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How to Unclog a Drain: Top Tips from Your Local Plumbing Experts

How to Unclog a Drain: Top Tips from Your Local Plumbing Experts

Persistent clogs anywhere in your home are annoying, and likely to make your daily life more difficult. So, if you are having issues with your kitchen sink or your shower draining slowly, it is best to address the issue as soon as possible. However, too many people try to unclog their drain by themselves without using the right tools or techniques. Keep reading to find out how to unclog a drain from our team of experts.

What Causes Clogs?

Before we find out how to unclog a drain, it is important to determine the cause of the clog

clogged sink with sponge pliers gingham wallpaper
There are many different factors that cause clogs in your kitchen or bathroom.

When unclogging a drain, the first thing you should do is investigate to see if you can find out the cause of the clog. There are a few common issues that lead to clogged drains, so let’s find out what you should be looking for when investigating a clogged drain.

In the Kitchen: 

If you are experiencing a clogged kitchen sink, it is usually one of two issues preventing your water from fully draining. The first issue is a buildup of fatty substances in your drain. These substances — including grease and oil — can slowly solidify in your drain and cause blockages. Though it may be easy to pour down in a liquefied state, you should avoid putting any kitchen grease in the sink

The second common issue is a buildup of food particles that do not break down easily. Sometimes, food particles get stuck in the curved section of your piping beneath the sink and slow drainage.

In the Bathroom:

When it comes to clogs in the bathroom, there are two more common culprits that can lead to slow draining showers and sinks. Hair is able to easily go down your drain when shaving or showering, but stays in the drain causing blockages over time. 

Soap scum also causes blockages by coating your pipes in residue, eventually leading to clogging or pipe corrosion.

Now that we have established how clogged drains happen, let’s find out some of the most effective ways to clear a drain at home.

1. Look For Any Obstructions

If there are obstructions in your pipes that you can easily identify, they may be easy to remove as well

woman looking at sink intently dishes
By first eliminating any visible obstructions, you can get to the root cause of the problem.

The first thing you should do when trying to unclog a drain pipe is to look for any visible obstructions. You never know, that pesky clog may be just under the foot plug or drain cap. Start by removing the foot plug or drain cap and inspecting your drain pipe. You can also use a flashlight to get a better look at the possible obstruction. If the clog is easily visible, you can try to remove it by hand or with an easily accessible household item, like a paperclip. Be sure to wear gloves and ensure that your water is flowing properly after you have removed the obstruction.

2. Grab The Drain Snake

If you can’t see the clog, you can use a plumbing snake

person using drain snake in kitchen sink
Drain snakes are available at your local home supply store.

A plumbing snake or drain snake is an excellent tool to have on hand if you are experiencing a clogged drain in your home. A drain snake is a retractable device that extends down your drain and can pull out any potential clogs. These devices work especially well for clogged shower drains.

3. Use a Plunger

Plungers can help unclog kitchen sinks, just remember to be extremely careful

woman plunging the sink in white kitchen
Taking extra care when plunging your sink will prevent further damage.

A commonly used tool for clogged toilets, many people do not know that you can also use a plunger to fix a clogged kitchen sink too. You can use a plunger the same way you normally would, just on your kitchen sink. Plunge normally and continue plunging until the water begins to drain. However, be advised that this technique will not work as well for sinks with two drains and never ever try to plunge your sink after pouring in any drain cleaner or hot water.

4. Boiling Water

If the above techniques haven’t quite worked for you, try dissolving a blockage with boiling water

pot of boiling water on stove
Boiling water helps break down buildup in your pipes.

If you have tried snaking your drain and using a plunger to no success, you may have a blockage caused by buildup. In order to soften the buildup that is causing the drain blockage and allow water to pass through, you can try pouring boiling water down the drain. Boiling water will help dissolve any problem causing buildup in your pipes and allow the water to move freely once again. For the best results, repeat pouring the boiling water down your drain two or three times.

5. Make a Homemade Drain Cleaner

You can make an effective drain cleaner from average kitchen essentials

apple cider vinegar and baking soda in jars
An easy and homemade solution to annoying clogs.

If you have exhausted the previous techniques, we recommend making a DIY drain cleaner to help unclog your drain. All you have to do is pour 1 cup or baking soda down your drain and then follow it with 1 cup of vinegar. After your mixture is in the drain, seal the top of the drain and wait for about an hour so your concoction can start breaking down any clogs. After about an hour, rinse your drain a few times with boiling water.

6. Call a Professional

Not every clog can be fixed with a home remedy, and that’s ok!

plumber looking at drain pipe underneath sink woman in the background
Sometimes it takes a professional to effectively unclog a drain.

If you are still unsure how to unclog a drain in your home after following our tips, it's time to call a professional. Luckily, at Restano Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we can complete any residential or commercial drain line repairs and cleaning. We only complete repair work using experienced, licensed plumbers who use professional equipment that meets our standards. So, give us a call today and let us get your pipes back up and running.