How to Unclog a Clogged Drain 

 May 12, 2017

By  Xion Lab

Have you recently been faced with an unclogged pipe in your home and are thinking of ways how to unclog a clogged drain? Well, if you go online and type how to clog an unclogged drain, as of today, you will come across around 424,000 results that guarantee that they have got the best advice to offer. But majority of them recommend chemical-based formulas that should always be your last resort when it comes to figuring out how to unclog a clogged drain. Clogged drains are one of the most common plumbing problems every homeowner faces every now and then. When one finds that their house or apartment is regularly flooded with unwanted water due to a clogged pipe in their bathroom or kitchen sink, they have no clue about how to unclog a clogged drain. Hopefully, after reading this blog, we can assure you that you will have more than once answered the how to unclog a clogged drain question. Before we head on to the methods that perfectly sum up the how to unclog a clogged drain question, let’s learn a little bit about why drains clog, what are the most common spots and what items are the most common culprits in causing a causing a drain to clog.

Once you learn of the ways, we can guarantee that when someone comes questioning how to unclog a clogged drain, you will have valuable advice to give them.

Unclog a Clogged Drain

The Most Common Clog Spots

Even though there are many places that can clog up in a house, there are three that are most prone to clogging. Usually when people are looking for a suitable answer to how to unclog a clogged drain, they are mostly talking about any of these three hotspots. What are they and how to unclog a clogged drain if it is in any of these three places has been mentioned below.

Internal Passage:

Internal passages are present within a toilet and usually get clogged when something solid blocks the way. Children’s small toys are the most common example.


Traps are the bent portions in the pipes beneath the sinks, bathtubs or showers. They usually get clogged or blocked by things like hair, or grease. The more gunk gets drained, the bigger the blockage becomes, ultimately choking the water path completely.

Drain Pipe:

Drain pipe clogging is often a more serious clogging and may require assistance of a plumber. But if the blockage isn’t serious or hardened enough, you can easily make it go down the drain using any of the how to unclog a clogged drain methods mentioned in the later section of this blog.

Once you have identified where the blockage actually resides, the next step involves determining what caused the blockage in the first place.

The Reasons behind Clogged Drains:

Many a times, it isn’t the clog that is the actual issue but the unidentified things that cause the pipes to clog. In order to answer your how to unclog a clogged drain question, we need to first identify the real cause behind it. In this section of the blog, we are going to list all those items that are usually the prime cause of clogs in everyday homes. Once you understand the cause, only then you will be able to learn how to unclog a clogged drain. The cause could either be:

1.  Plants:

You will most definitely have clogged drains every once in a while if you live nearby a forest or surrounded by trees. The roots of the plants keep looking for sources of water and the sewage systems are their first choice. The roots stretch well beyond miles underneath the ground, sometimes clogging up drains. Although uncommon, plants can also be one of the major causes of blockage in your pipelines.

2. Hair:

Hair is the most common example of items that clog drains. But preventing loose starnds of hair from going into the drain hole during showering is a little tricky for many reasons. First, hairs don’t clog drains until a huge ball of hair has formed and second because hair fall is inevitable. The problem worsens during fall and winters when human hair naturally tends to fall. Now imagine the accumulation of hair of three to five people in the house using the same shower. You shouldn’t be surprised to find a clogged drain, but be surprised if you don’t find one.

3. Foreign Objects:

It isn’t uncommon in a house with kids that every now and then some little toy, soap or shampoo bottle is dropped in the toilet. Many a times, it goes unnoticed by parents as it gets pushed by the water. But since it is a solid it eventually clogs the drain.

4. Leftovers:

One of the most common reasons of clogs in the kitchen sink are leftovers that knowingly or unknowingly get drained in the sink when doing the dishes. Even items as small as rice grains in large quantity can block up the passage for water. Similar is the case with oils, fats and grease. The frequent running down of fatty and greasy leftovers in the sink finds a permanent place in the bottom of the drain pipe or around the walls of the pipe over some time. The end result is again, a clogged pipe.

drain cleaner

How to Unclog a Clogged Drain: Homemade Drain Cleaners

Making a homemade drain cleaner doesn’t involve you getting a masters degree in chemistry. Not only are they easy to make, they are also the most effective and safest ways to unclog clogged drains. So without any rocket science involved in the process, in this section we are going to teach you how to make your own homemade drain cleaner so that you can have a satisfactory answer to your how to unclog a clogged drain question. The best part, you don’t even have to step out of your home to get all the ingredients used as they are readily available in your home 24/7. Knowing the right combination is the key.

So without further ado, let’s learn how to unclog a clogged drain using homemade drain cleaner.

Hot Water:

This isn’t even a combination, just has one main ingredient and that is hot boiling water. It is one of the smartest and simplest ways to unclog drains, especially the ones that have been taken over by accumulated grease. There is absolutely nothing that can’t be pushed or pulled when a kettle filled with hot water is run down the pipe. All you have to do is bring a kettle/pot of water to the boiling temperature and let the water run through the drain pipe. If it is grease or fats that have settled in the pipe, they will melt right away.

Baking Soda and Vinegar:

Vinegar and baking soda when combined together works like magic. If someone comes asking you how to unclog a clogged drain, this should always be your top answer. It can very well be labeled as the best drain cleaner in the world without exaggeration.

Don’t believe us? How about you try it yourself?

