How to Clear a Clogged Drain

Woman using plunger to unclog the drain of a stainless steel kitchen sink.

How to Easily Unclog a Drain in Your Kitchen or Bathroom

There is nothing quite as frustrating as a clogged drain in your home's sinks, tubs, or toilets. They can make normal tasks (such as washing or flushing) extremely difficult - and messy. Unless you have an excess of kitchens or bathrooms in your home, they also need to be taken care of as soon as possible. Luckily there are multiple ways to deal with a clogged drain in your home, though some are more effective than others.

While unclogging a kitchen sink or a shower drain is certainly something you can attempt yourself, not everyone has the time to spend on unclogging their drains. That’s where Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Southeast WI comes in!

If you need help unclogging your drains, call us today to schedule an appointment, or contact us online!

How to Unclog a Shower Drain or Kitchen Sink

If the water isn’t draining fast enough in your shower, or if there is standing water in your kitchen sink, these are good signs that your drain may be clogged. If you suspect a clogged shower drain or kitchen sink, you can attempt to unclog it by pouring a store-bought drain cleaner down the drain. However, if you aren’t a fan of pouring chemicals down your drain, you may want to consider using a more natural method.

If you want to attempt to unclog a show drain naturally or without tools, you can try any of the following:

  • Boiling Water - You can try slowly pouring boiling water down the drain to try and dissolve the blockage (this method is not recommended for use with PVC pipes, as it could damage the pipes)
  • Vinegar & Baking Soda - You may be able to unclog the drain with vinegar and baking soda by mixing one-third cup of baking soda with one-thing cup of vinegar and pouring the mixture down the drain. Use something to cover the drain and allow it to sit for about an hour. After an hour has passed you can pour hot water down the drain to rinse it out. The mixture of vinegar and baking soda helps break apart any clogs.
  • Salt & Water - Another method similar to the vinegar and baking soda method is to mix equal parts salt and hot water (we recommend about 1 cup of each) and pour the mixture down your drain. Repeat this process several times before flushing the drain with cold water.

Why Do My Shower Drain or Kitchen Sink Keep Clogging?

If you find yourself having to unclog your shower drain or kitchen sink quite frequently, there may be another issue that needs to be addressed. Here are some common causes of drain blockages, as well as some quick tips for how to keep your drains clean.

Shower clogs are most frequently caused by the following:

  1. Hair buildup - The best way to prevent hair buildup is to invest in a hair catcher. This is a filter that covers your drain and captures any hair before it enters the drain. You can then remove the hair catcher and clean it out regularly.
  2. Soap buildup - The best way to fight soap buildup is to pour clean, boiling water down the drain at least once a week.
  3. Mineral buildup - Finally, if you believe the blockage is caused by a hard water or mineral buildup, you may want to consider investing in a water softener

Kitchen sink clogs are often caused by:

  1. Oil or grease buildup - If you are in the habit of pouring things like bacon grease down your kitchen sink, you may want to reconsider. Oil and grease can quickly build up inside your drain and cause a blockage, preventing the water from draining. Instead of rinsing oil or grease down your drain, try wiping it up with a paper towel and throwing it away before washing your dishes.
  2. Undissolved food particles - This is particularly common if you don’t have a garbage disposal in your sink. If you’re in the habit of rinsing food particles down your drain, these can quickly build up and cause the drain to become clogged. One method for keeping your drain clean is to use a mesh drain strainer to catch larger food particles before they go down your drain. The strainer can then be removed and cleaned out regularly.
  3. Improper use of garbage disposal - If you do have a garbage disposal in your sink, it’s still possible for food to cause blockages if you aren’t using your disposal properly. Always be sure to run cold water while running your disposal, this helps usher food particles down the drain and keep them from getting clumped together. You should also avoid putting things like eggshells, coffee grounds, and bones down your disposal, as these are hard for it to process.

Do Store Bought Drain Cleaners Actually Work?

There are many products on the market that claim to be able to quickly and easily clean out clogged drains and pipes. Some are made with hardcore chemicals, while others promise to be a more natural alternative. It is a good idea before purchasing any of these drain cleaners to do a bit of research beforehand. Try and assess what kind of clog you are dealing with (food, hair, toys, garbage) and if a chemical method would be effective in dispelling them. Spend some time online looking for reviews of different drain cleaners, what kind of clogs they worked well on, and any negative results other people had when using them. This way you should have a good idea of what might work best for your situation. In some situations, these are not advised as you may cause damage to your pipes.

Should I Call a Plumber for a Clogged Drain?

In some cases a simple cleaning may not be enough to clear your clogged drain. Your drain may need to be disassembled in order to reach the blockage and clear it. Some drains are made to be taken apart relatively easily in the case of a problem. If you have such a set-up, and have experience in pulling it apart to remove clogs and fix other issues, you can try this method. However, if you pull apart the wrong drain or pipe pieces, crack a seal or washer, or even fail to put a big enough bucket (or any bucket) under the drain when you pull it apart, you could cause a much bigger problem than you had in the first place. If you aren't exactly sure where the clog is, you may end up pulling the system apart and still not being able to fix it on your own. In situations like this, it’s probably in your best interest to call a professional plumber.

When In Doubt, Call In a Professional!

Hiring a professional Southeast Wisconsin plumber to deal with a clogged drain can often be the best way to deal with it. A professional will be able to assess the situation, find the clog, figure out what kind of clog it is, and go about removing it in the best fashion. They'll know how to pull apart your drain or your pipes with the least amount of damage, and they'll be able to put the system back together again properly once the clog has been taken care of. They'll also be able to suggest ways to keep clogs from happening in the future, so you won't have to call someone to help you deal with one again for a very long time.

Get help clearing your clogged drain by calling Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Southeast WI today! You can also contact us online to set up an appointment.