How to Open a Clogged Drain 

 April 16, 2017

By  Xion Lab

No matter how careful we are, we’ve all experienced a clogged drain in our kitchen as well as our bathrooms. The occurrence leaves the water standing in our drain as well as making our house smell really bad. This can become particularly embarrassing if you have guests at your place.

With frequent drain blockage, you may also worry about how to open a clogged drain. Well, for that, you may need to call up an expert. But what if you do not have the time for that? Or what if they are unavailable due to any reason? In such a case, you may want to know how to open a clogged drain yourself. For that, you have several options. Most of the ways are simply DIY techniques.

So let’s explore the answer to how to open a clogged drain below.

How to Open a Clogged Drain

How to Open a Clogged Drain? – Know the Reasons First

Do you know why your drain gets clogged frequently? You may not know the exact reason behind it but it is generally because of the various substances and dirt that make their way down the drain. You may not do it intentionally, but certain things might get stuck in the drainage pipe out of the blue.

If you also often experience blockage in your bathroom and kitchen drains and are wondering how to open a clogged drain, here are potential reasons that you may need to determine first.

1. Built-up Soap

This happens with your bathroom drains, laundry drains and lavatories. When you take a bath using soap, a time will come when the soap will accumulate down the drain and block it up. Although it may feel like the soap passes down easily, but it actually gets built-up on the walls of the pipe. This happens very slowly and over a long time. This is why it is best to run hot water down the drain more often so that it does not cause blockage.

2. Hair Clumps

This is again another major cause of blockage in the bathrooms. Clumps of hair start clogging up the drain if they are in large quantities. Most of the time, hair seems really easy to get out or remove from the drain cover, but it’s not just about what you see up there. Some of the hair might already have gone inside the pipe. This can cause a lot of issues later on.

Hair fall is natural and may occur during taking a bath in the shower or when you are using the sink in the bathroom. It is good to remove the hair when you find them, or even during or after taking a bath in the bathroom. If you leave it for later, there are chances that you may make the situation worse and experience a clogged drain.

3. Plants

In addition to our own follies, there is also natural grime, dirt and debris like shrubs, trees and leaves that can cause issues in the drain pipe. So, if you are wondering about how to open a clogged drain, keep the season in mind. Plants will generally hinder the drainage process during autumn. When leaves start falling in this season, they are likely to get stuck inside the pipes that are outside your house.

Ensure that the lawn is raked regularly to maintain the drainage pipes and curb the amount of leaves left flying in the breeze.

4. Grease

Just like soap and hair in the bathroom, grease is one of the common causes of drain blockage in the kitchen. Fatty substances used in our kitchen unintentionally block our kitchen sink and do not let the water flow smoothly. But how does this happen? Well, when you wash oily dishes and crockery, it results in built-up grease inside the pipes.

Now, you may wonder how those little drops of oil can cause blockage down the line, but when you wash dishes on a daily basis and cook food using oil, the fatty substances and grease keep collecting on the walls of the pipe over time and cause drain blockage.

A simple way to avoid this kind of blockage is to wash the dishes using warm water. You can also pour a mixture of baking soda and vinegar down the drain to avoid a clog (given below). Otherwise, you will surely want to know how to open a clogged drain due to grease build-up.

5. Toiletries

If your child likes throwing and flushing things in the bathroom, then you may be able to relate to a clog due to this issue. While children are immature, even adults often dispose-off the toiletries by flushing them in the bathroom. Many people do this intentionally, thinking that the nappies or baby wipes will fall into pieces and disintegrate, but unfortunately, this does not happen.

These materials are solid in nature and do become swollen, but do not break up. In fact, they absorb the water inside the bowl and enlarge, blocking access to the drains and pipes. Avoid this kind of clog by disposing off the toiletries in the trash bin.

6. Storms and Rain

Blocked drains are really common during the wet season. Due to heavy rainfall, drains will experience a flooding of water. Also, when storms and heavy rain hit your area, there are chances that debris blockage will need to be cleared out. For this, you have to ensure that your gutters are cleaned during this weather.

When you clear the gutters or pipelines, all the elements that could potentially cause a bigger blockage are removed from the premises. This type of drain cleaning though; may require you to call up an expert or a plumber as DIY techniques may not work as effectively as a professional.

7. Poor Installation

At times, poor installation of piping can also result in drain blockage. When the pipes, drain, and other aspects related to it are not properly fixed, it is likely to result in poor drainage of the water.. When the installation is not done appropriately, there is no way you can get a good and smooth water flow.

If you are also looking for an answer to how to open a clogged drain because of poor installation, you need to call upon a plumber or a professional expert. They will help you in fixing the pipes and get a smooth water flow.

8. Broken Pipes

Just like poor installation, broken pipes also require professional attention. If your pipes are too old, they may have worn out and cracked. Also, there is a chance that they have broken down due to intrusion from tree roots.

When pipes fracture, they are more likely to create blockage. This is why, if you are looking for answers to how to open a clogged drain, then you should also inspect your pipes firsthand. If the blockage is due to broken pipes, no DIY technique can help. Get them repaired or replace them with the new ones with the help of professionals.

drain cleaner

How to Open a Clogged Drain? – Tips to Unclog the Drain

Now that you know the warning signs and potential reasons for drain blockage, you may want to know how to open a clogged drain. Blocked drains are really messy and a nuisance to deal with. If you do not like doing the work, simply call upon a professional, as they can help you diagnose the reason behind the clogged drain. They will also help you resolve the blockage issue seamlessly.

