Every now and then, a drain in the kitchen or bathroom stops draining quickly, and then it is time to whip out the tools and deal with the obstruction – rather than leave it to become even worse. While this may seem like a complicated or even tedious process, unclogging a tub, sink, or shower drain can be taken care of quickly and without hassle.
For those who would like to learn how to unclog drains in their home rather than call and pay for a plumber, here are some tips that will hopefully help you get your drain flowing smoothly.
Materials and Tools
- Plunger or drain opener
- Pipe wrench
- Bottle brush
- Rubber gloves
- Eye protection
- Sponge and bucket
- Cleaning cloths
There is more than one method for clearing a clog—in fact, it sometimes takes more than one method to get the job done, some of which include the following:
Cleaning Pop-Up Stoppers and Strainers: To remove a stopper, you can usually twist it and pull it out, but some may call for removing the horizontal pivot rod under the sink. After placing a bucket underneath, disconnect the rod from the vertical strap, remove the lever seal from the pipe, and pull the rod out—the stopper can then be pulled out. For strainers, simply unscrew the screws and pull it out. Then, you can clean and reset the stopper/strainer and flush out any remaining debris by running water.
Utilizing a Drain Stick: Remove the stopper/strainer if necessary. Push a drain stick down into the drain, through the trap. Try twisting the tool if you need a better angle. Push the stick tip into the clog as far as you can go to hook the barbs into the clog. Pull the drain stick out along with any debris it gets. Run water into the drain, so you can flush out more loose material.
Removing Clog with Plunger: Impede the overflow cavity for a sink or tub using a damp cloth. If you are working over a sink, impede the overflow and drain of an adjacent basin. This focuses the plunger’s force toward the clog. Add two or three inches of standing water, if there isn’t any, into the sink, but don’t let it overflow.
Take out the stopper/strainer if necessary. Then, work the plunger handle in an up/down motion continually. Check if the water will drain properly after about 20 seconds. Repeat the motion if the drain is clogged still. After the drain is clear, run water to flush away any debris.
Cleaning a P-Trap: There are P-traps with clean-out plugs that could let you to clear an obstruction without removing the trap. Remove the plug, inject a drain stick, and push it around the trap’s bends. If not, start by bailing out standing water sitting in the sink and setting a bucket under the trap.
Then, loosen the trap’s slip nuts. Remove the P-trap and allow the water in the trap and pipes to drain down to the bucket. Remember to not leave the waste pipe open after you remove the trap. You should plug it with a damp cloth to keep sewer gas from releasing into the house. Work a bottle brush through the trap over the bucket to push out buildup. You should buy a new trap if you notice wear or corrosion. If not, take the cloth out of the waste pipe and reset the trap. Fill the sink with water, letting it drain to check for leaks.
Feel free to check out the Hipp’s Help store for any home improvement needs or supplies for projects. We offer FREE ship to store for all of Mountain View customers. And we also offer reasonable shipping rates for the rest of our customers throughout the country.
Photo via Andrey_Popev / Shutterstock