Clogged drains seem to strike at the most inopportune moments. If your sink is clogged, the most likely culprit is grease from food scraps causing a blockage, while the number one offender in bathtubs is hair. A slowly draining sink or bathtub may also be a sign of a clog forming, which you may want to take care of before it becomes a full-on nightmare. Here are several do-it-yourself tricks to try before you call a plumber to fix your drain.
Use a plunger
While many people reach for the plunger when their toilet is clogged, a plunger can come just in handy when you’re facing a blocked sink or bathtub. This remedy works best if there’s already standing water in the basin because you will need some water to help create a vacuum in your drain. You’ll also want to cover the overflow valve with a damp rag before you start plunging. This helps you to avoid making a mess from backed up water being forced up and out of the valve. Rapidly begin to plunge, completely covering the drain with the plunger. If the clog is forced out, the standing water will begin to drain from around the plunger.
Try a wet/dry vacuum
Sometimes, it may be useful to use a specialty wet/dry vacuum to help remove a clog. Wet/dry vacuums are particularly useful in situations where there is a lot of standing water because they can quickly drain the tub and help you get to the source of the problem. You may even find success sucking out debris from the drain using your vacuum, however, it’s important to never use a vacuum’s reverse function to try and blast a clog from a drain. Doing so can seriously damage your plumbing, which is much costlier than getting a professional drain cleaning.
Make a mixture of vinegar and baking soda
Rather than use harsh chemical solutions which can be bad for your pipes, try making a homemade cleaner out of vinegar and baking soda. Just like the famous volcano projects you may have seen at your elementary school science fair, the combination of baking soda and vinegar will create a fizzy reaction to help remove the clog. The easiest way to execute this DIY fix is to combine ½ cup of baking soda with ½ cup of water to dump into your drain. Next, add some white and distilled vinegar and quickly cover the drain. The reaction will work its magic for several minutes and hopefully leave you with a clear drain.
Fill the drain with dish soap
Since grease is one of the primary contributors to clogged drains, it’s useful to have a fix aimed at cutting down oily blockages. One way you can fight a greasy drain is by filling the drain with a cup of dish soap. Let the dish soap sit in the drain for more than an hour to let it cut through the debris in your drain. When the hour is up, flush the drain with almost-boiling water, which should remove the blockage.
Know when it’s time to call the pros
While these do-it-yourself fixes have a good success rate, some clogs are best left to a professional plumber. A professional drain cleaning from a reputable plumber can restore your pipes and sewage lines to working order more completely than these DIY fixes, too. Plumbers have specialized tools that allow them to quickly get to the root of the problem, making them well worth the money spent.
While there are many ways to tackle a blocked drain, it’s important to consider DIY methods instead of reaching for caustic cleaning chemicals. With simple materials you can find around the house, many of these tricks don’t even require additional purchases. That said, it’s important that you recognize when it’s best to call in professional help. Although these tips can be effective, a licensed plumber will be able to fully address your drain’s problem.