaking the drain is the best DIY option left.
Underneath the sink, you will find the spring clip to release the stopper from the sink. Once you’ve removed the stopper, use a plumber’s snake or bent wire hanger to pull out any hair or other obstruction from your pipe. This may take some time depending on how bad the blockage is.
Kitchen Sink & Garbage Disposal
The kitchen sink may be one of the easiest drains to get clogged in your home. They collect all the food waste that doesn’t make it into the trash can or down the disposal. Clogs can happen a number of ways from food or grease build-up. While you should never pour grease or fat down the sink, we know that sometimes it can be unavoidable (like when your bacon is perfectly sizzled and you have nowhere to put the grease quickly - oops!). When you’re done cooking, drain the grease into a container to recycle or to throw away. The build-up from leftover food particles or oil can, unfortunately, cause a significant blockage in your pipes. Afterwards, you can follow these simple prevention tips for how to clean and maintain your garbage disposal.
Before you pour harmful chemicals down the drain to try to clear it out, try the natural solution. For this fix, you’ll need a bucket, a wrench or pliers, some rags or towels, and a cleaning brush. First, you’ll place your bucket below the P-trap. Then turn off your water supply or the main shut-off valve. After shutting off the water, you will need to get under the sink and unscrew the slip joint nuts on both sides of the trap. You may be able to twist these off by hand, but you’ll probably want to use the pliers or wrench here. Once you’ve opened the trap, clean out and remove any blockage. Put the slip nuts back on and tighten with the pliers. Be careful not to over tighten!
If you continue to have problems with your sink, then you may have a garbage disposal issue. You’ll want to contact a licensed plumber to repair your disposal.
If you aren’t able to clear out stubborn drain blockage or have additional questions, contact one of our expert plumbers today - we’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Hiller Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, & Electrical provides residential and commercial service and repair throughout Tennessee, Southern Kentucky, and Northern Alabama. With our mantra, “Happy You’ll Be or the Service is Free!” we are dedicated to resolving any issue with our services. If you have a plumbing, heating, cooling or electrical emergency, Hiller is available for 24/7, same-day service.