How to unclog a drain? It’s easier than it sounds!

There are many different ways to get water moving down a clogged and smelly drain. Here is some tried-and-true advice to help get things flowing again.

How to unclog a drain? It’s easier than it sounds!

Start with a plunger

Sometimes all it takes is one or two good plunges over a drain to clear it almost immediately.

  1. First, make sure there is some water in the bathtub or sink. If there isn’t, run about five cm of water into it. Then plug the adjoining drain, if you have a double kitchen sink, in order to maintain a single air supply into the drain and create a vacuum.
  2. Next, cover the drain completely with the plunger head so that it forms a suction seal from which no air can escape.
  3. Then, using two hands on the plunger handle, push and pull the handle up and down vigorously without breaking the seal.

Don't give up!

After a few up-and-down movements, remove the plunger to check if the water is now gurgling down the drain. Repeat the exercise if need be.

  • It could take three or four different bouts of plunging to dislodge certain nasty blockages.

If it’s your bathtub drain that’s clogged, remove the overflow plate cover and block the air passage with a cloth—just don’t cram the cloth too far in or it might not come back out again!

  • The overflow plate should be on the front of the tub, just underneath the faucets and tap. It’s there to make sure the tub doesn’t accidentally overflow and acts like a second drain.

Create a safe chemical reaction

Baking soda and ordinary vinegar are two common household staples that, when combined in equal amounts, create an impressive fizzy reaction that could help eat away whatever is clogging the drain.

  • Simply mix the two ingredients together in a bowl and pour it down the drain right away. The fizzing sound you will hear isn’t dangerous or toxic, so you need not worry. It’s only the baking soda and vinegar reacting together to help soften the clog.
  • After a few minutes, when you no longer hear the fizzing, flush the drain with hot water to hopefully flush away whatever gunk caused the blockage.
  • If the drain is still clogged—or at the very least water now trickles through—give the plunger another go followed by a second treatment with the baking soda and vinegar concoction.

When your best efforts aren't enough

Persistence and a little creativity are key to helping you unclog almost any plugged-up drain.

Unfortunately, sometimes the best efforts just aren’t enough. In that case you may need to call a real specialist—a plumber—who has different tools at his or her disposal that should do the trick and get the drain flowing again in short order.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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