Is there anything more frustrating than finishing a sink full of dishes only to find the dirty water will not go down the drain? This is a common occurrence in homes around the world and sends many homeowners to the yellow pages for a plumber. However, before you spend big money on a professional to get rid of clogged drains here are a few things you can try at home first.
- Many drains have a strainer in place, especially in the kitchen. These are used to prevent food particles and more from getting down the drain and causing problems. In the bathroom, they are used to prevent a buildup of hair and other debris. It could be that your strainer is completely full, thereby holding back the water. If you are lucky, simply clearing this item will solve your problems.
- Unfortunately, most of the time the issue is not your strainer and is instead deep in your drain. Grease, food and other debris rinses down the drain only to become stuck to the sides narrowing the passage way until it is completely blocked. If you would rather not purchase commercial drain cleaners, you can make your own at home with common household items. Sample recipe:
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1 cup table salt (some recipes omit this)
- 1 cup vinegar
- boiling water
Pour the baking soda, vinegar and salt down the drain and allow the solution about ten minutes to work on your clog. Follow this solution with a saucepan (or larger) of boiling water. The vinegar, salt and baking soda will foam and loosen the clog while the boiling water helps rinse it away.
- When the clog is not severe, you can many times clear it with a good old-fashioned plunger. These tools have a rubbery upside down looking bowl on the end of a long wooden handle. Place the cup directly over the drain and begin working the handle up and down to force the clog on through your drainpipes. One word of caution here, never use a plunger after applying any type of chemical clog remover, even natural alternatives. The solution could come back up forcefully and splash your face or skin.
- A particularly stubborn clog may require more plumbers like tools. The best tool would probably be a plumbers snake, available at hardware stores and many chain retail stores. These are actually long lengths of coiled but flexible wire or fiberglass that you insert into your drain in order to break up or loosen clogs. You can follow the snake with boiling water as well for a more effective treatment.
- An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and nowhere is that more appropriate than drain clogs. If you happen to have a very stubborn clog getting rid of it could require the assistance of a plumber, and they are not cheap! Preventing clogs can be as simple as installing strainers on each drain, setting up cans or canisters for grease collection and flushing the system with boiling water periodically. You can also use the homemade solution every so often to keep your pipes clear of debris and if you want to neutralize odors pour a cup of lemon juice down the drain occasionally.