Tired of a slow-draining sink or swimming in the shower? Try these tips for clearing a clogged drain! In Part I of our series, we gave you ideas for how to use common, kitchen ingredients and special tools to clean out your pipes. In Part II, we discuss options that use chemicals as well as a few final techniques you can try.
4. Plunger for Clogged Drains
A plunger can be used for a clogged drain just as it can be used for a clogged toilet, although you may want to clean your bathroom plunger before use on a sink or purchase a new plunger exclusively for use on the sink.
5. Hydrogen Peroxide, Caustic Soda, & Other Chemicals for Clogged Drains
If none of the “natural” methods work, you may want to try getting some stronger chemicals involved. You should wear rubber gloves and eye protection and work in a well-ventilated room for all of these methods.
- Hydrogen Peroxide – Mix 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide and 1 quart of water. Pour this mixture down your clogged drain and let it sit for 20-30 minutes. Be especially careful as this chemical can cause burns. Do not attempt this method if you have already poured baking soda down your drain, as it will cause an unwanted chemical reaction.
- Caustic Soda (Sodium Hydroxide) – Sodium hydroxide is the active ingredient in many drain cleaners. Mix 3/4 gallons of cold water with 3 cups of caustic soda and stir with a wooden spoon. Once it starts to fizz and heat up, pour the mixture into your clogged drain and leave it for 20-30 minutes. Finally, follow it up with hot water. Some experts do not recommend sodium hydroxide as it can eat away at pipes. Be especially careful with this chemical as well as it can cause burns.
- Borax, Vinegar, & Salt – Mix 1/4 cup of Borax with 1/2 cup of vinegar, 1/4 cup of salt, and hot water. Pour this mixture down your clogged drain and let it sit for 1 hour.
- Drain Cleaners – It may be easier to purchase a pre-mixed drain cleaner than to make your own sodium hydroxide mixture. Use as instructed by the packaging. Traditional drain cleaners contain toxic chemicals like sodium hydroxide that can create harsh fumes during cleaning and/or leak into and harm the environment through the water, leading many people to use greener, enzyme-based cleaners.
- Green Enzyme Cleaners – If you want a heavy-duty product but you also want to avoid all of the harsh chemicals, consider using a green, enzyme-based cleaner. These are great for hair clogs or FOG as they contain natural enzymes that eat away at organic matter.
6. Dish Detergent & Hot Water for Clogged Drains
If your clogged drain is the result of FOG, dish detergent and hot water may work to clear it. Simply pour the detergent down the clogged drain first then follow it up with the hot water.
7. Clear the Trap for Clogged Drains
If none of these methods work, your second-to-last resort is to attempt clearing the u-shaped pipe (trap) beneath the sink. Placing a bucket beneath the pipe, use a plumber’s wrench to loosen the nuts at both ends of the pipe and remove it. Dump the contents of the pipe into the bucket. If the obstruction is stubborn, use an old toothbrush to coax it out. Rinse the pipe with water and return it to its place.
Need Help Unclogging Your Drain?
If nothing works on your stubborn clog, or you’re simply tired of trying, it may be time to give us a call at KLEBS: 907-365-2500. We have been unclogging drains in Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley for over 30 years and we would love to help you. Our professional plumbing services are extensive, including installation, replacement, and repair of a variety of residential plumbing systems.
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