Is there anything more inconvenient in life than a blocked drain? Well, there probably is, but you have to admit: Blocked drainage can be a real nuisance!
It might be when you’re getting a shower and the water refuses to go down the plughole. Or it could be when you’re washing the dishes and the water fails to drain. There might also be times when your relaxation time at home is hampered by the other telltale signs of a blocked drain. Foul smells and the sound of gurgling water are just two signs that suggest something could be wrong with your drainage system!
Thankfully, you don’t have to put up with a blocked drain forever! Although unblocking a household drain can be a difficult task, there are lots of ways to try to unblock a drain yourself or you can contact a professional. In this post, we will give you a few useful suggestions on how to unblock a drain.
#1: Use baking soda and vinegar
Why buy an expensive unblocker from the local store when you might have the items you need at home already? If you already have baking soda and vinegar, you can use these ingredients to create an effective drainage unblocking formula to remove any gunk, hair, or grime that has built up in your drainage pipe.
Simply mix one-third of a cup of vinegar with one-third of a cup of baking soda and when it starts to fizz, quickly pour it down your clogged drain. Let it sit for an hour or more (or overnight if you suspect the blockage is really bad) and then flush with hot water. In theory, the blockage should be gone but repeat the process if you experience further problems.
#2: Try baking soda and salt
Don’t have any vinegar? Not a problem, as salt could also be used if you have it in your kitchen.
Mix half a cup of baking soda with half a cup of table salt and pour it into your blocked drain. Leave it to work for twenty minutes or so and then pour boiling water into the plughole. Together, these three ingredients will produce a chemical reaction strong enough to deal with the blockage that has been causing you a headache.
#3: Unblock your drain with boiling water
Some blockages require little more than boiling hot water!
Simply fill your kettle with as much water as it can hold and then boil it up. Then pour it slowly down the drain in two to three stages, leaving a few seconds between each stage to give the boiling water time to do its magic. Boil up the kettle again if you need extra water to deal with your pesky blockage. Once done, put your feet up and relax with a cup of tea using any spare water that was left in your kettle!
#4: Unclog your drain with a snake
By snake, we are of course talking about a drain snake that can be bought online or from most hardware stores. This is the ideal solution for most homeowners when a blockage occurs so it’s worth having one handy, just in case!
Gently push the snake into your plughole and keep going until you can’t feed it down any further. Use the handle to force the snake into the blockage and rotate the handle back and forth until you feel the obstruction breaking up. Rewind the snake, remove it from the sink and then run water down your sink to see if the blockage has gone. If not, repeat the process with the snake until the problem goes away.
#5: Dislodge the blockage with a wire coat hanger
If you don’t have a snake at home fret not! If you have wire coat hangers in your closet or wardrobe, use one of these to deal with the nuisance blockage.
Simply straighten the wire hanger out and then bend one end into the shape of a small hook. Then push it through the drain cover and start fishing around for any gunk that is causing the blockage. Lift whatever nasty stuff is lurking below and dispose of it in your litter bin. Then run your hot water tap or boil a kettle to deal with anything that might still be lurking below. If problems persist, repeat the process. Please note: While this method is effective, it is possible to push the gunk down further when you’re fishing with your coat hanger. Be as gentle as you can to reduce this problem.
#6: Remove the U-Bend
Unblocking drains can be a tough job, so if problems still persist after trying out those other simple drain unblocking methods, it might be time to roll your sleeves up! Sometimes the only way to deal with a blockage is to clear it by hand after removing the u-bend. It’s an easy enough job but if you don’t feel confident, give your plumber a call. If you do decide to go it alone, here’s what you need to do.
Firstly, place old towels under the sink to catch any dirty water and have a bucket within reach too. Put on some rubber gloves and locate the u-bend under the sink. It’s the first bend in the pipe beneath the plughole. After putting the bucket under the u-bend, start to unscrew each section of the pipe with a wrench. Go slowly as you want to make sure the excess water drips out before removing it completely.
When the water has stopped dripping, you can remove the u-bend. Take it to another sink and give it a good clean. To do this, use a wire coat hanger or some other tool to clean out the gunk within. Then rinse it through with warm water and a mix of disinfectant to ensure it looks and smells a lot better than it did before. When this has been done, reconnect the u-bend using your wrench and run the hot water. If you notice a leak while running the water, detach the u-bend again and reattach it to ensure it is fitted correctly.
#7: Try soda crystals or washing powder
As soda crystals can be used as a multi-purpose cleaner, you may have these at your home already. If so, pour boiling water down the drain and then add one cup of soda crystals. Follow this through with a cup of hot water and wait for five minutes. Finally, boil your kettle and empty it down the plughole to flush and clean the drain. Hopefully, the blockage will be gone and you will have the opportunity to continue with your day.
If you don’t have any soda crystals, use washing powder. Put two tables of washing powder down the plughole and then flush it through with the water you have boiled in your kettle. If this doesn’t work, repeat the process until the blockage has been removed.
#8: Use a supermarket product
If none of these drain unblocking methods have worked it might be time to try something stronger. Your local supermarket will have an array of products available so purchase whatever is in your price range.
There are usually two types of products to choose from: Chemical cleaners and biological cleaners. Both are effective, but if you want to be environmentally friendly, use a biological cleaner. These use enzymes to work through any blockages that are causing you a problem. They aren’t as strong as the ingredients used in a chemical cleaner but they are powerful enough for most blockages. If the issue persists after using this type of cleaner, a chemical cleaner will usually get the job done.
#9: Use a Zip-It
There are a number of products on the market that are suitable for drain blockages, including plungers and the drain snake that we mentioned earlier. One popular product is the Zip-It and it works in a similar way to the wire coat hanger method.
The Zip-It is a long plastic stick with upward-facing hooks on the end. You simply need to push it down the sink and remove it with the gunk attached. Keep going until you think your drain is clear of any nasty obstruction.
#10: Call A Professional Drainage Engineer?
Any of the methods discussed above can be considered if you’re wondering how to unblock a drain. However, if the blockage is particularly bad, you might need specialist help. If so, get in touch with us today. We can deal with any blockage by getting to the source of the problem. With an experienced team and the right tools for the job, we will have your drains unblocked in no time.
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