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How can I Fix a Clogged Drain?

Article Details
  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Images By: Ussatlantis, Hsagencia, Vidady, Adam Engelhart, Igor Sokolov
  • Last Modified Date: 19 September 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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One of the most annoying things ever is dealing with a clogged drain. You want the water to go down quickly, but it just won't. Before you start to envision those huge professional plumber bills, realize there are steps you can take to fix a clogged drain yourself. Save calling a plumber as your last resort.

Your first step should be clearing the drain of debris. If your drain has a strainer, you'll want to remove it. With some sinks, you can simply reach down and pull or twist the strainer out. In other sinks, you'll need to squat down and find the pivot rod that connects to the strainer; remove this rod and lift the strainer out. Clear the strainer of any debris, and see whether that's taken care of the problem.

If your clogged drain is in your kitchen sink, your clog is likely to consist of food particles. If it's your bathroom sink, you're probably dealing with hair mixed with healthy portions of soap scum. You'll have to get this out of the way if cleaning the strainer didn't work. Try a drain auger, which is also called a snake.

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To fix a clogged drain with an auger, make sure the strainer or stopper is removed, and then put the auger wire into the opening. Crank the handle of the auger as you push the wire further into the pipe. If the auger wire finds debris, move the wire back and forth while you turn the handle. Finally, pull the wire back out of the drain slowly, continuing to turn the handle at the same time.

Some people recommend using the often harsh chemical drain cleaners you find in supermarkets and home-improvement stores. It's worth noting, however, that they tend to be very harsh and can damage your pipes as well as harm the environment once they go down your drain. Likewise, they can damage your skin and eyes if you happen to get them splashed on you. Instead, it may be better to try a natural drain cleaner and use chemical cleaners as a last effort before you call in professional help to clear your drain.

Make your own drain cleaner by pouring a small amount of baking soda down your drain and then following up with an equal amount of vinegar. There will be foaming and fumes, which are not toxic. If they bother you, put the drain cover over the drain loosely or leave the room while it works. You should let this sit for about 3 hours; repeat this step if it fails to clear your clogged drain. Some people also recommend flushing a clogged drain with boiling water a couple of times.

Don't forget to try good, old-fashioned plunging. There must be some water in the drain, so add enough water to cover the plunger head if necessary, but don't fill the whole sink. Place the plunger head over the drain, so that it covers the whole opening. If your sink has an overflow drain, use a towel to cover it to prevent the water from coming out that way. Push the plunger down and pull it up, using quick motions to unclog the drain.

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