DIY Drain Cleaning Tips to Try before you Call Bob Oates

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We here at Bob Oates Plumbing, Sewer & Rooter pride ourselves in loving what we do, from big, glamorous jobs like water main repair and water heater installation to toilet and drain unclogging. As much as we love what we do, we love providing the best customer service possible. Sometimes that means putting the plunger in your hands, so to speak. If you’re experiencing poor drainage, you don’t need to run straight for the telephone, you can try these DIY options first!

Hot Water

This tip comes straight from the faucet! Running your tap at its hottest until your problem sink is full can actually go a long way to unclog a drain. The heat will help clear pipe walls of the solid fats that are a problem particularly in kitchen sinks.

Use Your Plunger

Toilet plungers make great multi-taskers, but a sink plunger will also do the trick. First remove any drain screens or stoppers and fill the clogged sink with enough water to completely cover the rubber part of your plunger. It’s important to plug any extra openings in the sink, such as the second drain in a double-basin sink or an overflow drain. A wet rag will work fine. From there, simply place your plunger over the drain a give a dozen or so good plunges.

Baking Soda, Vinegar and Pressure

The same properties that make baking soda and vinegar great for your child’s model volcano, make it great for drain cleaning. For this tip, prep your troublesome drain with hot tap water. Next, dump about a half cup of baking soda down the drain and let it set a few minutes. Follow that with a mixture of one cup hot water and one cup white vinegar. The hot water along with the explosive reaction between baking soda and vinegar will create pressure above your clog and blast it away.

Use a Bent Wire Hanger

Think of this as the poor man’s drain snake. With a pair of pliers, straighten out a wire clothes hanger you don’t need and make a small hook at one end. Using the hook end, “fish” for your clog. If your clog is above the p-trap, as is often the case with hair-laden bathroom sinks, the hook should pull your clog right up!

Try Soda

A soda like Coke (generic brands work fine!) will clean your drain using some of the same principles as baking soda and vinegar. The pressure from all that fizzy carbonation can dislodge clogs and send them down the pipes. Unlike baking soda and vinegar, though, soda beverages are full of phosphoric acid, which breaks down the buildups that cause clogs!

Things to Avoid

  • Store bought chemical cleaners
    Drain cleaners like Drano use caustic chemicals like lye that dissolve clogs. That’s not just dangerous to be exposed to; it can also soften PVC pipes, further deteriorate old corroded pipes and even crack porcelain.
  • Grease, hair and other unflushables
    We call them unflushable for a reason. Things like grease, hair, paper towels, and feminine products aren’t designed to dissolve and pass through plumbing systems.
  • Going too long without consulting a plumber about a persistent clog
    If you wait too long to address a clog that just won’t quit, you run the risk of compounding your problem. Standing water in a pipe can increase the speed of corrosion and create pressure that wears on joints and seals.

Preventative Tips

  • Use drain screens
    A great way to keep unflushable material out of sink drains is to use drain screens. This is especially useful for shower, bathtub, and bathroom sink drains where there is more hair.
  • Use an enzyme-based drain cleaner
    Some commercially available drain cleaners use enzymes or bacteria to eat through the organic material clogging pipes. Not only are these less dangerous to human health, but they’re easier on septic systems, which rely on certain beneficial bacteria.

When it comes to drain cleaning in Seattle, Bob Oates Plumbing, Sewer & Rooter is second to none. That doesn’t mean you can’t take your own crack at quick and affordable DIY drain cleaning.

Of course, if these tips don’t cut the clog, call Bob Oates for a professional drain cleaning!

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Serving the Greater Seattle Area