How to Fix a Clogged Drain

A clogged drain is not only annoying; it can also fill your house with an awful smell. Any number of materials can build up in your drains and cause clogs, but the usual suspects are hair, dirt, and soap scum. Over time, these things slowly collect within your pipes until they become a full clog. Here are a few options to clear those clogs and get your drains running smoothly.

Homemade Cleaners

While a serious clog will probably need something stronger, there are several solutions that can be made from items which you probably already have in your home. Most drain cleaners made from everyday household products contain two key ingredients: baking soda and vinegar. It's simple chemistry. Baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid. Combining them causes a reaction that produces carbon dioxide and energy. That energy is the force which can react with clogged matter to loosen the blockage in your drain.

  1. Begin by pouring a pot of boiling water down the drain.
  2. Pour one cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by a mixture of one cup vinegar and one cup water.
  3. You'll hear a hissing sound once the vinegar contacts the baking soda. Cover the drain and wait 5-10 minutes.
  4. Pour another pot of boiling water down the drain.
  5. Repeat if necessary.

Commercial Chemical Cleaners

If your drain is truly clogged, you'll probably need something stronger. Most well-known drain cleaners utilize harsh chemicals to create a more extreme reaction and heat to break up the clog. They are typically composed of sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite. Sodium hydroxide (lye) an extreme base which can break the chemical bonds that hold clogged materials together. Potassium hydroxide (caustic potash) is another strong base that quickens the decomposition of soft tissues and organic matter. Sodium hypochlorite (bleach) is a third base that reacts with the first two. As you can guess, lye, potash and bleach are not substances you want to get anywhere near humans or pets, and are terrible for the environment, your pipes and your water supply. But they are an option that many people choose.

Drain Auger or Snake

Another option is to use a long, flexible tool to physically dislodge the clog. You can purchase these at a hardware store, or contact a professional plumber. There are several variations, but basically you push the snake into the drain and crank it through the pipes to force it into the clog. This will break up some of the clog, allowing it to be flushed with water, and will adhere to the rest of the clog, allowing you to pull it out. This process can be lengthy, expensive, and possibly damage your plumbing, so use caution or contact a professional if in doubt.

Earthworm® Drain Cleaner

Unlike the chemical reaction of baking soda and vinegar, or the less environmentally friendly reaction of harsher chemicals, Earthworm® Drain Cleaner uses naturally occurring enzymes to break up organic matter that clogs your drain. The same enzymes that help us digest food and fertilize soil are in our drain cleaner, and they act as a biological catalyst to increase the rate organic material is broken down. Earthworm® Drain Cleaner is environmentally friendly and safer for your drains, pets, kids and family. Simply pour 6-8 ounces of Earthworm® Drain Cleaner into the drain over a few consecutive nights and allow the enzymes to do their work. Your drains will be free of clogs and smelling fresh with less time and less effort.

March 19, 2021 by dave becker
Tags: Tips