How to Fix a Clogged Drain 

 May 17, 2017

By  Xion Lab

If someone ever asks you about how to fix a clogged drain, we can assure you that they will be facing a lot of misery in their life, all of which can be blamed on the said clogged drain.

When someone’s apartment is regularly flooded with dirty and stinking water from the kitchen sink or the shower drain and they don’t know how to fix a clogged drain, they must be suffering from sleepless nights because of the lack of hygiene thanks to their bathtub, shower drain flooding, or from hunger pangs because no one would want to cook or eat in the kitchen when it is a stinky mess. Therefore, when someone loses all hope and come to you and ask about how to fix a clogged drain, never send them back with an “I don’t know”.

It is the social responsibility of everyone to learn how to fix a clogged drain. In case you don’t know too, read on and learn it by heart. But before that, let’s discover some of the main reasons behind it and their kinds.

How to Fix a Clogged Drain

Where does Drain Blockage Happen?

We don’t need to be a plumber extraordinaire to know the technicalities involved in drains being blocked and the system behind it. However, in order to be a pro at fixing a clogged drain, we at least need to have some knowledge of how it works. Basically, there are 2 kinds of drain clogs in our homes; a sink clog and a main line clog.

1.  A Sink Clog:

A sink clog is one which only affects one drain at a time. Usually, it is any sink’s drain or a shower drain; it can be a toilet drain as well though! These kinds of sink blockages usually happen due to an accumulation of hair strands, lint, or any foreign object blocking the passage way to the drain line.

2.  The Main Line Clog:

The main line clog is a matter of serious concern. While it does not happen as often as a sink blockage, it still creates lots of trouble for the occupants. In this kind of clog, knowing how to fix a clogged drain will come in super handy because when the clog is in the main line, things can get a lot messier and stinkier.

Why do Clogs Happen in Old Homes?

The reason behind clogs could be countless. Some old houses are not constructed logically and thoughtfully. The angle of the pipes might make it easy to get clogged, or maybe the end of the drain pipe is too near the backyard where leaf and other materials can cause clogs in the drain.

Sometimes, the drain pipes just become so old that rust begins to appear in them, resulting in these rusted parts breaking off and falling into the drainage line, or forcing the pipe itself to burst and disintegrate.

In any case, unless the problem is too serious and requires one to replace all the pipes, only a plumber can help you. However, in case the clog has occurred just because of some foreign objects stuck in the drainage system, anyone can handle the situation. All they need to know is how to fix a clogged drain.

Why do Clogs Happen in New Homes?

So, while old homes suffer from clogged drains because of various other reasons, the new ones which are made and constructed perfectly get clogged for entirely other reasons. Let’s discover some of the main reasons why drains get clogged so frequently in some of our houses:

1. The Sludge and Slush:

Clogs don’t happen for a specific reason and instead, it is mostly because of a lack of care and cleanliness routine. Months and months of usage cannot force the drain to remain spin and span. At first, leftovers and small bits and pieces happen to accumulate together and form a kind of sludge. Then, this sludge gets so big that a time comes when it eventually clogs the drain.

2. Leaves and roots:

Main lines get clogged because they get attacked by the roots and other debris from the backyard and other tress nearby.

3. Remodeling and reconstructions:

Drilling a hole in a wall causes too much mess and debris. So, any reconstruction or woodwork in the house ends up clogging the drains.

4. Grease and Fat:

One of the most common culprits behind clogged drains is the grease and fat that we usually yet unintentionally end up putting down our drains. It usually happens in the kitchen sink where we wash our plates and dishes full of grease.

Most of this grease ends up going down the drain and clogging the entire pipeline. Over time, this grease becomes a stubborn and thick barrier, making it impossible for the water or any liquid for that matter to pass through, ending up creating a backflow of water.

5. Hair:

Hair is the prime reason behind more than half of the drain clogging that happens around the world. Not only are hair strands light in weight and end up getting sucked inside the drain, most shower drains are the recipient of too much hair everyday which eventually ends up forming a hair ball inside the drain and causing a nasty blockage in the process.

As a matter of fact, even a few strands of hair form crevices and spaces for more of the dirt to stick and accumulate in the drain. To deal with a drain clog such as this, one must know how to fix a clogged drain to deal with it.

6. Foreign Objects:

When foreign objects find their way into the drain, it ends up clogging it badly. Unfortunately, living in a house with pets, kids and adults means that these foreign objects will end up in the drains in one way or another. Toys, soaps, clothes, or anything that has absolutely no chance of melting or slipping through the drains not only end up clogging it, but also ends up forming an opportunity of sorts for even other materials to stick to it.

The end result is a very stubborn blockage and a very bad smelling house.

drain cleaner

How to Fix a Clogged Drain?

Clogged drains occur too frequently and you can hardly call a plumber every time your drain starts to act up. Hence, knowing and learning how to fix a clogged drain will save you from loads of trouble.

Not only will it save you money by fixing the drain yourself, you will also be able to learn the methods to prevent it in the future and you’ll know what to do when your drain starts backing out water in the middle of the night or early in the morning. There are only a few drain blockage situations that you cannot deal with yourself.

Here is your guide to learning how to fix a clogged drain:

  • Boiled Water:

It’s smart to start with the simplest. You don’t want go through all the trouble of finding different tools and ingredients to fix your clogged drain only to discover in the end that it was probably nothing that a pot of boiling water couldn’t fix.

