Everything You Need to Know About on How to Unclog Any Drain at Home
We can all agree that there is absolutely nothing worse than having a clogged toilet. Any clog at all is an annoyance that we usually try and fix immediately, trying all of our self taught home remedies for clogged drains that we know, using any makeshift tool we can find around the house.
We’ve all heard that gurgling sound like our kitchen sink has a sore throat. This is a sign that the drains in your home are in need of deep cleaning. Before we can get to the cleaning, we have to know how to clear pipe blockage and remove the clog. A clog in the kitchen sink is a different type of clog than the one that happens in the bathroom toilet and will require different tools and methods in order to solve the plumbing issue.
All the same, we play Mr. or Mrs. fix it, summoning the little plumber we think we have inside us. Want to know a secret? The truth is, we are capable of unclogging, cleaning and maintaining any drain in our homes without the added expense of a professional plumber. The solution is just to follow the step by step clogged drain home remedy and your water will be back to flowing in no time.
The main drains in your home each with their own challenges
From the kitchen to the bathroom, the garage and laundry room, there’s not many rooms in your home that don’t have drains. Where there are drains, there are clogs and where there are clogs, drain cleaner like Liquid Plumr follow not too far behind. The problem is some drain cleaner products can do more damage than good to the pipes in your plumbing system and it is not one drain cleaner suits all. Don’t worry, there are remedies for clogged drains that can save you from having to buy chemical drain cleaners like Liquid Plumr, so you can save your money.
What’s clogging your toilet: The common causes and what to do before calling a plumber
Let’s tackle the slow drains in our bathrooms. What are some of the common causes of clogs in our bathroom sinks, toilets, showers and tubs? What type of drain cleaner can we use and what tools are recommended to use to clear clogs.
We’ve all tried flushing the toilet and instead of the usual spiral of water pushing the toilet paper and waste down the drain, we see no movement or worse, the water begins to rise. The bad yet obvious news is, you have a clogged toilet and flushing, though normally the answer, is no longer helping. If the water has risen to the top or even overflowed, it is much too late by this point to use a plunger. You might want to hold off on calling the plumber as there are much more effective ways on how to get a toilet unclogged and with regular maintenance can keep those clogs from recurring.
Here’s what the professionals like Mr. Rooter Plumber say are the most common causes of a clogged toilet. There are more obvious causes like excessive toilet paper and foreign objects and there are also causes that are lesser known.
What Exactly is A Hard Water Stain?
Simply put, hard water is a high concentration of minerals like dissolved calcium and magnesium in your water supply. The problem with hard water is that once these minerals calcify (harden), they form a white substance in the toilet drain pipes that are very difficult to remove. This causes the blockages that normal waste cannot flow through that leads to a clogged toilet.
The best known remedies for getting rid of hard water clogs are not so much tools than they are every day house hold items like vinegar:
You can use many different types of vinegar: white vinegar, apple cider vinegar or whatever you have on hand. If these types do not get the job done, look into purchasing cleaning vinegar, as it is more acidic and will break down the calcium and lime deposits much faster.
How to Get rid of the Hard Water Stains you can see
- Pour some vinegar in a spray bottle, squirt and apply it to any surface where you would find hard water stains.
- Let it sit for 5 to 15 minutes to give the vinegar time to break down the minerals in the chalky white stain. Saturate paper towels and apply it to larger surface areas like your shower door and walls.
- Spray it again if you see it start to dry. It must stay saturated.
- After soaking, scrub the treated surface with a tooth brush. ( It is recommended to use a brush with larger bristles for larger surfaces).
As for the stains you can’t see like those that build up in the pipes of your toilet, the vinegar method is a bit different but still all natural and the best toilet unclogger.
How to Get a Toilet Unclogged from the Hard Water Build Up You Can’t See.
- Pour one cap of distilled white vinegar into the toilets overflow tube. ( This is located in the toilet tank.
- Let it sit for at least 30 minutes before flushing.
It’s Time to Get Your Deteriorated Pipes Replaced by Professionals
There are a multitude of reasons why the pipes in your drain line deteriorate. The use of harsh chemicals found in your everyday drain cleaners like Liquid Plumr overtime will destroy your pipes. They can crack, break and even collapse due to heavy rainfall, a drastic change in temperature, regular wear and tear or just simply having old pipes. Once there’s a break, it will cause your toilet’s drain to slow down and clog.
