How to Properly Clean Your Drain

Everyone has experienced plumbing odors and slow drains at some point. Before you call a plumber, try these DIY methods to get your drains flowing smoothly again.

  • Avoid using chemical drain cleaner: First of all, don’t be tempted to pour chemicals down the sink. Harsh cleaners are bad for the environment and may erode your pipes if used repeatedly.
  • Clean the sink stopper: Most clogs stem from blockages located near the surface of the drain. Before you attempt anything more drastic, remove the stopper from the sink and clean off any hair and gunk. This may be all it takes to improve drainage.
  • Insert a barbed plastic drain cleaning tool: This inexpensive tool can remove debris from two or three feet down the drain. Insert it after removing the sink stopper to clear out the most common clogs.
  • Pour boiling water down the drain: If grease, soap scum, or other gelatinous buildup is to blame, hot water may be the trick to clearing the pipes. Boil a half-gallon of water and pour it directly down the drain. If the drain doesn’t clear after two attempts, move on to a different method. (NOTE: Skip this step if you have PVC pipes because boiling water could warp the plastic.)
  • Make your own drain cleaner: To give the boiling water method a little more oomph, slowly pour one-half cup baking soda down the drain, followed by one cup vinegar. Cover the drain opening and let the mixture sit for 15 minutes. Then, pour boiling water down the drain to flush it out. (NOTE: For PVC pipes, flush with hot tap water.)
  • Use a plunger: Buy a cup plunger with a flat base designed for sinks. Cover the overflow outlet or the drain in the adjacent basin with a wet cloth. Then, fill the sink high enough to submerge the plunger’s cup. Thrust the plunger up and down several times with sharp, quick movements. Remove the plunger and run the faucet to see if the clog has cleared. Repeat as needed.
  • Unclog the p-trap: The curved pipe under the sink may be the source of the clog. Place a bucket under the plumbing and, using pliers, disconnect the plumbing connections. Dump out the contents of the p-trap and rinse it in a different sink before reinstalling it.
  • Rent a plumbing auger: This tool helps you remove debris from deeper down the drain. When you feed the cable into the sink, a spiraled “cutter” on the end grabs and removes hair, string, and other gunk. Both manual and electric augers are available.

If you don’t have the time or patience to try these drain cleaning methods, leave the job to Hoover Electric. We offer comprehensive drain cleaning services, with solutions designed to cut through grease, soap scum, food particles, paper, hair, and even stubborn tree roots. To learn more about our techniques, or to schedule drain cleaning in Clinton Township, please contact us at (586) 756-5676.

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