How to Clean Clogged Drains so Your Pipes Run Clear - Angieslist
Drain clogs often require the assistance of a professional to clear the blockage. But there are plenty of ways homeowners can work to remove a clog on their own – and prevent one from happening.
- Use a plunger as your first line of defense with a clogged toilet. It can also fix clogs in bathtubs or shower, but be sure to fill the base with an inch of water to help the plunger seal before plunging.
- If a plunger doesn't work, a drain auger – commonly called a “snake” – is a flexible cable that can be pushed in the drain to break up the clog. Augers will not harm your pipes, but they might scratch porcelain or ceramics, so use them carefully.
- Toilets often endure items being flushed that should instead by thrown away, like paper towels and baby wipes, and those can quickly back up; especially in homes where tree roots reach into the main sewer lines. A plumber or professional drain cleaning company can trim the roots from inside the pipe to prevent clogs.
- Acid-based drain cleaners should only be used as a last defense, especially if you live in an older home that has cast iron or copper piping.
- Kitchen drain clogs are often the result of food, grease or overstuffed garbage disposals. The key to proper disposal use is to always run plenty of cold water the entire time you’re using the disposal, and then run plenty of water after the disposal is used.
- Bathroom sink and shower clogs are typically the result of hair buildup. Running hot water through your drains each week can help keep them clear.
You don’t need a plumber to remove a clog. Many companies focus solely on drain cleaning and don’t require a licensed plumber to be on staff. Still, check references and ask for proof of insurance before you hire.