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When a sink becomes completely clogged, it can be a major nuisance. Thankfully, there are a few techniques you can use to get the problem under control. One of the most basic ways to clear a drain is to pour boiling water down the pipe. This helps dissolve grime and grease that may be causing the blockage. Contact Shreveport Plumbing Company for more information.
Salt and baking soda
Many people reach for heavy-duty chemical drain cleaners when a sink or tub drain becomes completely blocked. However, these harsh products can damage the pipes and cause expensive repair bills. Instead, clear a clogged drain using household items like salt and baking soda. This natural alternative works well for mild to moderate clogs and is much safer than commercial products.
First, heat a large pot of boiling water or use a tea kettle on the stove. Pour the hot water slowly down the clogged drain to break up any solids. You may have to repeat this process several times before the drain is fully cleared. Be careful not to spill the boiling water, as it can burn you.
Next, mix equal parts of baking soda and salt in a jar with a sealable lid. Add the mixture to the clogged drain and cover it with a cloth or the drain stopper. Allow the solution to sit and fizz for about an hour or overnight if it is a very stubborn clog. Once the fizzing stops, flush the drain with a pot of hot water to remove any remaining baking soda and salt.
This simple mixture of baking soda and salt dissolves clumps of organic waste and grease. It also has slight disinfectant properties that can help to combat odor-causing bacteria. If you regularly clean your sink with this mixture, it can help to prevent clogs from forming in the first place.
If you’ve tried this method and still have a clogged drain, consider using a wire coat hanger to fish out any remaining solids in the pipe. A wire coat hanger won’t be able to reach as far down your plumbing pipes as a plumber’s snake, but it can be a good choice for kitchen sink clogs that are difficult to break up with other methods. If the clog is severe, it may be necessary to call a plumber. A professional can diagnose and fix the problem quickly and efficiently.
Vinegar and baking soda
Baking soda and vinegar are a household staple that can be used to clean drains and clogged sinks. This DIY solution is less expensive than commercial drain cleaners and safer for your pipes. It is also an effective drain cleaner for minor clogs and is easy on your plumbing system. This life hack has been around for generations and received renewed interest after a TikTok challenge gained momentum in 2020.
Vinegar and baking soda are a powerful mixture that produces carbon dioxide gas and causes a vigorous reaction to help break apart clogs. It is important to note that this solution works best on small clogs. It is not as effective on grease or hair, which are the main culprits behind most drain clogs.
First, remove the drain cover and any materials that may be clogging the sink, like hair or food. Next, pour a cup of boiling water down the drain to flush it. This will wash away any grease or fat that has accumulated on the walls of the pipes. You can use boiling water that has been heated in a pot on the stove (be careful not to pour it directly down the drain, as this can damage PVC pipe seals).
Pour half a box of baking soda into the sink drain and then one cup of white vinegar. The audible fizzing will help break apart clogs and dislodge them from the sides of the pipes. The bubbling action also helps release odors caused by bacteria. Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes and then flush with another pot of boiling water.
If the clog is not completely gone, try again in a few days. Repeat this process until the clog is completely broken up and your sink is clear of blockages.
For a more effective drain cleaner, you can substitute the vinegar for lemon juice or cream of tartar. The acids in these products are stronger and will be more effective at breaking down grease and hair than vinegar. In addition, these products are much more environmentally friendly.
A plunger can remove a sink clog using the power of physics (specifically Boyle’s Law). When you seal the cup over the drain opening and push it down, you increase the pressure in your pipes and move water and any clogs downward. Then, when you pull the handle up, the suction reduces and pulls water up along with any clogs. This “sloshing” motion usually dislodges most clogs and leaves your sink or toilet working normally again.
When you’re ready to plunge, first pour a little petroleum jelly over the plunger bottom to help create a tight seal. This will keep the plunger from popping off the drain and losing its effectiveness. Also, don an apron to protect your clothing in case the plunging gets messy.
Before you begin, turn off the water and cover the drain opening with a cloth or rag to prevent water from spilling out. Then place the rubber bell of your plunger directly over the clogged drain opening. Make sure it’s completely submerged in the standing water. Start by pushing down on the handle — gently at first — to force any air out of the plunger. After that, quickly and forcefully thrust the plunger up and down in quick, concentrated movements for about 20 seconds.
Repeat the plunging if necessary to clear the clog. If it doesn’t, there may be a larger blockage in your plumbing. For example, your P-trap or S-trap could be blocked with grease, minerals, or household cleaning products. These are serpentine sections in your drain that provide a seal against sewer gas, so it’s important to keep them clear of these materials.
If your clogged sink doesn’t respond to these home remedies, it’s time to call in the professionals. Paschal Air, Plumbing & Electric can diagnose and repair any problems with your pipes and drains so they’re working properly again. Just give us a call! We’re always happy to help.
A plumber’s snake is an efficient tool to use when a clog has not responded well to a plunger. Also known as an electric eel or toilet jack, the plumbing snake consists of a long coiled wire with a hook on its end that can be maneuvered with a hand crank (for at-home snakes) or a motor (for professional-grade snakes). The snake is capable of drilling into a clog and breaking it up so that water can flow freely again.
Before you start snaking, put on rubber gloves and prepare the area. If possible, remove the p-trap (the curved bit of pipe that sits under your sink) to eliminate any obstructive materials in the trap. If you’re unable to do this, place a bucket underneath the drain to catch any materials that might drip or fall.
Next, uncoil the plumbing snake and push it into the drain. If you’re using a manual cable auger, rotate the handle in a clockwise direction to lower it down the pipe. Keep rotating the handle at a constant, steady pace until you feel resistance. This is when you know you’ve reached the clog.
Once you’ve felt the clog, slowly wiggle the snake head to break it up and dislodge the blockage. If the clog is particularly stubborn, try twisting the snake head back and forth. When you’re satisfied that the clog is removed, reverse the direction of the snake and pull it up.
Once you’ve successfully snagged the clog, flush the drain by running cold water down it at full power. Repeat the snaking process as needed until your sink drain is fully functional again. To prevent a clog from reoccurring, avoid letting large food scraps or grease wash down the drain. Throw away any big food scraps instead of putting them in the garbage disposal, and install strainers or screens in your kitchen and bathroom drains to catch larger particles before they wash down the pipes. Also, remember to run the garbage disposal on a regular basis to dislodge any leftover food. If you do find yourself with a persistent clog, call your local plumber to get it fixed professionally.