Common Mistakes to Avoid When Cleaning Drains

Drain cleaning seems like the easiest thing in the world, and in terms of plumbing projects, it can be pretty easy. That said, many homeowners who take on drain cleaning for themselves will make mistakes.

Mistake Number 1: Using Chemical Drain Cleaners

Chemical drain cleaners are hard on pipes, bad for the environment and they’re not even very effective. While it is possible to clear a clogged pipe with chemical drain cleaner, most chemical drain cleaners will only eat away a small portion of the clog, allowing the water to run for a short time only. Often the clogs will return quickly and the chemical drain cleaners must be used again a few short weeks later.

Mistake Number 2: Using an Unbent Coat Hanger

It’s a common misconception that sticking an unbent coat hanger down the drain will allow the homeowner to reach the clog and dislodge it from the pipe. In reality, many clogs are too far down into the pipe to be reached with a coat hanger. Jabbing the coat hanger down in the pipe often does no good and can even do damage, if the coat hanger becomes stuck.

Mistake Number 3: Using a Garden Hose

Spraying a strong jet of water from a garden hose into a clogged drain is a spectacular way to get soaking wet. That’s about it.

Safe Drain Cleaning Techniques

Now that we’ve covered some of the biggest mistakes people make when clearing clogs, now let’s talk about some of the best techniques you can use to clear your clogs at home:

  • Plumber’s auger: A plumber’s auger is a stiff cable with a pointy end like a cork screw. When the auger is inserted into the drain, it pierces the clog and clears the pipe, without the use of nasty chemicals.
  • Natural home remedies: There are many natural but effective home remedies you can use to clear your pipes. For example: pour vinegar down the drain and put a pot of water on the stove to boil. When the water is boiling, chase the vinegar with the water. If the clog persists, sprinkle the drain with baking soda and put another pot of water on to boil. When the water is boiling, pour the water down the drain over the baking soda. Repeat until the drain is clear.
  • Plunger: Stick the plunger against the drain until it forms a tight seal, then pump the plunger up and down several times to dislodge the clog.

Prevention is Key

The best way to keep your pipes clear of clogs is by preventing the clogs from forming in the first place. Use drain covers to prevent food particles from washing down the kitchen sink, and use filters to cover your shower drains and protect them from hair. Teach your kids not to flush foreign objects down their toilets.

Finally, never flush anything down your toilet that isn’t toilet paper or liquid waste. Kitty litter, adult wipes, tampons, diapers and other products that label themselves as “flushable” are typically not flushable.

Know When to Call a Plumber

Bar none, calling a plumber is the best way to clear a clog from your drain, because plumbers have access to tools that many homeowners do not. At Terry’s Plumbing, we love to help homeowners clear their clogged drains! Call us today.