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Expert Tips for Cleaning a Clogged Drain

Plumbers Checking Sewer Manhole With Borescope Inspection Camera

Whether you own a home, rent a home, or stay temporarily somewhere, it’s always a good idea to understand how and why a drain can clog–and how to unclog it! Cleaning a clogged drain may seem gross and annoying initially, but the more preventative care you take with your drains–and the more you know how to fix them–it will be as easy as 1-2-3. Soon you’ll be able to clean and clear a clogged drain after you’ve read the expert tips below!


One of the first things you should do if a drain in your home is clogged is to asses the drain. Ask yourself: what type of drain is it? A sink drain? A toilet drain? A dishwasher drain? A hose drain? A bathtub or shower drain? The different types may indicate what is causing the clog. 

Once you’ve clocked what type of drain it is, you can continue to check other areas: are any other drains clogged? If so, this clog may be a small indication of a larger issue. However, if only this singular drain is clogged, you can simply check this one! You can check an individual drain by clearing any standing/still water by mopping it up with a paper or cloth towel(s), disconnecting this drain if it’s a dishwasher or hose, and then using a flashlight or simply peering in to see what could be causing the clog. If you can’t see anything, it may be time to move on to the next step: clearing the clog!


Once you’ve identified what is (or isn’t!) clogging your drain, it’s time to move to the second step: clearing it out! You can do this in a few ways: 

  1. Using a natural solution: one quick fix you can create with household items is mixing baking soda, vinegar, and boiling water and pouring these down the clogged drain. Not only is this a natural solution that won’t add extra chemicals to your home and water system, but it’s also much faster than running to the store! Most households have these three ingredients, making it a sure and fast way to solve clogs!
  2. Using a chemical solution: if you have more time or just need something stronger to dissolve and clear a clog, a chemical solution is the easiest to get the best results at cleaning a clogged drain. You can purchase chemical treatments from grocery, convenience, and cleaning supplies stores. They come in various options, which can be tailored to the type of drain, type of clog (if you could figure it out), and the amount of drain-clearing solution needed. 
  3. Using a physical solution: one solution you may also have is a drain snake. They have little hooks or abutments attached to a long cord-like plastic line and pull back up! This physical motion is typically enough to loosen or bring back up any physical materials clogging your drain. Common clogs can be caused by excess hair, hardened toothpaste, other materials, or even a toothpaste cap! 
  4. Using a combination of the above: a combination of the above is most effective for extra stubborn clogs. You can use both the natural solution and a physical drain snake or a chemical solution and drain snake. Be careful about mixing different chemicals such as baking soda, vinegar, and chemical cleaning solutions, as you can easily create noxious gasses!


Now that you’ve checked and cleared your clog, you can start cleaning the un-clogged drain! Cleaning your drain after unclogging it is important as it performs two tasks:

  1. Clears away any last or remaining remnants of the clog, and
  2. Helps prevent any further clogs in the future! 

You can clean your drain regularly in a similar way to when you cleared it. You can try natural solutions such as pouring boiling water down your drain regularly, pouring boiling water with a combination of baking soda and vinegar (which also kills fruit flies and other pests!) or vinegar and salt, or buying a drain cleaner to use regularly. Whichever you choose, just be sure to use it regularly–about once a month and at least once a year with a deep cleaning which you can hire a plumber to do!

Top Tips 

Now that you know the steps to cleaning a clogged drain, it’s time to learn some expert tips. Keep reading to learn more. 

Tip #1: Regular Maintenance

As stated above, regular maintenance is crucial to keeping drains cleared and clean! That’s why it’s one of our top 3 tips for cleaning a clogged drain. The more often you check and clean your drains–be the shower, bathtub, sink, clothes washer, or dishwasher–the more likely they’ll remain clean and less likely they’ll get unnecessary junk backed up in them!

Tip #2: Patience is Key

The next top tip is that keeping your cool and patience as much as possible is key. Although boiling water can help a clogged drain, a hot-headed handyman cannot! Clogged drains can take time to fix, and if you rush to shove a drain snake down or a chemical solvent before identifying the issue, you can make the problem worse than it already is–that’s why checking if anything is stuck in the drain first is important. The blockage could be something that can’t be dissolved by a chemical solution or is too big to be pushed or pulled back up by a drain snake. Patience is key, just like a great plumber is!

Tip #3: Less is More

Our final top tip for cleaning a clogged drain is that sometimes less is more. Like tip #2, sometimes it’s better to use less and see what happens, just like it is to wait and take some more time to assess. Suppose you jump the gun and pour chemical solutions down the drain when a simple fix of baking soda, vinegar, and boiling water can do the trick. In that case, you may have wasted time, money, and resources, expending extra effort into a simple fix. Taking your time may seem like taking too much time, but it saves you from wasting energy later on!

Need to Consult an Expert? 

Contact Goodbee Plumbing today to consult a plumbing expert on any drains, be they clogged or unclogged, today! 

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