9 Tips for Clearing Blocked Drains Using Household Items

Dealing with a clogged drain can be a frustrating and time-consuming task, but it doesn’t always have to involve calling a professional plumber. In many cases, you can use household items that you already have on hand when clearing blocked drains to restore proper drain function. Not only is this a more budget-friendly option, but it can also be a quicker and more convenient solution. 

In fact, there are many different methods you can try when it comes to clearing blocked drains. From using a plunger or homemade drain cleaner, to using a wire coat hanger or drain snake, the options are endless. In this list, we will go over 9 different ways that you can use household items to clear a clogged drain and get your plumbing flowing smoothly again. With a little bit of elbow grease and some common household items, you can tackle even the most stubborn clogs without the need for a professional.

Common Causes of Blocked Drains

According to a recent Canstar article, blocked toilets, pipes, or drains are second on the list of the 10 most common household emergencies. 

Australia has many trees, and sometimes tree roots can inadvertently impact sewer and stormwater pipes. As tree roots seek out nutrients in the ground, the sewer line is a perfect haven for them. However, many homeowners are unaware there is potential for tree roots to damage their pipes until they receive an unexpectedly high water bill. 

When the roots grow into the pipe, they can create a physical barrier that prevents water from flowing through the pipe. This causes water to back up in the pipes, leading to slow drains, standing water, and even sewage backups.

Another way tree roots can cause drainage issues is by damaging the pipes themselves. As the roots grow and expand, they can put pressure on the pipes, causing them to crack or break. This causes leaks, which can lead to damage of the surrounding soil and foundation of a home.

In addition to tree roots, there are several other causes of blocked drains including: 

  • Grease and oil
  • Hair
  • Soap scum
  • Foreign objects (Flushing or rinsing large or non-biodegradable items down the drain can cause blockages.)
  • Corrosion and age
  • Food particles

Signs That Your Drain May Be Blocked

If you’re experiencing slow drains or strange noises coming from your pipes, it’s possible that you have a blockage in your drain. There are several common signs that can indicate a blocked drain, including:

  • Water drains slowly
  • Gurgling noises
  • Bad odours
  • Overflowing toilets

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to clear the blocked drain as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your plumbing system. Luckily, there are several methods for clearing blocked drains without having to enlist the services of a plumber.

Proactive Measures to Avoid Blocked Drains

Before your drains become blocked, there are several steps you can take to prevent blockages from occurring. Here are some things you can do to keep your drains from being blocked:

  • Use a strainer or stopper in your sinks and showers to catch hair and other debris before it goes down the drain.
  • Run hot water down your drains regularly to flush out any accumulated grease or oil.
  • Use a drain cleaner or baking soda and vinegar to clean your drains on a monthly basis.
  • Don’t pour grease or oil down your drains, instead, let them cool and dispose of them in the trash.
  • Avoid flushing non-biodegradable materials such as wipes, sanitary napkins or cotton buds.
  • Consider having your drains professionally cleaned every year or two.
  • Schedule regular inspections of your pipes to catch any potential issues before they become major blockages.
  • Install a water softener if you live in an area with hard water, as the minerals in hard water can cause buildup in your pipes over time.
preventing blocked drains with cleaning

9 Methods for Clearing Blocked Drains

Clearing blocked drains doesn’t always have to involve calling a plumber or spending money on expensive chemicals. In many cases, you can use household items that you already have on hand to effectively unclog your drains. 

So before you pick up the phone or head to the store, try scouring your pantry or tool shed for some of these common household items. Who knows, you might already have the perfect solution to your clogged drain problem sitting in your kitchen cabinet or garage. Imagine the satisfying feeling of plunging a clog out of your sink with a trusty plunger, or watching as a mixture of baking soda and vinegar works its magic on a stubborn blockage. With a little bit of creativity and some everyday household items, you can easily clear blocked drains and restore your plumbing to proper functioning.

Here are nine easy ways to clear your blocked drains on your own:

1. Plunger 

A plunger is a simple, yet effective tool that can be used to clear a blocked drain. First, fill the sink, tub, or toilet with enough water to cover the plunger. Then, place the plunger over the drain, push down firmly, and begin plunging. The suction created by the plunger will help to loosen and remove the blockage from the drain. 

If the plunger doesn’t seem to be working, try using a bit of petroleum jelly around the edge of the plunger to create a better seal.

