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How to Unclog a Drain

How do you unclog a drain? We'll explain. Sometimes a plumber is needed, but drain cleaners, natural solutions, and drain snakes can also work.

Unclogging Drains: How To Clear Pipes

Is there anything worse than a clogged drain? Unlikely. Clogged drains can happen anywhere — in your sink, in your bathtub, in your shower. Along with being a major nuisance, they’re also unsanitary, allowing water to fill up the basin and slowly seep back down into the piping. If you’ve got a clogged drain, you should deal with it as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

There are a few solutions when it comes to unclogging a drain. From natural fixes to snaking out a drain, here are some ways you can free up your pipes and get your shower, sink, or bathtub working as usual.

How to Make a Natural Solution to Unclog Your Drain

If the clog doesn’t seem to be too bad, a great place to start when unclogging your drain is with a natural solution that you can make from household items you probably already have in your kitchen: baking soda and white vinegar.

Firstly, boil some water and pour it down your drain. After this, pour dish soap down your drain to help clear up any grease or oil clogs, then give your drain another round of boiling water. From there, pour approximately one cup of baking soda down your drain and follow it up with white vinegar. These two ingredients will react together to help clear your clogged drain. Wait approximately ten minutes after pouring in the baking soda and white vinegar and then pour more boiling water down the drain to flush it out.

To see if the natural solution did enough to unclog your drain, run the faucet after the cleaning process. If you’re still seeing some clogging occurring, move on to one of the other options covered on this list.

When to Purchase a Professional Drain Cleaner to Clear Your Pipes

When natural solutions don’t work, moving onto a powerful drain cleaner is your next best step.

When using a drain cleaner, you want to be cautious about how you’re handling the materials. Drain cleaners are highly toxic and can cause skin rashes and burning if you’re not careful.

To use a drain cleaner, first put on a pair of rubber gloves to allow your hands some protection. From there, follow the instructions on the back of the drain cleaner bottle. Most often, you’ll be instructed to pour a certain amount of cleaner down the drain and wait for a set period of time. Once that time period has elapsed (it can be anywhere from ten minutes to twenty-four hours), pour boiling water down your drain to clear out the drain cleaner and remove any clogging. You’ll want to pour a few rounds of boiling water down your pipes to make sure you remove all of the drain cleaner in a safe and thorough manner.

If you’re still stuck with a clogged pipe after using drain cleaner, you’ll want to consider calling a professional or trying to use a snake.

How to Use a Drain Snake to Unclog Your Bathtub, Shower, or Sink

Snakes can be a useful tool when it comes to clearing your drains. These work by forcing themselves deep into your drains, where you’ll twist them until they remove the clog or collect it. When a snake is removed from a pipe, there will often be a ball of hair and soap attached to its end that was causing the clogging problem.

If a snake doesn’t help solve your clogged drain problem, there may be something more serious obstructing your pipes. Don’t hesitate to call a plumber if you find that none of these solutions are working for you.

What Are the Benefits of Cleaning Your Drains Regularly?

While it may seem like a hassle to regularly clean your drains, it actually has some huge benefits. Along with keeping your home clean, the more regularly you clear out your pipes, the less likely it is that you will end up with a serious clog.

Additionally, regularly cleaning out your drains can also save you money in the long run, as it prevents you from having to hire a professional plumber to handle any major drain clogs.

All in all, when it comes to cleaning your drains, be smart about it. Whether it’s with natural solution, drain cleaner, or a snake, keeping your drains clear is both a great practice and an investment for any household.

Resources— The Spruce, Mister Sewer, All Masters Plumbing