Clearing drains the good old fashioned way

A blocked drain is one of the most troublesome plumbing issues that you can get in your household. A toilet that is slowly draining or water not flushing down, water pooling up every time you take a shower or the kitchen sink not draining . These are plumbing issues that need immediate attention.


Here are some tips on how you can unblock your drain the old fashion way.

1. If we are talking about old fashioned way, nothing beats the handy plunger.(A must have for every household). If your sink or toilet drains slowly, try first using the plunger on it. If attempting to plunge a sink or bath that may have have an overflow, ensure you Make sure to cover cover it so as to use the plunger effectively. This allows air or pushes the water to unclog the blockage inside. If you got the double sink,put the plug in one whilst  plunging the other to get a good pressure going inside. Take note though that you might need to give this a try several times before you get some results.

Plunger on a blocked sink fixture

2. Try using a wire coat hanger. Straighten out the wire and then bend the end like a fish hook. You can use this to remove debris like hairs, toilet paper or food residue that has caused the blockage. Just be careful in using it since it may cause damage to the pipes. Also, if you feel resistance when trying to use this improvised tool, do not aggravate the problem by pushing down the blockage further down the pipes.


3. Pour a kettle of boiling water inside the blocked pipe. Do not pour the boiling water in one setting. It’s best to pour them in 2 or 3 stages, allowing the boiling water to go down a bit before pouring the next batch. The hot water can be  effective in dislodging small or light blockage inside the pipes. Do not try this though on plastic pipes since it might cause damage to the soft joints. They are best used on metal or copper pipes.

Q. What are the signs I should be aware of to determine that there’s a possible blockage?

A. Use your senses, Look, Smell, Listen.  If you notice any of the following signs, you may have  a possible blockage

  • If you see a puddle of water or overflowing water coming out of your drains, or your toilet won’t flush properly.
  • Is there’s a foul odor coming out of your drains or toilet.
  • Or you hear a gurgling sound coming from your drain pipes/drainage system or toilet.

4. Use a DIY solution or cleaner. Use one cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar. Pour the baking soda down the blocked drain then follow it with the vinegar. This creates a chemical reaction inside the pipes and helps to dislodge any blockage inside. This is especially helpful in dislodging grime, grease buildup and soft residue inside the pipes. Take extra precaution though when using this kind of solution since it can possibly cause a chemical burn and eye irritation. Use protective gear like gloves and mask when using this. Also, you might need to do this a couple of times before you get the result that you desire.

5. If you want to get down and dirty, you can remove the U-shaped pipe (s trap) underneath the sink. This is where most food scraps and food residue gets stuck and can cause a blockage inside the pipes. Just take a spanner or Multi grips and unscrew the nuts on both ends of the pipe to remove it. Make sure you have a bucket ready underneath the pipe to catch the water and waste inside. Thoroughly clean the pipe of any food debris or grime that may be stuck inside. While on it, make sure to also check and clean the connecting pipes to ensure that no other debris is insidethat may cause a future blockage.

If all your old-fashioned ways do not work, then it would be time to contact us at 13 10 91 to clear your blocked drains.

Here is another article that you may find interesting in regards to “Do I call a Plumber or a Drainer to clear my drains?

At The Plumbing and Electrical Doctor we have made these articles downloadable to PDF for our customers convenience

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