Clearing blocked drains

2. Homemade Drain Cleaner

In addition to removing mineral deposits from your toilet, baking soda and vinegar are effective at clearing blocked drains. This simple, two-ingredient drain cleaner is a great alternative to store-bought chemical cleaners, which can be harsh and potentially damaging to your health. 

Simply mix equal parts baking soda and vinegar and pour the mixture down the drain. The baking soda and vinegar will react with each other, creating a foaming action that can help to break down and remove the blockage. Let the mixture sit for a few hours, then flush the drain with hot water to help wash away any remaining debris.

3. Store-bought Chemical Drain Cleaner

Store-bought chemical drain cleaners can be an effective way to clear a blocked drain, but it’s important to use them with caution. These products contain harsh chemicals that can help to dissolve the blockage, but they can also be dangerous if used improperly. It’s important to always follow the instructions on the label carefully and take precautions to protect yourself. This may include wearing gloves and goggles, as well as working in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling the fumes.

It’s also important to consider the potential negative effects of chemical drain cleaners on your pipes and the environment. If you decide to use a chemical drain cleaner, it’s a good idea to follow up with a flush of hot water to help wash away any remaining residue.

4. Wire Coat Hanger

Straighten out a wire coat hanger, then bend one end to create a hook. Carefully push the hanger down the drain and try clearing the blocked drain by snagging and pulling out the blockage.

5. Drain Snake/Drain Auger

A drain snake, also known as a drain auger, is a long, flexible tool used to clear blockages in pipes. It can be purchased at a hardware store or rented from a plumbing supply company. 

To use a drain snake, first locate the cleanout plug, which provides access to the main sewer line. Use a wrench to rotate the cap counterclockwise and access the cleanout. If the cap is stuck, try tapping it with a hammer, applying heat, or using penetrating lubricant. Insert the drain snake into the pipe and guide it towards the blockage, using the handle to control the direction. As the drain snake encounters the blockage, it will break it up and clear the obstruction. Once the blockage is cleared, remove the drain snake and replace the cleanout plug. Run hot water down the drain to flush any remaining debris. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and wear protective gloves and goggles when using a drain snake.

6. High-Pressure Water Jetting

This is a convenient and effective method if you already own a pressure washer for outdoor cleaning. These systems use high-pressure water to blast through clogs and debris, effectively clearing the pipe and restoring proper flow. High-pressure water jets are particularly effective at removing grease, oil, and other stubborn blockages that may be difficult to remove with other methods.

Insert a hose with a specialised nozzle into the drain. The nozzle will produce a powerful stream of water that can reach up to 4000 psi, depending on the system. The water will blast through the blockage, breaking it up and flushing it out of the pipe.

Bear in mind that these systems can be expensive and may cause damage to older or weaker pipes.

7. Boiling Water

Boiling water can help to dissolve grease and soap scum, which are common causes of drain blockages.

Be sure to pour the water slowly and steadily, as pouring it too quickly can cause it to splatter and potentially cause burns. If the blockage is not cleared after the first application of boiling water, you may need to repeat the process a few more times.

Keep in mind that boiling water should not be used for clearing blocked drains on pipes that are made of plastic, as the heat can cause the plastic to become weak and potentially fail.

8. Natural Enzyme Drain Cleaner

Natural enzyme drain cleaners contain enzymes that break down organic matter, such as grease and food particles when clearing blocked drains.

These types of drain cleaners are typically made from natural ingredients and are safer for the environment than traditional chemical drain cleaners. Simply follow the instructions on the product label. These products can be used on a regular basis to help prevent drain blockages and keep your pipes flowing smoothly.

As an alternative you can try using an enzyme laundry degergent like Biozet Attack. 

9. Hot Water and Dish Soap

Pour a pot of boiling water down the drain, then follow it with a mixture of hot water and dish soap. The soap will help to break down the blockage, while the hot water can help to flush it away.

Clearing clogged drains

As a busy person, you likely don’t have the time or energy to keep up with regular drain cleanings. Check out seven housekeeping hacks that will save you a bunch of time.

But did you know that regular cleanings can actually help you avoid costly plumbing bills in the long run? Our team of professionals can handle the dirty work for you, keeping your drains flowing smoothly and free of blockages.

The average cost of plumbing services to clear a blocked drain in Australia typically ranges between $80 to $500. Not only will regular cleanings save you time and hassle, but they can also save you money by preventing larger issues from occurring. So why wait until there’s a problem? Book a home cleaning service online today and let us take care of your drain maintenance needs. Your busy schedule (and wallet) will thank you!

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