5 Ways to Quickly Fix a Slow Drain
Considering the demands we put on our household plumbing systems, the question isn’t IF you’ll experience a clogged drain – it’s a matter of WHEN. Of course, not all clogs are created equal. You have your agonizingly slow moving but eventually draining clogs and your fully blocked water not going anywhere varieties. You also have clogs that are inconvenient but not emergencies and then the ones that need to be fixed ASAP. This article is for those sluggish drains that you need cleared quickly.
Depending on what type of drain and the type of blockage, effective ways to unclog a drain include flushing with hot water, retrieving hair with a Zip-It or wire tool, using a plunger, pouring a baking soda/vinegar solution, and removing and cleaning the P-trap.
Easy ways to unclog a drain – fast
- Flushing with hot water. Sometimes, pouring a pot of hot (but not boiling) water will be enough to loosen up a clog, especially when it comes to fats, oils, and grease in a kitchen sink. You can also try adding a 1/3 cup of dish detergent to the drain as you slowly pour in hot water to further lubricate up the pipe.
- Retrieve hair with a simple tool – For slow-draining bathroom tubs and sinks, you’re likely dealing with a clump of hair (combined with other gunk like soap, body oils, etc.). Using a simple Zip-It tool available at most home improvement stores, you can reach down into the drain and hopefully pull up the hair blockage. If you don’t have a Zip-It, you can also straighten a metal coat hanger and form a small hook at the end.
- Use a plunger – The trusty plunger is useful for all types of drains, not just toilets. For sinks and tubs, use a plunger with a flat cup; for toilets, a flange plunger will provide better suction. Make sure there’s some water in the sink or tub before plunging. Once you have a good seal over the drain, move the plunger up and down for about 30 seconds. Hopefully, you are able to dislodge and push the clog through the drain system.
- Baking soda and vinegar – Instead of using a store-bought drain cleaner product with harsh chemicals, use this natural and safer recipe. First, pour 1⁄2 cup of baking soda down the clogged drain. Next, add 1⁄2 cup of vinegar and plug the drain with a rag. Let the mixture fizz and expand through the drain, hopefully breaking up the clog in the process. After about 5 minutes, flush the drain with hot water and see if things flow smoothly.
- Removing and cleaning the P-trap – A good portion of sink clogs occur in the P-trap, which is the curved part of the pipe, usually directly below the drain. The P-trap is designed to hold a small amount of water to prevent sewer gases from seeping up through the pipe. Not surprisingly, the bend is also where hair, oils, and solid objects get caught. If you’re lucky, you can remove the P-trap by loosening the slip nuts on either side of them (if they don’t budge or are glued, don’t force it and skip this step). Be sure to have a bucket or towel ready to catch water as you disassemble the drain pipe. Once you remove the P-trap, clean out anything stuck inside and rise out the pipe (using a different drain, of course) for good measure. Reattach the P-trap, tighten the slip nuts, turn on the water and look for signs of any leaks.
Call a plumber to unclog your drain
Drain blockages come in a wide range of types, sizes, and frustration levels. If the above tips don’t do the trick, it’s time to bring in the Schererville drain cleaning experts at Reichelt Plumbing. Schedule an appointment today by calling (219) 322-4906.