5 tips on how to unblock a drain

5 Tips on How to Unblock a Drain

A clogged drain can be a real nuisance, and yet it’s one of the most common plumbing issues people experience. Most of us are all too familiar with the tell-tale signs: the water in the sink, shower, or tub that takes longer to drain, the gurgling noise coming from the drain, the raised water in the toilet, or the unpleasant odors in the kitchen and bathroom. They all point in the same direction – you’re dealing with a blocked drain.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be a highly-experienced plumber to fix this kind of problem. You can roll up your sleeves and save the day yourself. So, if you’re ready to take matters into your own hands, here are some simple tips that can help you unblock a drain in no time. 

Drain cleaner 

When faced with a blocked drain, one of the handiest and most hassle-free solutions is to use a drain cleaner. It makes sense as you probably have one around the house anyway, and all you have to do is pour some down the drain and wait for it to work its magic. Most people reach for chemical cleaners because they’re more effective, but we have a word of caution here: chemical drain cleaners fall in the category of heavy-duty cleaning products that, if used incorrectly, can cause further damage or even pose a threat to your safety. So, you must follow the instructions written on the product label to a T. 


Another item that can be of help in this situation and most people already own is the good old plunger. This old-fashioned method is as effective as ever and can get you out of trouble faster than you can say clog. However, it does require a bit of strength to use the plunger. You must place the cup of the plunger over the drain, making sure it creates a tight seal, and then push and pull the plunger repeatedly with quick thrusts. If you hear any noises, remove the plunger and check if the clog has been removed. You might not be successful the first time you give this a try, but don’t lose hope. Repeat the procedure two or three times before calling a plumber to bring more heavy-duty equipment.

Wire coat hanger

Since you’re no plumbing specialist and you don’t have professional equipment at your disposal, some improvising wouldn’t hurt. So, let’s get back to one of the oldest tricks in the book: the wire coat hanger. Using it won’t be pretty, but as long as it can help you clear the clog, there’s really no reason to complain. Straighten out the wire coat hanger and then create a hook at the end of it. Then push it past the drain cover until you find the blockage. Try to pull out the debris and the residue that was blocking the drain carefully, so you don’t cause any damage to the pipes or push it further down the pipes. 

Baking soda and vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar are a match made in heaven for unblocking drains. The recipe is simple: mix 1/3rd of a cup of baking soda with 1/3rd of a cup of vinegar and you have the perfect solution for clearing your drains. Pour the solution down the drain as soon as it starts to fizz, and let it work for an hour or overnight. Then run some hot water and you’re done. 

If the DIY approach does not work, call a licensed plumber with the right equipment

If you’ve tried all of the methods above and still haven’t managed to unclog your drain, it might be time to throw in the towel and call in a professional plumber to get the job done. The blockage you’re dealing with might be too stubborn to handle it yourself, so it’s best to contact an expert to fix it.  

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