How to Clear a Clogged Drain in 7 Easy Ways | Part I

Is your kitchen or bathroom sink draining slowly? Are you standing in water up to your ankles in the shower? If so, it may be time to address the clog that has been festering in your pipes. There are several things you can try to clear a clogged drain before calling the plumber.

Take a look!

1. Baking Soda, Vinegar, & Other Kitchen Ingredients for Clogged Drains

A lot of folks know the baking soda and vinegar trick. Simply pour some hot water down your clogged drain and follow it up with equal parts baking soda and vinegar (baking soda first), cover the drain with a plug if you have one, let it sit for 20-30 minutes, then follow it up with more hot water to clear the clog. The idea is that the chemical reaction will apply pressure and corrosive action to the obstruction, breaking it down and clearing the pipe. Some experts, however, say that the pressure created does not affect the obstruction because it is allowed to escape through the open drain. They believe the hot water is the only ingredient acting on the clog. That said, they also believe that it is best to avoid baking soda in metallic pipes as it can corrode the surface. So use your best judgment.

Similar methods include:

  • Baking Soda & Salt – Pour equal parts of each down your drain, let it sit 20-30 minutes, then follow it up with hot water.
  • Vinegar, Salt, & Lemon – Mix equal parts of salt and vinegar in a bowl, add a half part of lemon juice, then pour the mixture down your drain. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes then follow it up with hot water.
  • Salt & Hot Water – Pour at least a half cup of salt than hot water down your drain, let it sit for 20-30 minutes, then follow it up with more hot water.

Salt is used to unclog drains for its abrasive and antiseptic properties, scrubbing your pipes and absorbing bacteria.

Notes: These methods are not effective for fat, oil, and grease (FOG) clogs. Hot water melts FOG, clearing the immediate clog, but distributing the FOG and creating future problems.

Additional Note: Boiling water can melt plastic pipes.

2. Clothes Hanger, Closet Auger, or Drain Snake for Clogged Drains

You may have heard of this trick as well. By straightening out a clothes hanger and creating a little hook on the end, you can fish around in your pipe for the obstruction causing the clog. A closet auger or drain snake can be purchased at your local hardware store and used in a similar way, although these tools can typically go further down the pipe with greater flexibility.

3. Wet & Dry Vacuum for Clogged Drains

If you own a wet and dry vacuum, you can attempt to suck the obstruction out. Simply set your vacuum to “wet” and create a tight seal between the clogged drain and the vacuum arm extension before you turn it on.

Still not working? Clogged drains can be stubborn. For more tips, stay tuned for our next blog, How to Clear a Clogged Drain in 7 Easy Ways | Part II. If you would like the assistance of a plumbing professional, give us a call at KLEBS Mechanical. We have been serving Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley with plumbing services for over 30 years and we would be more than happy to take care of your clogged drain.