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DIY Guide to Unclogging Drains

By Habitat Staff Writer
Share to PinterestDIY Guide to Unclogging Drains
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Clogged drains are a common household nuisance, often disrupting daily routines and leaving behind a mess that nobody wants to deal with. Whether it's the kitchen sink taking forever to clear or the shower pooling water at your feet, the frustration is all too familiar. Yet, reaching for harsh chemical solutions isn't the only way to tackle this issue. With a bit of know-how and some household staples, unclogging drains can be straightforward, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly. This guide offers ten simple DIY methods to free up your drains without the need for a plumber's help or toxic chemicals.

01

Why drains get clogged

Share to PinterestOverflowing kitchen sink, clogged drain. Plumbing problems.

Understanding the culprits behind clogged drains is the first step toward prevention. Hair, soap scum, food particles, and grease are the usual suspects, each capable of creating stubborn blockages. Knowing what goes down your drain is crucial in preventing clogs before they happen. Regular maintenance and mindful usage can keep these elements from causing trouble down the line, ensuring your drains stay clear for longer.

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02

The power of boiling water

Share to PinterestA person in yellow rubber gloves pours hot water with steam from an electric kettle into a metal sink. Cleaning and disinfection of sanitary ware in the kitchen

Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the most effective. Boiling water can work wonders on grease and soap buildup, melting away the gunk that's slowing down your drain. It's a quick and easy first step that can often save you from more complicated methods. Just remember, if your pipes are PVC, stick to very hot water instead of boiling to avoid damage, as extreme heat can compromise the integrity of these pipes.

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03

Baking soda and vinegar magic

Share to PinterestBaking soda poured to unclog drainage system at home

This dynamic duo is a powerhouse against clogs. Combine a third of a cup of baking soda with an equal amount of vinegar, pour it down the drain, and let the fizzing action do its work. The reaction between these two ingredients produces a cleaning and clearing action that can dislodge even the most stubborn clogs. After an hour, flush the drain with hot water to clear out the residue. It's a safe, natural way to tackle most clogs, making it a go-to solution for eco-conscious households.

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04

Dish soap and hot water

Share to Pinterestpour dish soap and hot water down drain to unclog

For kitchen sinks clogged with grease, a squirt of dish soap followed by a kettle of hot water can cut through the grime. The soap breaks down fat, allowing hot water to flush it away, clearing the path for water to flow freely again. This method is especially useful after cooking, preventing grease buildup before it becomes a problem. It's an effective, gentle way to maintain your kitchen drains without resorting to harsh chemicals.

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05

Salt, baking soda, and vinegar

Share to Pinterestclogged kitchen sink, dirty pipe being cleaned at home with baking soda and vinegar

When faced with a tougher clog, adding salt to the baking soda and vinegar mix can offer that extra punch. Use half a cup of salt and baking soda each, pour down the drain, followed by half a cup of vinegar. The salt acts as an abrasive, helping to scour the pipes clean, while the baking soda and vinegar reaction helps to dissolve the clog. After letting it sit, flush the concoction down with boiling water. This method combines mechanical action with chemical reactions for a deeper clean.

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06

Wire hanger technique

Share to Pinterestunclogging with a coat hanger

A straightened wire hanger can become a handy tool for fishing out hair and other debris-causing blockages. Just be gentle to avoid any damage to your pipes and always wear gloves to protect your hands from any sharp edges or unsanitary gunk. This method is particularly effective in bathrooms, where hair is often the main cause of clogs. It's a simple, yet surprisingly effective way to clear drains without needing specialized tools.

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07

Plunging the right way

Share to PinterestBlocked Sink Plunger

A good old-fashioned plunger can often dislodge clogs that chemicals can't. Make sure you're using the right type of plunger (a flat-bottomed one for sinks) and cover any overflow outlets to ensure proper suction. A few vigorous plunges usually do the trick, creating pressure that can loosen most clogs. It's important to have a good seal around the plunger for the best effect, making this a straightforward method for immediate results.

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08

Cleaning the P-trap

Share to Pinterestsink drain

The P-trap is the curved pipe under your sink, and it's a common spot for clogs to occur. Removing and cleaning it out can instantly solve your problem. Place a bucket underneath to catch any spillage, unscrew the trap, and clear out the debris. This direct approach allows you to remove clogs physically, ensuring that the path is clear for water to flow. It's a slightly more involved method but highly effective for sinks and basins.

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09

Using a drain snake

Share to PinterestPlumbing issues, occupation in sanitation and handyman contractor concept with plumber repairing drain with plumbers snake (steel spiral that twists through pipes to collect dirt) in residential sink

For clogs deeper within your pipes, a manual drain snake can be invaluable. Feed the snake down the drain until you hit the blockage, then twist and pull to break it apart or retrieve it. It's a bit more work but highly effective for those stubborn clogs that are out of reach for other methods. The drain snake can navigate the bends and twists of your plumbing, making it an essential tool for deeper clogs.

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10

Preventive maintenance

Preventing clogs is easier than fixing them. Use drain strainers to catch hair and food scraps, never pour grease down the drain, and regularly flush your drains with boiling water or a baking soda and vinegar mix to keep them running smoothly. These simple habits can significantly reduce the likelihood of clogs, keeping your plumbing in top condition. Regular maintenance not only prevents clogs but also extends the life of your plumbing system, saving you time and money in the long run.

Clogged drains aren't just a minor inconvenience; they're a signal that something isn't right in our home's plumbing system. But with these simple, eco-friendly methods, you can keep your drains clear, avoid costly plumber visits, and ensure your home runs more smoothly. Remember, regular maintenance and a bit of DIY spirit are all it takes to keep your drains flowing freely.

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