As we clean our teeth, shower, wash the clothes and do the dishes, it’s something we take for granted every day. But when it all goes wrong, it’s much more than a smelly problem. We’re talking about drains.
When you have a shower, you don’t expect a bathroom flood. And you definitely don’t expect those strange gargling sounds and the slightly-more-than-unpleasant smelly drains. But if you ignore it, you really should expect the worst: a completely blocked drain. So unless you like household floods, it’s time to learn how to unblock a drain.
How to unblock a drain: The best cure is prevention
The best ‘cure’, of course, is prevention. By that, we mean avoiding certain behaviours that typically block drains, like pouring grease into the sink, and doing certain other things that can help – like using drain screens or throwing the odd handful of baking soda and steaming hot water into the sink.
But if you’ve retrieved the balls of hair or even got out the trusty plunger and you’ve still got a problem, While a professional plumber may be needed to rectify plumbing issues in many cases, there is the possibility that you can remove the clogs that are blocking your drain yourself.
Whether you need to unblock a shower drain or kitchen sink, these DIY drain unblocking methods can help. For stubborn or recurring blockages it might be time to call in a plumber such as these gold coast blocked drain experts;)
1. Coat hanger
If you put your fingers down the drain hole and can pull out all sorts of hair and smelly gunk, then rest assured there is more beneath the surface – and that could be the source of the blockage.
So get a coat hanger and straighten it out of shape, effectively creating a hook at one end. And then go fishing down the drain! You’ll be amazed how much ‘stuff’ you’ll pull out of the drain, but just be careful you don’t accidentally compact a blockage and make it worse.
And if you want to step it up a notch from the coat hanger, head to your hardware store and browse the shelves for commercial drain unclogging tools such as drain snakes.
2. Open the pipe
If you think the coat hanger just can’t reach that blockage, you could always try going one step further. For instance, for the U pipe beneath your kitchen or bathroom sink, it may not be difficult to simply undo the nuts with a plumber’s wrench – just be sure to put a big bucket underneath and make sure the water is turned off! Once removed, you don’t need us to tell you how to clear that pipe of the blockage.
3. Baking soda
As we suggested above, routinely throwing a handful of baking soda down the drains in combination with some really hot water works a treat when it comes to keeping those drains clear. And it can also be really effective for an unblocking mission.
To make it extra effective, mix that baking soda with some vinegar – and listen to it fizz! But don’t listen for long: pour it down the drain and then let it sit in the blockage for an hour to do its magic.
4. Caustic soda
If you think baking soda did half the job but your drain is still clogged, you could try something a bit harsher: caustic soda. Just be sure to protect your skin and your eyes.
5. Wet vacuum
A wet vacuum does what it says on the tin – it’s a vacuum when you want to go beyond what a traditional dry vacuum can suck up. That also works in the case of a ‘wet’ sink, shower or drain – just create as good a seal as you can over the opening, crank up the power, and don’t be surprised if it puts a huge drain blockage conveniently into the vacuum bag where it belongs.
How to unblock a drain: Conclusion
There are plenty of DIY methods for unblocking a drain and some more effective than others. But if you’ve retrieved the balls of hair or even got out the trusty plunger and you’ve still got a problem, or you just want to be sure it won’t reappear, it’s time to call in professional plumbers. The best plumbers will give you piece of mind with specialised equipment such as CCTV drain cameras and water jetters to unblock a drain quickly and keep it that way!