This is a bit less common and is well outside the scope of anything you can do at home. This would be the time to call a company for professional services reach out to a professional as you will most likely need a repair or replacement of the pipe in your toilet if it damaged. Located in the Connecticut area and in need of drain cleaning, repair or replacement? Call the most reliable company; All Things Sewer & Drain Care & Power Washing for a free estimate.
Do you have a Foreign Object stuck in the Toilet?
This might be the number one reason most people have or feel the need to call a professional plumber. We know that accidents do happen and sometimes things like your child flushing their toys for fun or something falling into the toilet and getting flushed unknowingly can and does cause the clog in your toilet.
However, It isn’t only the kids at fault because there are also many adults who are flushing a lot of objects that should not be flushed. For instance: baby wipes, feminine hygiene products, cotton balls, other paper products like paper towels and even hair. These are all products that should be thrown away.
Step by Step: How to Get a Toy out of the Toilet:
- Remove the water from the toilet bowl: Scoop out the toilet bowl water with a reusable or disposable cup or container, but make sure to leave enough water in the bowl to cover the plunger which you will need later.
- Grab the end of the toy, if you can see it in the drain, and pull it out: If you can see the toy but cannot grab a hold of it, you may want to use an old wire hanger or other hooked object to fish out the toy or object.
- Plunge the Toilet: If you cannot see the object at all, time to call in the help of your trusty plunger. Giving it a few good thrusts will usually dislodge the object and send it down the drain.
- How to use a toilet auger or snake to unclog toilet: Insert the auger into the toilet down the drain and begin twisting. This kind of motion is meant to help dislodge the object or catch it so that you can pull it out.
- You can try a drain cleaner: You may want to try this method as often times, the toy may get entangled in toilet paper and other debris, thus forming a clog, blocking the water from flowing as it should and causing a slow drain. If you must use a drain cleaner, we recommend using one that is all natural like Green Gobbler that is not only odorless but non-caustic and non-corrosive, so it’s safe to use with septic systems.
YES, That’s right! Even Toilet Paper Can Clog Your Toilet
This may not come as a surprise, but there is such a thing as using too much toilet paper. Some of the most stubborn clogs are caused by excessive use of toilet paper. This is an item that can and should go down the toilet, but too much of it will definitely clog your toilet drain.
A plunger may not always get the toilet unclogged but here is a remedy with a few simple steps you can try before calling a professional plumber.
Let’s get all the Tools and Ingredients You’ll Need:
- A pot of boiling water
- 1 cup of baking soda
- 1 cup of vinegar.
Here’s How to Dissolve A Toilet Paper Clog:
- Pour the baking soda into the toilet bowl
- Then pour the vinegar (only pouring a little amount at a time so it doesn’t cause the toilet to overflow). The mixture of baking soda and vinegar should start to fizz and bubble.
- Let it fizz and bubble for about 20-30 minutes
- Once you see the water in the bowl start to lower, you can now pour the pot of hot water which should break up the toilet paper allowing it to go down the drain.
Same Clogs, Different drains: The Bathroom sink, tub and shower
Hand in hand with your toilet is your bathroom sink. We practice a lot of the same daily activities in our tubs and showers as we do in our sinks. We wash our hands and face and brush our teeth daily. Taking a shower after a muddy soccer or football game, washing your hair, scrubbing your feet. All of these regular activities can contribute to very tough clogs to the drains in your shower.
Our bathroom sinks sometimes go through the worst of it when it comes to clogs and there’s almost nothing that hasn’t fallen down the shower or tub drain. Just because it washes away, doesn’t mean it’s gone for good. There is a soap designed to clean many things. We have soap for the teeth: toothpaste, soap for the face and body, and even scrubs. All that we wash away gets us clean but leads to something else getting dirty. Let’s just think about all the things that go down our shower and bathroom sink drains:
We Love Our Hair but Your Drains Don’t.
