Drain Pains: Seven Steps for Unclogging Your Pipes

Drain Pains: Seven Steps for Unclogging Your Pipes
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Clogged drains can be annoying, smelly, and rather difficult to fix. Before reaching for the chemical drain cleaners, which can damage pipes, and are terrible for the environment, try the steps below. 

1: Remove the Drain Stopper

The first step to dealing with a clogged drain should almost always be removing the drain stopper. In bathroom sinks, the drain stopper can frequently be the cause of the clog in the first place, as it tends to accumulate hair and soap scum. In tubs and showers, on the other hand, any cleaning products just won’t work as well with the drain stopper in place. 

2: Drain Cleaner Tool

Once the drain stopper is removed, run a drain cleaner tool down the pipe to help pull out any hair or debris. These tools are rather cheap and are available at just about any home improvement store. 

3: Vinegar and Baking Soda

Next, pour a little baking soda and vinegar down the drain. Be sure to get the baking soda as far down the drain as possible, and the bubbling action will loosen any left-over debris.

4: Hot Water

Once the vinegar and baking soda have stopped bubbling, flush with plenty (several gallons are ideal) of almost boiling water. Again, this will help remove any remaining slime, hair, or debris.

5: Plunger

If your drain is still clogged, you can use a toilet plunger. Before you start you’ll need to firmly cover up any overflow holes. Otherwise, the plunger won’t work. You can even find smaller plungers for just this type of job. 

6: Water Ram

A water ram is a special tool that helps, as the name implies, push the clog out of the way. Water rams can frequently be rented, but you can also purchase one. A Langley plumbing company Hillcrest Plumbing & Heating cautions a water ram can break old and worn down pipes. Be sure to proceed with caution if you have an older house.


If after all of the above steps, the drain is still clogged, it’s fair to say a larger problem is at work. Perhaps a tree root has grown into a pipe, mineral deposits have blocked the flow of water, or outdated plumbing needs to be repaired. Unfortunately, there are some plumbing problems that just require a professional, so don’t be afraid to ask for assistance when necessary.

To prevent clogged drains in the future, watch what you pour down your sinks and tubs. If backups are a frequent issue in your home, consider getting professional drain cleaning service; it could save you a number of headaches.



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