Blocked drains usually require the attention of professional plumbers; but there are a number of simple home remedies you can try on clogged drains before picking up the phone to dial the emergency plumbing number.
This can save you time and money, not to mention an overflowing sink, so why not check out some of the methods below.
Unclogging a drain can be easy
Drains can become clogged for a number of reasons, but the most common are: food, hardened grease, soap residue, foreign objects, debris, and hair.
These items can all cause either a complete or partial blockage. If some water is going down the drain then it is usually less serious and you can try to remove it yourself.
The following simple methods may be effective in unclogging your drain:
Use a plunger
Fill your sink half full and make sure you are not wearing your best clothes! Before forcing down on the plunger make sure there is water in it (not just air) as you will use the water pressure to clear the blockage. Place it completely over the sink hole and press down firmly but slowly. Repeat if water starts draining slowly. If it drains quickly away you have been successful.
The coat hanger method
Straighten out a wire coat hanger and bend one end over to create a small hook. Work this past the drain cover to remove hair and gunk. Afterwards run the hot water to get things moving freely again.
Use a drain snake
A drain ‘snake’ can help remove more stubborn blockages, especially hair or other debris. A flexible coil of wire literally ‘snakes’ through the drain and can locate and dislodge the cause of the clogging.
The hot water method
If the clogged drain was caused by a build up grease then the simplest remedy is pouring hot water. Water from the tap is probably not hot enough (as the grease has built up despite the tap water) so it’s best to boil some water in a kettle or a large pot first and simply pour it slowly down the drain.
The Coke method
Coke or Pepsi is often better for a drain than it is for the lining of your stomach! This is because of its acidic content. For some clogs it works just as well as commercial clog removers. Coke or Pepsi at room temperature can be poured slowly down the drain; then leave it for an hour or two before rinsing through with hot water.
Baking soda and vinegar
Sprinkle a small packet of baking soda down the drain, followed a healthy dose of vinegar. This will fizz in the drain. It’s best to leave it overnight and then rinse with hot water in the morning. This can be effective in breaking down more stubborn, solid matter over time. Other similar approaches include baking soda and salt with hot water; and washing soda with hot water.
When is it best to contact a blocked drain expert?
If none of the above six methods work you will probably need to call out blocked drain professionals. The best plumbers have more sophisticated equipment to diagnose and remove stubborn clogs, including drain cameras.