How To Clean A Drain – 7 Methods

Plumbing drains need cleaning, it’s a fact of life.  If you are running into this inevitable chore and are looking for suggestions on how to do it, you have options.  Chemical cleaners are fast, but can be tricky.  Physical scrubbing takes a little work, but can take on the most persistent grime.  No matter what method you choose, there are steps you can take to get the best results. With proper care, you’ll be able to get your skinks, toilets, and tubs looking new.

Can Chemicals Unblock Your Drain?

Do not use harsh chemicals to clean your drain.  Store bought cleaners can corrode your pipes, and potentially cause permanent damage to your plumbing.  That said, there are some chemicals that can be used safely.  

Vinegar and Baking Soda: One of the most affordable ways to clean a drain is with vinegar and baking soda.  Start by pouring water down your drain to flush out lingering debris.  Afterwards, pour in about ½ cup baking soda.  Following that, add 1 cup vinegar with 1 cup hot water.  Once your drain starts bubbling, cover it with a tight plug to keep your foam from coming out.  Let it stand for 10 – 15 minutes, then flush your pipes out one last time with water.    

Enzyme Cleaners:  Natural store bought cleaners made from enzymes can break down organic materials without damaging pipes.  While they take longer than the more caustic options out there, they definitely do the job.  They can be costly though, so you will need to research brands that fit your budget and needs.

Salt, Borax, and Vinegar:  Mix ¼ cup salt with ¼ cup borax (Sodium Tetraborate). Pour it down your drain.  Following this, add ½ cup vinegar to start the reaction.  As with vinegar and baking soda, cover your opening with a stopper to keep your chemicals contained.  After 10 -15 minutes of action, flush with hot water to finish the job.   

Mechanical Methods for Drain Cleaning

If you are asking about how to clean your drain without chemicals, you’re in luck! Plungers, drain snakes, and vacuums can all be used to effectively clear out lingering grime.   What you use is up to personal preference, though some methods work better than others depending on the situation.  

Plungers:  If you have clogged pipes, plungers are a great way to clear them out.  There are two styles available depending on the type of drain you are servicing.  The first design consists of a long stick with a rubber flat bottomed cup.  It can be used to make a good seal on sinks and tubs.  Once a seal is made, with a few good plunges, most clogs can be dislodged, returning your pipes to working condition.  

The second type of plunger is designed for use on toilets.  It looks like the flat plunger, but it has an extension on the bottom that fits into the bottom of your bowl.  While a flat plunger will work on toilets and vice versa, having one of each in your home can be helpful.  

Drain Snakes:  A drain snake is composed of a long cord with a wire bulb on one end, and a crank on the other.  Cheaper basic models can be used to clear out debris form your drains up to 3’ deep.  In order to properly use a snake, push it down your drain and crank the handle until it scrapes out any debris.  Once you feel you have got the debris in your pipes cleared, pull the snake out, and clean the bulb for future use.

Vacuums (Wet/Dry Vac): Wet/dry vacuums can be used to clean out blockage in your pipes.  First, plug your shop hose into the exhaust port on your vacuum.  Next, take the free end of the hose, and make a tight seal with your drain.  Turn on your wet/dry vacuum to blow air into your pipes.  Once done, switch the hose to the suction side of your vacuum.  Insert it back into your drain, and suck out any materials you can.  Repeat as necessary.

Professional Help: Clear Stubborn Drains Today

All of these methods can help clear a basic stoppage, but if your clog is more serious you may need professional help. If you are having issues with plumbing drains at your home or business in McKinney, Allen, Plano, or elsewhere, and run out of ideas on how to clean your drains, professional intervention can help.  Hackler Plumbing is available to help talk you through what might be going on, and if needed can often come out the same day to service your home or business.  

Call us today to schedule your drain cleaning. Mention this ad, and take advantage of our special discount!



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