Drain Cleaning DIY

Woman plunging kitchen sink
Clogged drains are some of the most common plumbing problems in the home. It’s important to address clogs as soon as you notice them; otherwise, the material will continue to accumulate until the pipe is fully blocked, taking your clogged drain from a minor inconvenience to a major one. In many cases, clearing minor clogs from your home’s drains is an easy DIY project. However, if you aren’t sure what to do or the solutions below haven’t worked, contact your Longview plumber for the professional help you need to clear your drain quickly and effectively.

Chemically Clearing Your Drains

One of the first drain-cleaning solutions most homeowners reach for is a bottle of drain cleaner. Unfortunately, most drain cleaning chemicals are not a good long-term solution. These products can cause injuries or permanently damage your plumbing if overused. There is good news: enzymatic drain cleaners are safe and “green” because they contain bacteria or enzymes that eat the organic components of the clog to eliminate it. Alternatively, you can make your own drain-cleaning solution by mixing one cup of vinegar with 1/2 cup of baking soda inside your drain.

Plunging Your Drains

While drain-cleaning chemicals use chemical or biological reactions to clear a drain, you can also clear a clogged drain physically using a plunger. To plunge a clogged drain, place the plunger directly over the drain, making sure the rubber lip is flush with the surrounding surface. For a plunger to work properly, there must be enough water in the sink, tub, toilet, or shower to cover the lip of the plunger, so you may need to add water first. Push down and pull up on the plunger’s handle several times without pulling the plunger away from the drain. This will create suction, which should dislodge the clog in your pipes. After about ten repetitions, pull the plunger up in one smooth motion. If the clog has been cleared, the water will flow down the drain. If not, you may need to try again; plunging may take a few tries to effectively loosen a stubborn clog.

Snaking Your Drains

plumber snaking a drainYou can also use a snake (sometimes called a hand auger) to physically clear a clogged drain. A snake is a hand-cranked length of wire that can travel into the drain to break up and dislodge a clog at the site. To snake your drain, first, remove the drain cover. Insert the end of the snake cable into the drain, rotating the handle clockwise to push it through the pipe. When you feel resistance, you’ve found the clog. Twist and pull the cable, which will break up the clogged material. You may also be able to hook some of the material and pull it out using the cable. After you feel you have broken up the clog, pull the cable out and flush the drain with water to see if you’ve successfully removed the clog. It may take several tries to push or pull the entire clog through your pipe.

While it’s a great idea to know how to clear your own drains, there are times when a professional touch is needed. Don’t hesitate to contact your plumber if you need a hand with clearing your Portland drains. You can also find more plumbing and home maintenance tips when you follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus!

How do you clear out clogs?

  • I’ve always reached for the liquid plumber—time to rethink my strategy!
  • I am an expert with a plunger
  • I’ve got some experience with an auger, it’s a good skill to know

How Much Does It Cost to Clean Out a Drain?

If your DIY drain cleaner didn’t work, it might be time to call a professional. Drain cleaning costs will vary depending on several factors, including the severity of the clog, the location of the clog, and the plumbing company you choose. Expense is correlated directly with how long the clog will take to fix and how many plumbers it will take to fix it. A small bathroom drain cleaning will take less than an hour and only requires one plumber to fix, but a problem with your main sewer line will require more extensive work and will take longer. On average, drain cleaning can cost anywhere from $100-$400, but prices can rise from here depending on the state of your plumbing system. If you need pipe replacements, the cost will increase.

Additionally, some plumbing companies charge by the hour, which can cause your bill to rise with every hour the project remains in progress. Mr. Rooter charges upfront, flat-rate fees, so no matter how long it takes us to clean your drain, your bill won’t change. We also don’t charge overtime fees, and we’re available for plumbing emergencies 24/7.

Call us to request an estimate today!

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About the Author: Steve Ferree, Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Portland

Steve has been a trusted Mr. Rooter owner of Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Portland since 1999. With over 20 years to back him, Steve has experience with a wide range of plumbing-related solutions and systems. He and his team specialize in drain cleaning, sewer repair, re-piping, and more.