6 Tips to Unclog a Blocked Drain
The warning signs are there: slow drainage, unpleasant scents that linger and that horrid gurgling sound. You try pulling out the hair and excess junk that’s built up around the surface but eventually, water just stops draining completely.
If you’re not ready to call an emergency plumber but you’re not sure what to try next, try these top six tips to unclog a blocked drain.
Tip #1. Boiling Water
Starting with the easiest option to unclog blocked drains, boiling water can loosen or dissolve some forms of blockages. When you’ve got a potential solution that simply requires putting the kettle on, why not give it a shot?
Once you’ve got the water boiling, pour it down your drain in two or three parts. This will allow the hot water to soak into whatever you have blocking your drain, weakening its hold on your pipes. Best used as a preventative measure rather than a long-term solution, this method can be effective for grease and food build-up.
Only use boiling water on metal or ceramic pipes. If you have PVC pipes, use hot water, as the boiling water can loosen joints.
Tip #2. The Trusty Plunger
While boiling water is useful for grease and food build-up, the plunger is your go-to for solid blockages. Be sure to cover any overflow spouts before you start plunging to ensure a strong seal on the area you intend to clear. The pressure created by the plunger can help move and release smaller, solid blockages. We still recommend using a drain cleaner afterwards to ensure the blockage has been completely removed.
Tip #3. Baking Soda & Vinegar
Create your own DIY drain cleaner by mixing 1/3 of a cup of baking soda (bicarb soda) with 1/3 of a cup of white vinegar. The chemical reaction between the two products produces oxygen which scours the inside of pipes. It does fizz quite a lot, so it’s best to cover the drain to prevent it overflowing. Let it sit for a while and then flush with hot water. You may need to repeat this process a few times to break down the blockage.
Tip #4. Bent Wire
Not many of us will have some spare wire hanging around, but on the odd occasion that you do, you can try fishing your drains to see what you can hook. Simply remove the drain cover, bend the end of the wire and off you go – just be careful you’re not pushing the build-up further down the pipes. If you pull out some hair and other gunk, give the drain a flush with hot water to clear any loose debris when you’re done.
Bonus tip: Try an old wire coat hanger.
Tip #5. The U-Bend
A little more advanced than these other solutions, clearing the u-bend is one of the most effective solutions to unclogging a blocked drain. Put a bucket underneath the u-bend of your sink to collect any spillages before losing the slip nuts at both ends of the pipe. When you’ve got that off, simply free its contents by turning it upside down into your bucket. Give the inside a good scrub and rinse before placing it back together, ensuring the nuts are tightened to prevent leaks.
Tip #6. Caustic Soda
Available to purchase from your local hardware store, this is one tip for clearing a blocked drain that we like to leave up to the advanced DIY-ers. Capable of dissolving grease, hair food, and other build-ups, caustic soda is harmful to the environment and should only be used sparingly. It’s also important that you are cautious, following the instructions carefully and wear protective gear, such as gloves and eyewear when using dangerous chemicals.
If the DIY tricks still haven’t worked, you might be facing something more serious. Give Impact Plumbing a call and we’ll bring our tools and experienced Master Plumbers to get to the root of your problem and provide a solution.