Is your shower drain clogged with hair? Quite possibly. You probably never knew you had so much hair until the day you have to clean the bathtub drain. Even if you do not brush your hair everyday, your hair falls out and sometimes in your bathroom sink. Once you’ve washed your hair, how do you get hair out of the drain? We usually never even think twice about opening the water and washing the strands of hair we shed down the drain but there is a way to stop hair from going down the drain. You can use a hair catcher. This was invented for exactly the purpose of minimizing the hair that falls down the drain.
How to Use: The three best tools to unclog your bathtub drain
- A Homeowner’s Plumbing Snake- This is can be used to remove a multitude of different clogs in the pipes and drains of your home but is wildly popular in helping to remove the clogs of hair caught in the drains of bathroom sinks, tubs and showers across the country. You can make your own by taking an old wire coat hanger, bending it until it is as straight as possible, making sure it has a hook at one end. These homemade versions can also work, but not as well as a professional homeowner’s snake that you can find at most home hardware stores and it won’t break the bank. You’ll wonder how you and your clogged drain ever lived without one.
- A Plunger- Not only useful for the clogs in your toilet. Just place your plunger over the drain, and fill your tub with water until it covers the base of the plunger. The combination of the air below the plunger and the water above should create the pressure needed to help break up clogs. After you plunge, turn on the hot water to flush any remaining debris.
- Non-Toxic Drain Cleaner (enzyme drain cleaner)-Regular chemically enhanced drain cleaner may be the cheaper option but a non-toxic option will serve not only your pipes in the long run but is much better for your health. Baking soda and vinegar mixtures are a great all natural way to unclogging most pipes and deep drain cleaning.
- Rinse your hair down the drain
- Flush products like baby wipes, feminine hygiene products, paper towel or cotton balls down the toilet. These products are not meant to dissolve and go into the sewer system.
- Throw your feminine hyenine products, etc. away in the garbage.
- Clean the drain basket after every shower
Here’s How Soap Scum Clogs your Drains
I am sure you you have seen the white residue that accumulates on your shower walls. After a deep clean, you are satisfied that you have washed away all the soap scum but your drains are paying the price. As it washes away, it solidifies and sticks on to the sides of the pipes causing a blockage.
Six Simple Steps to getting rid of Soap Scum
- Add a cup of baking soda to about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of vinegar. (This mixture should have a paste like consistency)
- Let it foam.
- Using a sponge to add the paste to the tub or sink making sure to add as much is needed to the areas that are most affected.
- Allow it to sit on the tub or sink for 20-30 minutes.
- Using a brush, scrub the entire area, always in circular motions.
- Rinse and repeat as necessary.
- Pour shampoos or soap down the drain. Letting bar soap fall down the drain is a common way that hair stays caught and clogs your tub and sink drains
- Use a de-scaler or water softener. De-Scalers are great at preventing clogs caused by hard water deposits.
- Use house hold ingredients like baking soda and vinegar. This will save you money.
- Invest in installing a water softener (as a last resort if soap scum is constantly clogging your drain. Installing a water softener removes hard water by adding salt to the water, ultimately changing its natural composition. Please Note: A de-scaler should also be installed to descale the pipes before using a water softener system.
How Sand, Dirt and Debris Clogs Your Pipes
- Painters and construction workers probably have some of the most clogged tubs you could possibly imagine but even the daily showers that wash away all the moisturizer, oils and dirt can fill up your bathtub and bathroom sink drain quickly. The debris from dried paint and mud may wash away in the tub, but does get stuck in the drain. All of the above whether separate or combined can cause a clog that regular drain cleaner may not be able to remedy.
Here’s how we get rid of the Sand Dirt and debris
- Step 1: Boil a kettle or pot of water and pour the boiling water down the drain
- Step 2: Baking soda to the rescue once again. Get the baking soda out, put 1/2 cup of baking soda into the drain and let it sit for a few minutes.
- Step 3: Add 1 cup of vinegar to 1 cup of very hot water, pouring the now liquid mixture on top of the baking soda that’s in the sink. This helps loosen the dirt in your drain.
- Step 4: Cover the drain with a plug and let it sit for 10 minutes
- Step 5: Boil one more kettle of water and pour it down the drain to rinse everything away
- Add Water to a Completely Blocked Drain– If the standing water in your sink or tub isn’t draining at all, the worst thing that you could do is add more water. Despite what you may have heard, the added water pressure will not flush out the blockage.
