When you find a clogged drain at your home or business, it can be a frustrating experience, especially when you have a busy schedule. It’s not only inconvenient, but it can also be unhygienic and lead to foul smells throughout your home. 

Fortunately, aside from using a drain cleaner, several easy tricks exist to clear a clogged drain before you need to call a professional plumber. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of these tricks and how they effectively unblock drains and keep them clear from blockages. 

What Causes Clogged Drains?

Clogged drains are a common household problem caused by a variety of factors. The following are some of the most common causes we find when clearing water drains: 

  • Hair & Soap Scum: Hair, soap and shampoo residue are among the biggest culprits in a bath and shower drain. It can easily accumulate and build up over time in the pipes and cause blockages.
  • Food waste: In the kitchen, food waste, such as grease, oil, coffee grounds, egg shells and other debris, can accumulate in the kitchen sink drain and cause blockages if you don’t have a garbage disposal. These materials can stick to the inside of the pipe and create a buildup over time.
  • Toilet paper and personal hygiene products: Flushing items like toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, and baby wipes down the toilet can cause clogs in the pipes and sewer lines.
  • Foreign objects: Small objects, such as toys, jewellery, and cotton swabs, can accidentally fall down the drain opening and cause blockages.
  • Tree roots: In outdoor plumbing systems, tree roots can grow into PVC pipes and cause blockages. This is especially common in older plumbing made of clay or cast iron.
  • Improper installation: Sometimes, clogged drains are due to improper installation or poor plumbing system design.

4 Ways to Help You Unclog a Drain

A clogged bathroom, laundry or kitchen sink drain can damage your plumbing system and need managing straight away. Here are four of our best DIY options before calling Woden Valley Plumbing & Gasfitting for assistance: 

1. Hot Water

One of the easiest tricks to unclog a drain is pouring hot water down the metal pipes, and can be done by following these steps:

  • Boil a pot of water: Fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil on the stove.
  • Pour the boiling water down the drain: Slowly pour the hot water down the clogged sink drains in a steady stream. Be careful not to splash hot water onto your skin or surrounding surfaces.
  • Wait and repeat: Wait a few minutes to allow the hot water to work through the pipes and potentially dissolve or dislodge the blockage. You can repeat the process if the water is still not draining properly.

It’s important to note that hot water may not be adequate for all types of clogs. For example, if the blockage is due to solid materials like hair or food scraps, hot water may not break them up. 

2. Baking Soda & Vinegar

Helping your drain unclog with baking soda and white vinegar is a popular and effective natural method compared to chemical-based drain cleaners. Here’s how to do it:

  • Pour baking soda down the drain: Begin by pouring a cup of baking soda down the drain. Be sure to pour it directly into the opening of the sink trap, not around the edges, as it won’t work as effectively.
  • Add vinegar: Next, pour a cup of vinegar down the drain on the baking soda. You’ll notice some fizzing and bubbling as the baking soda and vinegar react.
  • Cover the drain: Cover the area with a plug or cloth to prevent the mixture from escaping.
  • Wait and flush: Wait 10-15 minutes and let the mixture sit to work through the metal pipes and potentially dissolve or dislodge the clog. Then, remove the plug or cloth and pour hot water down the drain to flush it out. You can repeat the process if necessary.

The chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar creates carbon dioxide, which helps to break up the blockage. Additionally, the mixture can help remove any buildup or residue, preventing future drain clogs.

3. Wire Coat Hanger

Using a wire hanger to unclog drains can be helpful, especially if the blockage is due to a solid object such as hair or soap scum. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Straighten the hanger: Take the clothes hanger and straighten it out as much as possible. Leave the hook end intact to grab and remove the stubborn clogs.
  • Remove the drain cover: Remove the drain stopper to access the pipe. You may need a screwdriver or pliers to remove the cover or stopper.
  • Insert the hanger: Insert the straightened hanger into the drain pipe and wiggle it around to try to hook onto the clog. Be careful not to push the clog further down the pipe.
  • Pull out the clog: Carefully pull it out of the drainpipe once you feel the hanger hook onto the clog. You may need to repeat this process several times to remove the clog entirely.
  • Replace the cover: Once removing the clog, replace the cover or stopper and run hot water into the drain to ensure it’s flowing correctly.

It’s essential to use caution when inserting the hanger into drain pipes, as you don’t want to scratch or damage them. If you’re unsure whether using it is safe and effective for unclogging your drain, it’s best to consult one of our professional plumbers at Woden Valley Plumbing & Gasfitting.

4. Drain Snake

A drain snake is a highly effective method for clearing clogs. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Remove the cover of the drain: Remove the cover or stopper to gain access to the drain system. Depending on the type of drain, you may need to use a screwdriver or pliers to remove the cover or stopper.
  • Insert the drain snake: Insert the end of the snake into the pipe and slowly feed it in as far as it will go. Keep turning the handle clockwise to push the snake deeper into the drain.
  • Find and remove the clog: Keep turning the handle while pushing the snake further into the drain until you feel resistance. This is likely the clog. Wiggle the snake around to try to break up the blockage, and then carefully and slowly pull it out of the drain pipe.
  • Flush the drain: Replace the cover or stopper once the clog is removed, then run warm water into the drain to flush out any remaining debris.

If the cause of the blockage is grease or mineral buildup, this method may be unable to break it up or remove the clog. In these cases, you may need to use a toilet plunger or chemical drain cleaner.

Need Help? Unblock Your Clogged Drains with Woden Valley Plumbing & Gasfitting

Are you struggling with a clogged kitchen and bathroom sink drain or toilet bowl and can’t seem to fix it with DIY methods? Don’t let a blocked pipe cause you any more frustration or inconvenience. Call Woden Valley Plumbing & Gasfitting today and let our team of experienced professionals help you unblock your drains quickly and efficiently. We will also give you tips on avoiding a plumbing emergency by using various methods to prevent future clogs.