All you need is some baking soda and vinegar in equal quantities. Now there are two ways to make the fizzy concoction. Worry not; they both show the same efficiency. First method involves direct dropping down of the baking soda in the sink pipe and pouring vinegar over it and the second involves taking a small empty utensil, mixing the two ingredients first, letting them fizz and then pouring the concoction in the sink. As soon as you mix the two ingredients together, you will notice it bubbling up. The reaction is what will get all the grease and blockage to unclog the drain. Don’t add any more liquids from top and let the solution sit in for about half an hour. Meanwhile, on the stove, boil a pot of water and let it run after the thirty minutes course is up. You will be left with an unclogged, clean drain in the end.

Caustic Soda:

Caustic soda is a little riskier to work with as it has sodium hydroxide in it that creates fumes. So it shouldn’t be a preferable option if you have little kids or experts running around the house. The fumes, if inhaled can cause health problems. However, if you are still determined, you will need to take a bucket and fill three-fourths of it with water. Next, add 3 cups of caustic soda and stir well with a wooden spoon. The mixture will start to bubble and when it does, pour it in the troubling drain. Allow it to sit there for about half an hour before running a pot of boiling water over it. All the grease, sludge or hair that had been causing the blockage will go down the drain.

Washing Detergent:

you may wonder if this should even be listed in how to unclog a clogged drain list, but let us break it to you that washing detergent actually does wonders when it comes to clogged drains. Not only do they help in unclogging the drain they are also helpful in getting rid of the pungent smell a clogged drain leaves. This is most effective for cleaning a clogged toilet. All you need to do is pour some washing detergent in the toilet and on top of that run some hot boiling water down the drain. Together they will form a soapy mixture and ultimately removed any blockage that stops the water form flowing. If the blockage needs a little more effort from your end, take a plunger and start plunging as soon as you have poured down the boiling water. This is also effective when the clogged drain is actually the kitchen sink pipe. The detergent cuts the grease and helps in lubricating, while the hot water will ensure that all the grease and blockage actually goes down the drain forever.

How to Unclog a Clogged Drain: Enzyme

If you were wondering how to unclog a clogged drain without using any chemicals, living enzymes are also another smart way. They aren’t exactly chemicals but work with the same level of efficiency. They help in breaking down any organic matter or particle that has caused the clog in the drain pipe. Moreover, they also aid in maintaining gunk-free and clean drains and minimize the reek in the garbage disposals. Lastly, if you compare them with the chemical-based solutions, they are much cheaper, safer and effective.

How to Unclog a Clogged Drain: Chemical-based Formulas

When all has failed and the blockage in the drain pipe still persists, chemical-based formulas can also help you with the clog. With the amount off drain cleaning products and solutions available in the market, it is very hard to pick which one is the best. However, there are two that stand out from the rest, ranking high in both effectiveness and cost. They are:

  1. Oatey Glug Drain Opener
  2. Pure Lye Drainpipe Opener

Chemical-based formulas are not the smartest choice for homes with kids or pets and the harmful fumes and toxins can be life-threatening. Therefore, whenever working with chemical-based solutions, ensure that you wear a proper outfit, safety goggles and gloves before tackling that clogged drain.

drain cleaner

How to Unclog a Clogged Drain: Alternative Hacks

It is quite understandable that most people don’t like to get their hands dirty with all the plumbing and cleaning work involved in how to unclog a clogged drain, which is why, we are leaving our readers with some alternative hacks that don’t involve a lot of dirty work. It is hard to guarantee that you will achieve the same effective results as the methods above promise, but they will surely help reduce the severity of the situation and prevent clogging in the future. So, the final piece of advice on how to unclog a clogged drain includes:

Regular Venting:

Regular venting of pipes is another effective way when determining how to unclog a clogged drain. Venting prevents pipes from getting jam-packed, creating a vacuum as a result. The vacuum makes it impossible for the water to flow smoothly. The end result is a water overflow, complemented by bad odor that can leave your house reeking for days.

Pull It Apart:

All those who are not a big fan of chemical or home remedies have the best answer to how to unclog a clogged drain question. Just take it apart. Yes, all they need is their tool box and rubber gloves and you can find them clearing out the blockage with their own hands. They start by taking out the drain pipe that has been clogged, pull out a plumber’s drain snake from their toolbox, get their rubber gloves on and clear the blockage themselves. There is no method more effective than this as it gets the entire gunk that has settled in or around the circle of the pipe out in one go. If you are planning to use the pull it apart method, ensure that you get every last bit of gunk or blockage cleaned before installing the pipe back in its place again.


One of the oldest, tried and tested methods to unclog a clogged drain is to use the plunger. It is that one go-to tool nearly all homeowners have in their home. Used to unclog drains, it is yet another smart and chemical-free method to unclog drains. Ask any homeowner how to unclog a clogged drain and they will tell you to use a plunger. To begin, fill the sink with water. Next, using the plunger, thrust the water a few times and the blockage will itself clear due to the water pressure build up. There are many benefits to using a plunger to clog unclogged drains. First, it is highly cost-efficient, second, it require minimum to no efforts. And this is the quickest way to answer the how to unclog a clogged drain question.

Air cleaner:

Another smart alternative hack to answer how to unclog a clogged drain question is an air cleaner. After trying everything in your power, if the water still refuses to flush smoothly, the air pressure from the air cleaner can help you unclog and push the accumulated grease, fat, hair or any other leftover object that is blocking the way down or out. The sheer force from the air cleaner clears away any blockage without getting your hands dirty.

Although, there are many more methods to learn how to unclog a clogged drain, these few mentioned above have proven to be the most effective when it comes to learning how to unclog a clogged drain. We hope that after reading this blog, you have finally gotten the answer to your how to unclog a clogged drain question.

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