How to Unclog a Drain

Clogged drains are a common occurrence in any home, so it’s essential to know how to remove them safely and effectively. There’s a wide variety of methods you can try, some of which require a professional and many that you can do on your own. These include:

1. Boiling Water

Pour boiling water down the drain to unclog substances like grease and conditioner. Their low melting point makes them incredibly vulnerable to the extreme heat of boiling water, which breaks them up with ease. That being said, that extreme heat can also cause damage to PVC pipes. If you have PVC pipes, definitely opt for one of the alternate methods listed below.

2. Natural Cleaners

One of the best natural cleaners is composed of one cup of vinegar and one cup of baking soda. The fizzing effect of this mixture helps dissolve tougher clogs that can’t be broken up by boiling water alone. Start by pouring boiling water down the drain, then the mixture, and then more boiling water 10 minutes later. 

3. Caustic Cleaners

If the combination of boiling water and natural cleaners isn’t enough, you may need to purchase a caustic cleaner. Its harsh chemicals are highly effective against substances like fat and oils. To use a caustic cleaner safely, you should always follow their instructions and ventilate the room you’re using it in.

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4. Plunger

Use a plunger to create an airtight seal around the affected drain. This seal will create a vacuum effect that you can use to unclog your drain, so long as the blockage is relatively close to the surface.

5. DIY Drain Snake

Is the offending blockage too deep to be removed by your plunger? Try making your own DIY drain snake using mouldable metal wire with a hook on one end. Using that hook, you can snag and remove substances like hair out of your shower drain.  

6. Plumber’s Drain Snake

Plumbers have their own advanced drain snake that can reach and unclog the stubborn blockages that a DIY snake can’t. They also have the skill and experience necessary to manoeuvre their drain snake into the hard-to-reach parts of your pipes.

7. CCTV

You can hire a plumber that offers CCTV services to determine the location and severity of your blockage. The plumber will manoeuvre the CCTV camera through your pipes like a drain snake so they can create an informed strategy for removing it.

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8. Hydro-Jet

Hydro-jets blast water into a pipe to remove the bulk of larger blockages, such as those consisting of natural debris. They’re not very precise, so professionals often use them alongside other minor drain clearing methods to get the best results.

9. Excavation

Excavation is when a blockage is so severe that your pipes have to be dug up and repaired or replaced. This should be a last resort, as it can be quite costly and should only be performed by professionals. 

10. Pipe Relining

If the blockage causes significant damage to one or more of your pipes, you may need to have them relined. This service isn’t cheap, but it’s far more affordable than paying for a full pipe replacement. 

Don’t Hesitate to Ask For Help

Though it may be tempting to try and unclog your drains yourself, there are some situations where getting help from a licenced, insured, and capable professional is necessary. If you wait too long before calling, your pipes could sustain lasting and costly damage.

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