Chemicals will typically unclog a drain for a short while, before the clog returns. This occurs because the blockage clogging the drain is never cleared away entirely. Pretty soon, new debris builds up on the remnants of the old blockage, and the drain becomes clogged again. When you unclog a drain without chemicals the goal is to dislodge the blockage completely. You can then use chemicals for maintenance, to keep the drain clog free. Or you can use the cheaper, “green” option described below, which will be just as effective in preventing your drain from clogging again. Best of all, the following five ways to unclog a drain are far less expensive than store-bought chemicals.
Green Ways to Unclog a Drain
For a green way to unclog a drain, use washing soda, which can be found at the laundry section of your supermarket or pharmacy. Begin by pouring one cup of washing soda down the clogged drain, followed by three cups of boiling water. Repeat three times, and if the problem is still not solved, unclog the drain further by pouring one cup of vinegar as well. This will neutralize the alkalinity of the washing soda, creating a foaming effect, which will help dislodge the gunk and further unclog the drain. Run hot water for two minutes when you are done. And to keep your drain clog free, pour 1/2 a cup of washing soda followed by 1.5 cups of boiling water once a month.
Tool Free and Chemical Free Way to Unclog a Drain
The easiest way to unclog a drain is to build enough water pressure to dislodge the gunk clogging the drain. If simply running the tap or flushing the toilet does not produce enough water pressure to unclog the drain, pouring a bucket full of hot water at high speed, and from as great a height as you can manage, will typically unclog the drain. It’s like running a waterfall into the pipe. Repeat this technique several times, but wait for the water level to go down first, or you’ll risk flooding the room. In other words, the sink or toilet bowel should be empty enough to accommodate a bucketful of water, in case the drain remains clogged at the first attempts.
Correct Use of a Plunger to Unclog a Drain
A plunger is inexpensive and will unclog a drain if used correctly. Rather than expect a plunger to unclog a drain with a single thrust, a plunger should be used like a corkscrew, slowly creating a whirlpool of water pressure to worm its way down the clogged drain until the gunk is dislodged, which unclogs the drain. Begin by placing the plunger over the clogged drain and start pressing down in small pumping motions. It’s important not to seal the drain completely, as you want to suck air in to create bubbles that will agitate the gunk and ultimately unclog the drain. Work like this for a minute, then pour in a jug of hot water at high speed. Repeat this process until the gunk is loosened enough that the next jug of hot water unclogs the drain.
Remove Hair to Unclog a Drain
Often shower drains, as well as bathroom sink drains, will become clogged with hair. To unclog the drain, it’s best to remove the hair rather than use chemicals which will fail to unclog the drain permanently. Turbo Snake is an inexpensive tool for removing hair from clogged drains. The package includes two flexible wires with a Velcro brush at the end, a larger one for unclogging shower drains, and a narrow one for sink drains. If you can’t see into the clogged drain, you will have to giggle the wire around until your find the opening in the pipe. Then extend the wire into the clogged drain as far as it will go. When you pull the wire out, hair will get trapped on the Velcro brush and this will unclog the drain.
Use an Auger to Unclog a Drain
For difficult toilet clogs, you can buy a tool called an auger (also referred to as a “snake” because of its shape). Begin by slipping the snake (cable) into the drain. Then use the Z-shaped handle to crank the cable further down. An even more effective Auger is attached to a drill and spins inside the drain to unclog it. For less difficult clogs, you can use a sewer tape, which is a flat piece of metal with a hook at the end, for grabbing the gunk, which will unclog the drain as well.
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1. Personal experience in renovating old homes.
2. Care2.com: Washing Soda to Unclog Drains. Retrieved from: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/clogged-drain.html#
3. Do It Yourself: Tools that Will Help You Unclog Your Drain. Retrieved from:http://www.doityourself.com/stry/typesofdraintool