Remember how we talked about grease and fat accumulating in the drain and blocking the pipes and forbidding anything to pass through? Nothing can push or pull that kind of sludge other than a kettle full of boiling water. Let the water boil in your kettle and pour it down the drain. The grease and fats will melt right away.

You’ll need to wait a few seconds to observe the results. If the dirty water begins to go down the drain, it is a sign that you have accomplished your task. Just flush the drain and continue doing whatever you were doing without so much as a hitch in your day’s agenda.

A little precaution though; with metal pipes, you won’t need to worry about the temperature of your boiling water but in case of PVC pipes and plastic pipes, the water can also melt the plastic right away. So, instead of a puddle of dirty water, you’ll now be looking at a dirty river flowing in your sink.

Make Your Own Drain Cleaner:

You don’t need to be a chemist to prepare your own drain cleaner at home. It is no rocket science, and you won’t even need to step out of your house to find the products to prepare this dexterous concoction as most of the ingredients which go into making one can be found at home. You just need to know the right combination.

Let’s discover how to fix a clogged drain using home-based ingredients:

1. Baking Soda and Vinegar:

Baking soda and vinegar combined together make one of the best drain cleaners in the entire world. Don’t believe it? Try it yourself. All you need to do is fill a cup with baking soda and pour it directly down the drain that is clogged. Once it has reached its destination, pour vinegar on top of it in the same amount.

You’ll see bubbles fizzle and pop right in front of your eyes. Let it happen and cap off the drain so that the insides of the drains are affected by the concoction to the fullest. Once the bubbles have settled, leave it for half an hour and flush. A clean and sparkly drain will be staring back at you. If it’s the toilet, you can simply repeat the same process; however, instead of letting it sit, just flush everything directly.

2. Caustic Soda:

Caustic soda is a bit risky so make sure that all the pets and children are out of the house and your hands are covered with gloves and your eyes are well protected. Any asthma patients must also be moved out of the house. The need for all this precaution is the chemical affects of caustic soda. It consists of sodium hydroxide which can cause burns; therefore, make sure that it stays away from the skin.

Next, fill your bucket up to 3/4th of its quantity and add 3 cups of caustic soda to it. Mix the concoction well by using a wooden stick. As soon as it starts to bubble, pour it directly into the troubling drain. Let it sit for about half an hour and then, pour a kettle of hot boiling water over it. Any grease, fat, hair, or sludge clogging the drain will most probably go down the drain.

3. Washing Detergent:

Washing detergent usually looks like something totally ineffective but they are best for at cleaning the drains. This one is more affective not only when the drain is clogged, but also when the smell is too pungent. This method is most effective for cleaning a clogged toilet.

It is very easy; all you need to do is pour a small amount of dish detergent in the toilet and pour hot boiling water on top. Mixed together, it will become a soapy mixture and will do wonders to not only clean the toilet, but also to get rid of the putrid smell emanating from it. For more affective results, start plunging soon after you have poured down the hot water. The detergent helps in cutting the grease and lubricating while the plunger will easily push the blockage down and solve your problem.

4. Chemical Cleaners:

If you are desperate, have less time, and are not too concerned about the environment and nature, you can go for market available chemical cleaners. However, you should know that they are not every affective and usually do more harm than good; a total waste of money for one and a danger to the atmosphere for another.

Only when you cannot find any other way to clean your drain, have run out of options, and none of the aforementioned ingredients are available at home, only then should you use it as your last hope.

5. Vacuum Cleaner:

A wet and dry vacuum cleaner is probably one of the best techniques to deal with your clogged drain; it is surely a work of a genius to come up with this idea. A clogged drain usually needs full blown pressure to unclog whatever is blocking the drain. A vacuum does just that.

A high power vacuum cleaner will pull out even the most difficult and largest obstacles. As far as the vacuum is concerned, make sure it is the dry wet one and change the setting to wet before using it to fix a clogged drain.

6. Cleaning the Pipe:

Sometimes, all the trouble is originating from the sink pipe itself and the blockage is not even as far as the main pipeline itself. For dealing with a blockage like that, first make sure it is the sink pipe that is causing the trouble. Once you are sure, just clean the pipe. No need to cringe as far as the plumbing jobs go as it is the least dirty of them all.

All you need to do is unscrew the pipe and quickly place a bucket underneath it so that you don’t get showered with water. Next, remove the trap from the pipe and turn it over into a garbage bag so that everything blocking the pipe spills inside. If you have a long stick that can pass through both ends, use it to clean the pipe. Once you are satisfied, fix it back into place and enjoy a clean drain.

drain cleaner

Preventing Drains from Clogging:

As they say, prevention is better than cure, so why let the drains get clogged in the first place? While it is good to learn how to fix a clogged drain, it is even smarter to know how to prevent it from happening in the first place. Here’s how you can be careful and stop your drains from clogging:


Make sure that you have scraped every single bit of food from the plates before washing them in your sink. If the plates are greasy, boil water and pour it on the plates so that the grease leaves the plate and does not get a chance to accumulate in the drain.


Make sure that a minimum hair strands get stuck in the drain. If it does, clean it on the same day you think your hair might later cause problems. Keep your drains capped and doors closed so that no foreign object enter the drain.

Learning how to fix a clogged drain will not only help you deal with non-cooperative drains, but will also help you in emergency situations.



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