How do you clear a clogged drain pipe?

sink backed up from clog

Keeping your plumbing flowing

Even after doing basic clogged drain cleaning, when the water and waste aren’t disappearing, it is aggravating.  A clogged drain is a common plumbing issue that professional plumbers get calls for every day. From clogged drains in bathtubs, showers, and kitchen sinks. For a homeowner, they are a headache that can cause a mess and inconvenience. 

Clogged drains are not something anyone likes to deal with in the bathroom that has water covering your feet, rising on your legs. Or the sink fills with water as you’re washing dishes. Fortunately, most of these are easily fixed with basic home clogged drain cleaning. Sometimes though, that isn’t enough, and you need a professional plumber to find out Why is drain clogged and their expertise to fix it because of more significant issues. 

Clogged drain signs:

  • Toilet bubbling
  • Water backing up in bathtub, shower, sink, or toilet
  • Water is coming out from under the toilet
  • Bathtub, shower, sink, or toilet slow draining
  • The drain has an odor coming out
  • Water puddling on the floor around bathtub, shower, sinks, toilet, or washing machine
  • The sewer cleanout has water coming out

Any of the issues listed above are indications you have a clogged drain. 

What causes a clogged drain?

Professional plumbers usually find the following are common causes that require professional clogged drain cleaning: 

  • Kitchen sinks: Food waster, grease, and soap are the most common build-up in kitchen drains that are not draining. Many of these can be eliminated with basic home clogged drain cleaning. Sometimes, if the problem has been building up for a while, with grease being the biggest culprit, a plumber has experience and equipment to bust the clog up and get the drain going again.
  • Bathroom shower, sink, tub: The most significant build-up in this area of the bathroom is from dirt, hair, phlegm, soap, toothpaste, and skin flakes. Think about when you’re taking a bath or shower or washing your face and brushing your teeth. All of that is all going into the drains and are often causing the clog.  Basic home clogged drain cleaning will clear the matter before it gets too severe. 
  • Bathroom toilet: Oh my! When you think about what all we put into a toilet, no wonder they get clogged! The amount of human waste, along with toilet paper, is enough to clog any size pipe. Then add in the factor that many of us throwing diapers, feminine hygiene products, paper towels, and wipes, is there any more question why our toilets get clogged? 
  • Air Conditioner Drains: Most of us don’t think about air conditioners draining, but they do have a condensation drain and it is common for them to have algae, mildew, minerals, and mold build up in that drain, clogging it up. There are preventive things a homeowner can do, but if it becomes too clogged, a professional HVAC technician will need to do clogged drain cleaning for that area. 

Does salt and boiling water unclog drains?

If the clog is superficial, meaning it isn’t a deep clog, then yes, salt and boiling water is one method of clogged drain cleaning worth trying using the following process: 

  • Pour several cups of boiling hot water in the drain.
  • Pour two tablespoons of Epsom salts in the drain.
  • Wait 60 seconds, then add several more cups of boiling hot water. 

The mixture of Epsom salts and water can break up basic clogs of hair, soap scum, and toothpaste. Using this homemade drain cleaner is a method you could do once a month without worry about damaging the pipes. 

What is the best thing to unclog a drain?

It is going to depend on what is clogging the drain and how badly it is clogged. Any of the following clogged drain cleaning methods are suggested: 

  • Wet/Dry Shop Vac: Sometimes, you can suck a clog out of the drain by positioning the vacuum nozzle over the drain, create a tight seal, and with the vacuum on the wet setting, turn it on. 
  • Clear the P-Trap: Place a bucket under the P-Trap with towels under it. Unscrew the P- trap and using a screwdriver or some long slim object, reach into the pipe in both directions, and pull out any clog you can get. Clear the P-Trap itself.  
  • Vinegar and baking soda:  Pour a tablespoon of baking soda in the drain, followed by a cup of white vinegar, then boiling water. 
  • Alka-Selzer: Yup, that fizzing effect that makes your tummy feel better can do clogged drain cleaning too. Drop two or three tablets into the drain with 1 cup of vinegar, wait a few minutes, then pour in boiling hot water.  

When these methods have failed, you probably have a more severe, deep clog and need to try the following method: 

How do you unclog a deep clogged?

A clogged drain is frustrating, and it is something that we all will encounter at some point in our lives. Ordinary clogged drain cleaning methods will do the job, but sometimes, it takes more drastic action. If you can learn How to clean a clogged drain that is more than a household plunger or other basic methods can clean, the less you’ll need to depend on a professional plumber.  You’ll need to purchase an auger for the following steps: 

  • Step One: Remove the cap from the drain.
  • Step Two: Push the auger into the drain and turn the handle clockwise as you push it into the drain. You may need to adjust your grip on the snake as it is fed into the pipe.
  • Step Three: When you feel the auger hit the clog inside the drain, keep turning the handle and pushing. 
  • Step Four: Pull the auger up to break the clog apart, then back down, repeating this process several times while turning the handle. This process will break the clog of the drain sides and dislodge it, pushing it on through the drain. 
  • Step Five: Pull the auger entirely out of the drain.  Be prepared to clean up anything the auger brings out with it. 

What do plumbers use to unclog drains?

Sometimes, a clog is something you can’t clear with home remedies or over-the-counter chemicals. It may be severe enough that you need professional services of a plumber for clogged drain cleaning and repair. 

Professional plumbers will try the basic household clogged drain cleaning methods first, then the auger or plumber snake method.  If none of these methods don’t work, they will use a small camera that is on a long pipe and fits into the drain to see what is causing the clog and where the clog is located.  Next, they will use the hydro-jetting method. This method is using water at a high force to bust through the clog.       

unclogged  drain

How much does it cost to unclog a drain?

Pricing varies depending on the type of clog, where the clog is located, and the market where you live. A clogged drain cleaning for a bathroom shower, sink, or tub, kitchen sink drain can average between $100 to $250. Laundry drains are more, averaging around $150 to $250, and a toilet clogged drain cleaning averages between $110 to $300. 

Clogged drains are annoying, and nobody will argue that. What most homeowners don’t realize, a clogged drain can also be an indication of something more serious. If the basic clogged drain cleaning efforts we have reviewed here do not work, you need to call a professional plumber. Their camera method will tell them if there is a clog more rooted into the sewer system. There may be tree roots causing the problem, or a busted drainpipe. When you need drain unclogging, Neblett Construction has the equipment needed to get your plumbing flowing again. Call 757-633-9949 today!