Clogged drains are a major inconvenience for homeowners and can lead to more substantial problems, like overflowing sinks and toilets and damage to pipes. Fixing a clogged drain is a relatively simple process in the world of domestic plumbing, with a number of options available for homeowners to try themselves. If you try the approaches detailed below and still have issues, the professionals at Roto-Rooter can help you fix a clogged drain.
One of the first steps to take with a clogged drain is to attempt to remove the blockage with your hands, if feasible. Shower drains, for example, can gather hair and other materials near the top of the drain, but under the screen. To check for a clog in such a position, use a flashlight to illuminate the area under the screen. If you see a potential blockage, safely remove the screen - set aside any screws so they don't fall down the drain or get intermixed with the clog - and, avoiding any sharp edges, manually extract the clog. This form of drain cleaning can also be accomplished with a pair of tongs or other tool to extend your reach.
An alternative manual method is using a plunger to try to remove the clog, a mostly self-explanatory effort - just remember plungers work better when they can be submerged in water. There are also plumbing snakes and augers, which can physically reach farther into drains.
For clogs that are farther down the pipes, a different drain cleaning approach can be used. There are many who advocate the mixture of baking soda, vinegar and hot water. To clear the drain, slowly pour a pot of boiling water down the drain, saving about one cup for later. Right after, follow the water with 1/2 cup of baking soda and leave for 5 minutes. Then, pour a cup of vinegar into the drain and let sit for 20 minutes. You hear a fizzing sound because mixing the two ingredients creates a noticeable chemical reaction. This method works best on bathroom sink drains but is also effective on tub and shower drains. However, it is less effective on kitchen drains. If you don’t have baking soda, salt is a useful substitute. After pouring both ingredients, let stand for a few minutes and slowly add one gallon of boiling water. This approach is best used on partial clogs and may not work when a drain is completely clogged with standing water.
If your drain stays clogged despite your best efforts, a visit from the experts at Roto-Rooter can help.