- Neglect the Stopper/Strainer– Stoppers and strainers are common problem areas in bathroom sinks, since hair can easily wrap around the strainer and trap soap scum. Don’t forget to remove the stopper and clean it.
- Plunge with extreme force- If regular plunging doesn’t do the job, it’s time to find an alternate solution
- Jam the Auger Deeper into the Drain- Once it hits the blockage, there is no need to force it in any further. You should pull it out slowly.
- Always try a plunger on light clogs first
- Snake the drain- Remove the sink strainer and insert the tip of the augur down the pipe and twist the hand crank, that releases the wire cable. Keep feeding more of the snake down into the drain until you feel resistance. This this is an indicator that you have reached the clog. Rotate the auger to break up the blockage.
Any and Everything that is Clogging your Kitchen Sink
When you get home from work, if the first place you go isn’t your bathroom, it is most likely your kitchen. These two rooms have a common interest. They both have sinks where you can and most often wash your hands. Studies even show that a person typically spends anywhere from 30 minutes to a 2 hours at the kitchen sink, probably more during the holidays or if you are a fan of entertaining.
From the potato peels, the fried chicken oil and bacon grease during the meal prep to all the food that doesn’t get scraped off the plate into the garbage and finds it’s way down the garbage disposal. You can thank the following foods and ingredients for the clogged drains in your kitchen:
How Fat, Oil and Grease Keep Your Kitchen Sink Clogged
Just because it is liquid when you are pouring it down the drain, doesn’t mean it stays that way. Ever come back home to a pan of bacon fat you left on the stove since breakfast? It looks different because when these liquids cool down, they harden causing your kitchen sink to clog.
- Put it down the kitchen drain or toilet.- This can and does cause major damage as it cools down and sticks to the sides of the pipes.
- Throw boiling water down the drain
- Use a plunger
- Put the excess and or left over oil or fat aside in a sealable container and freeze it, then throw it away
The Curse of the Coffee Grounds & Starches that Clog The Drain in Your Kitchen
- The makings of the most important meal of the day and all our lunch and dinner favorites. The starch from beans, pasta, potatoes and rice are the four main repeat offenders that cause your kitchen drain to clog.
- Put it down the garbage disposal. Starches like flour can turn into paste making it hard to unclog. These are great bits to use for composting
- Avoid using Liquid Plumr and take the more natural route to drain the standing water in your kitchen sink.
There Are Other Food Particles That Are Not Meant For The Garbage Disposal
Believe it or not, there are foods that should not go down the garbage disposal. Stringy foods like celery can ruin the blades of your garbage disposal.
- Throw food scraps like potato peels, eggs, bones and fruit pits down the garbage disposal. They are too hard and will damage your garbage disposal and lead you down the road to repair or replacement.
- Use a drain stopper- Even for the sink in the kitchen. They usually come with the sink and are there for a reason.
Soap Scum– Where ever you wash your hands, normally there is some sort of soap and many soaps are made from fat. You may be getting clean, but the fat from the soaps coupled with the oil and other food scraps builds up over time leaving your drains clogged.
Here’s What we know so Far: How to Unclog and Clean like a Pro
Drain cleaning can be hard but with the right drain cleaners and your commitment to following the Do’s and Don’ts of regular maintenance, you can have the clean drains you always dreamed of. You can say goodbye to stubborn clogs as a little everyday will go a long way to having less to clean at the end of the month.
The plunger and toilet brush are more than bathroom accessories and there’s a good reason they are permanent fixtures in your bathroom. A drain snake is the perfect plumbing tool that will almost always unclog your sink but also your tub.
Pouring oil, grease, fat and soap down any drain is a sure fire way to start a clog and damage your pipe. They need to be poured into a disposable container and thrown out. Scraping the majority of the food into the garbage disposal or garbage and doing a proper rinse of the plates, pots and pans before putting it into the dishwasher can save you from thinking you have to replace it.
It’s not so much about using chemicals to clean like a pro but about what you use, how you use it and most importantly how often you clean. You too can have clean drains using boiling water, baking soda and vinegar, the power house drain cleaning trio that you didn’t even know your drain needed.