Nearly every homeowner will have to deal with it eventually…the dreaded pooling of water in your sink or tub as they struggle to drain water.
Clogged drains are quite common, and knowing some quick DIY solutions for clearing them up will come in handy for years to come. Clogged drains shouldn’t be ignored since they can lead to flooding and even sewage backup, but there are a few methods of addressing the issue, most of which use basic supplies you probably already have in your cabinets.
Of course, in the case of a serious issue, you can always call a plumber to come and handle the issue professionally too.
But first, what are the common reasons drains clog up in the first place?
Why Drains Clog Up
There are a number of common reasons why a drain may get clogged—
Mineral Buildup: If you have hard water and don’t use a softener of any kind, the chances are that minerals from the hard water are slowly building up in your plumbing pipes. This can cause the pipes to struggle to drain.
Soap Scum: Many soaps form a hard buildup when they come into contact with water. This buildup is called soap scum, and it can slowly build up in your pipes, causing them to slow down the draining process.
Hair: Hair is notorious for clogging up bathroom drains. When the hair binds with other oils in the pipes, it can create mattes that clog drains.
Food Waste: Anytime you wash food down the drain, there is a chance it will get clogged or begin a buildup that could lead to the complete clogging of your kitchen drains. This is especially true of improperly disposed of fats and grease.
Small Objects: Sometimes, something will fall down a drain and clog it. This can be any number of kitchen items, bathroom toiletries, or household objects.
Quick And Easy Solutions For Clogged Drains
There are a number of recipes for homemade drain cleaners, but the most popular and effective uses only two ingredients: Baking soda and vinegar.
Baking Soda And Vinegar: First, pour 1 cup of baking soda down the clogged drain. Then follow it with half a cup of vinegar. You will then want to plug the drain or cover it so that the mixture stays in the pipes. Leave this to sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Once you have let it sit, you will pour hot water down the drain for a minute or two. You can repeat this process again if the clog is especially stubborn.
One of the best things about this method of clearing a clogged drain is that it is chemical-free. It also uses ingredients you may already have readily available, and it is a very cheap option. You can also use it proactively, before you get a clogged drain, once a month, just to keep your drains clean.
Baking Soda And Lemon Juice: Similar to baking soda and vinegar, you will pour a half cup of baking soda in with a half cup of lemon juice and let it sit for an hour before rinsing out the drain with hot water. This method smells a bit nicer than vinegar and might be worth a shot if you don’t want to deal with the smell of vinegar in your kitchen or bathroom.
Dish Soap: The dish soap method works best on grease clogs when you accidentally pour grease or oil down your drain, and it hardens up in the pipes, causing a clog. Add two tablespoons of dish soap to a pan of boiling water and gently mix. You will then slowly pour the soapy water down the drain, re-liquifying the grease so it can be washed out of the pipes.
All of these methods can be used preventatively, on a weekly or monthly basis to help keep drains clear and to catch problems early.
When To Call A Plumber
Sometimes, despite trying a DIY remedy, a drain won’t unclog. There may be complications, and getting a plumber to come in and check it out may be wise. Some of the common signs that something more serious might be causing an issue include—
-Bad smells or odors
-Clogs in more than one drain in the house
-DIY solutions aren’t working
If any of these are present, you may want to consider calling in the professionals to check it out. A service like Davis Home Services in Cherry Hill can help find out the root of your problem and provide a solution.
Preventing Future Clogs
If you manage to clear out your drains, either with DIY methods or after calling in a plumber, what are some ways you can prevent future clogging?
As was mentioned earlier, you can always use the chemical-free and environmentally-friendly methods of clearing a clogged drain to keep it clean. You can do this once a week or once a month, depending on how much use the drain sees.
What are some specific ways you can prevent clogs based on what caused the clog?
Mineral Buildup: The number one way to combat hard water is to get a water softener. This will help prevent mineral buildup and potential clogging of your pipes.
Soap Scum: Consider making a switch to a soap-free cleanser or something more natural. Try not to use anything that has a high oil or fat content.
Hair: Buy hair traps for all your tub and shower drains and clean them out often.
Food Waste: Even if you have a disposal, you shouldn’t make it a habit of washing food down the drain. Try to be mindful of scrapping off any excess food into a trash can or compost bin before washing your dishes.
Small Objects: You can prevent small objects from falling into a drain by using drain plugs when you know you will be using something small near a sink and by moving anything that could potentially fall in somewhere safer.
Thankfully, despite it being a common and annoying problem, there are a number of ways to unclog your drinks and also to prevent it from happening again in the future.