We all clean our teeth, take a shower, put the washing on and do the dishes. But as we do so each and every day, how often do we think about when it all goes wrong? We’re talking about drains. Handy when they work, and more than just a smelly problem when they don’t. So today it’s time to explore: How to unblock a drain?
Unblocking drains: here’s the low-down
Now it might seem silly, but the best ‘cure’ for a blocked drain is that it doesn’t get blocked in the first place! What we’re talking about is things like:
- Not pouring grease into the sink
- Using a drain screen
- Throwing an occasional handful of baking soda and hot water into the sink.
But if those gargling sounds are no longer getting rid of what you’re trying to dispose of down the drain, and you’ve swung out the ball of hair and made yourself tired with the plunger to no avail, what on earth should you do next?
Before calling your plumber, you might like to try these simple remedies for how to unblock drains:
1. A coat hanger
Especially if pulling all sorts of gunk out of the drain hole didn’t work, this is a great place to start. Why’s that? Because all that gunk indicates that there could be a whole lot more lurking just out of sight. And going into the wardrobe for this simple household tool can be an easy solution to that unclog drain problem.
So unravel a coat hanger and create a hook at one end. Now it’s time to go fishing and hope that what you find is an unblock drain miracle! Just make sure you don’t squish all that gunk down and make the blockage worse.
2. Baking soda
Baking soda – it’s not just for preventing drain blockages! It’s also a brilliant answer to that question of how to unblock a drain. It’s been shown time and time again that when you mix it with extremely hot water, it can be enough to put that clogged drain back in working order.
But sometimes, unblocking drains need a little more. To step it up a notch, try adding some vinegar itself (and don’t worry about the fizz, that’s perfectly normal!). Pour it all down and after an hour, your blockage could be magically fixed.
3. Caustic soda
Especially if the baking soda-plus water water-plus vinegar solution did half the job, it could be time to get out the big gun – caustic soda. Just be aware that it’s very bad for your skin and your eyes.
4. A wet vacuum
Unsurprisingly, a wet vacuum is a lot like a normal vacuum – except it can get wet! So as long as you get a powerful one, don’t be shy to try it to unblock your shower, sink or another drain.
Be aware: it’ll only answer your question ‘How to unblock drains’ if you create a great seal over the opening. Just make sure there’s plenty of room in the vacuum bag for all that built-up gunk.
The final tip: don’t overstep your DIY
As far as the DIY you’re allowed to do on your home’s plumbing system, the list above just about sums it up. Beyond trying to tempt a blockage out of the pipe or changing a tap washer, just about everything else has to be done by a licensed tradesperson.
Here are additional tips for unblocking a sink drain.