If you do not have the time to call them up or want to try DIY techniques, here are some tips to unclog the drain. Read this section carefully to learn the core processes of how to open a clogged drain.

Tip # 1: Baking Soda and Vinegar Concoction

One of the magical ways to unclog your drain in a short time is to use the miraculous concoction of vinegar and baking soda. According to experts, vinegar is one of the best ingredients that wash away all the dirt and grime down the drain. All you need to do is to take equal amounts of vinegar and baking soda in a cup. Normally, 1/3rd cup of both ingredients is recommended.

A fizzy mixture will be formed which will then efficiently work to remove the grime, hair, gunk and debris inside the drain. Pour that fizzy mixture down the clogged drain and let it sit for one hour minimum and overnight at the max. After that, you can flush hot water down the drain. Ensure to pour the water down with pressure so that it unblocks the drain properly.

Tip # 2: The Bent Wire Hanger Trick

If you are wondering how to open a clogged drain, using a bent wire is a technical yet simple hack for your clogged drain. This is a very simple hack that helps you in unblocking your drain using a regular coat hanger. All you need to do is to take a wire hanger and straighten it as best as you can. After that, bend it at one end, making a small hook. Once the hook is made, push it through the drain cover and start picking the grime under it.

This may sound nasty to you, but it is one of the easiest methods and catches all the grime and hair clumps inside the drain. Make sure that you do not push the gunk inside, pull it out instead. When you think that you have taken out all the dirt and the drain seems to be clear, simply pour hot boiling water with pressure down the drain.

Tip # 3: Caustic Soda Trial

To explore how to open a clogged drain, caustic soda is one technical tip that should be tried cautiously. It is not very dangerous but it does require some protection for safety. Caustic Soda is a strong chemical and can help you best with unclogging the drain. Before we tell you how to use it, make sure that you have gloves and eye protection. Caustic soda can help burn the nasty chemicals. Take a bucket full of water and add three cups of caustic soda in it. Make sure that you stir it well and you will see that it will become bubbly.

That fizzy concoction will work against the blocked drain. You will also see that it will begin to heat up. After mixing it well, pour the bucket into the clogged drain and leave for at least half an hour. After that, you can flush the drain, pouring hot water into it with pressure. Your drain will get unblocked after this, but if you still find some grime left and the water is not going smoothly, you can repeat the same procedure at least thrice in a week.

Tip # 4: Add Hot Boiling Water

No other tip can get easier than this one. Boiling water can really be helpful when you have small blockages down the drain. All you need to do is to put the kettle filled with water on the stove and let it boil. After boiling it, slowly pour the water down the drain in two to three stages.

Do not pour the water with pressure here. Let it work for a several seconds between all pours. Aside from all other tips, this is one of the most common and easiest tips you can follow to unclog your drain. After doing this, there will not be any standing water in your bathroom or kitchen sink.

Tip # 5: Clean the Pipe

This is the most basic thing that may come to your mind whenever you ask yourself how to open a clogged drain. Of course, when your pipe is filled with nasty stuff, it will not let the water pass through it smoothly. This is where you might think that it is time to clean the pipe.

If you clean your pipe timely, this problem may not occur at all. In order to clean the pipe, all you need to do is to take out the drain pipe and simply wash it. This will remove all the dirt and grime and other materials that were stuck inside the pipe and let the water flow smoothly.

drain cleaner

How to Open a Clogged Drain? – Prevention is a Better Alternative

No doubt, drains get clogged at the worst possible time, such as during events or when you have your house full of guests. Now that you have understood the tips on how to open a clogged drain, you will be able to unblock it successfully whenever needed.

But how about exploring some maintenance hacks that will prevent your drain from getting clogged unexpectedly? Sounds great, right? Here are some maintenance tips to let your water flow smoothly.

1. Pop-Up Stopper Cleaner

As the name implies, this is a pop-up cleaner that acts as a stopper for dental floss, hair, and all the nasty stuff that unexpectedly goes down the drain. To keep your drain from getting blocked, you can place this pop-up stopper on your drain. You need to make sure that you clean this timely though, otherwise, the water flow will not be smooth. When you find that the bathroom sink is draining slowly, it is time to clean the stopper.

2. Catch the Hair

So, the worst and most nasty thing that causes drain blockage is the hair and soap. Our hair falls when we take a bath, but often, we do not bother to clean them there and then. This later causes severe blockage. But what if we catch the hair before it’s too late? Yes, we can pull the hair out of the tub or sink during or exactly after taking bath. This can reduce the chances of drain blockage in the long run. Make a habit of cleaning your bathroom timely to avoid blockage issues in the future.

3. Do Not Throw Food Waste in the Sink

Sometimes, we do not bother disposing off the food morsels in the bin and just wash the dishes. Besides this, people often throw food wastes like tea leaves, left over pulses and more, in the sink as well, believing that the food waste will break up inside and pass down the drain.

Unfortunately though, the food waste which we throw inside the sink goes inside the pipes and gets stuck in them, not letting the water flow smoothly down the drain. This is why food waste should only be thrown inside the garbage bin.

4. Do Not Use the Toilet as a Bin

This is also similar to the point discussed above. Often, homeowners throw personal hygiene items inside the toilet and flush them away. They have a similar belief that the napkins, baby wipes, ear wax cleaners, etc are small elements and will disintegrate inside the water. They actually cause blockage in the drain later on though.

Final Thoughts

Clogged drains can be really very nasty. Also, they can become much worse if you do not clean or maintain them properly. Now that you know how to open a clogged drain and maintain it to prevent blockages in the long run, make sure that you follow the tips in a timely manner. Good luck!

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