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How to Unclog a Drain: DIY Tips and Tricks

Every homeowner at some point has to face the unpleasant situation of dealing with a clogged drain. From a slow draining sink to a completely blocked bathtub, clogs can be a nuisance. However, before you reach for the phone to call a plumber, there are several DIY methods you can use to try and clear the clog yourself. Let’s dive into some easy, practical steps to unclog your drains.
using a plumbing snake to clear a clogged drain in a sink

1. Use a Plunger

The plunger is the quintessential tool for unclogging drains. For simple clogs, it can often do the trick. Here’s how:

– First, block any overflow outlets. For sinks, this will be the holes near the top of the basin. 

– Fill the sink or tub with enough water to cover the base of the plunger. 

– Place the plunger over the drain, ensuring a tight seal.

– Use rapid, forceful plunges to try and dislodge the clog.


2. Try a Plumber’s Snake or Hand Auger

If a plunger isn’t successful, a plumber’s snake, or hand auger, is a more aggressive tool. It’s a long, flexible metal rod that’s pushed down the drain to dislodge the clog.

– Push the end of the snake into the drain and turn the handle to drive it further in. 

– Once you hit the clog, twist and push the snake to break it up.

– Pull the snake out and run water to see if the clog has cleared.


3. Use a Coat Hanger

In a pinch, a straightened wire coat hanger can also be an effective tool for removing clogs, particularly those close to the surface.

– Straighten the hanger but leave a small hook at the end.

– Push it down the drain and try to hook the clog to pull it out.

– This method is particularly useful for hair clogs in shower and bathtub drains.


4. Try a Homemade Drain Cleaner

If physical methods aren’t working, you can try a homemade drain cleaner. A simple, yet effective solution uses baking soda and vinegar.

– Pour half a cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by half a cup of vinegar. 

– Wait 15-20 minutes and then rinse with hot water. 

– The chemical reaction can help dissolve the clog.


**Important:** Avoid using chemical drain cleaners if possible. They’re harsh on your pipes and bad for the environment.


5. Use a Wet/Dry Vacuum

If you have a wet/dry vacuum, it can be a powerful tool to unclog drains.

– Set your vacuum to vacuum liquids. 

– Cover the vent to prevent a mess.

– Create a seal over the drain. 

– Turn on the vacuum to its highest setting to attempt to suck the clog up and out.

Remember, while DIY methods can be effective for minor clogs, serious or recurring problems might indicate a bigger issue. If you can’t clear the clog yourself, or if the same drain keeps clogging, it might be time to call in the professionals. Rapid Response Plumbing can help diagnose and address the problem, ensuring your drains are clear and functioning perfectly. Call us today!

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