When your drains back up, you want a quick solution so you can get back to using your sink or shower fast. But are you sure that a quick solution is really the best solution for your home? Often, people reach for chemical drain cleaners that can actually do more harm than good. Besides, when you want a long-lasting drain cleaner, this simply isn’t the best choice.
We go over some of the best, most effective ways to unclog your drains here. For more information or to schedule professional drain cleaning in Smyrna, TN or a nearby area, call our team.
THE PROBLEM WITH CHEMICALS
Before we get into our recommendations, we want to tell you why most plumbers will warn you against using chemical drain cleaners you find on store shelves.
- First of all, these chemicals are some of the most toxic you can buy in stores, and they should always be kept away from children and pets. Know the risks, including skin and eye injury.
- Second, the chemicals are only effective for certain organic items. So while the chemicals you use may be able to dissolve hair in the drains, they might miss food particles or grease. Often, they just push a lot of the stuff near the drain opening further along in the drains, causing a bigger hassle later on.
- Third, drain cleaning chemicals are often harmful to your pipes, and they could wear them down so they need replacement sooner than they should.
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD
Instead, we recommend using the following solutions: a plunger, drain auger, or professional drain cleaning solutions. However, you might try this for a minor clog in a sink or tub drain. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of baking soda into the drains and follow it up with a cup of vinegar. Then, pour a pot of boiling water down the drain.
ALWAYS TRY A PLUNGER
Assuming the clog is not affecting multiple drains, a plunger is the right tool for the job a majority of the time. If the clog is coming from the toilet, make sure you have a plunger with a flange, an attachment beneath the cup, to create additional pressure. This can work for sinks and tubs too if you simply fold the flange back in.
Make sure you keep the same amount of pressure on the plunger as you’re pulling up as when you’re pushing down. Work quickly, and expect to repeat plunging up to two dozen times if the clog won’t budge easily.
DRAIN SNAKES AND AUGERS
If a plunger won’t work, it’s time to move on to a drain auger. Drain augers are available in stores, though professionals have augers that are able to reach further and latch onto different types of clogs. Typically, after you drive the auger into the clog, you have to twist it to lock onto the blockage or start breaking it up. If this won’t work, it’s probably time to call in professionals who already have the right equipment for the job.
Your plumber may recommend hydro jetting, the most effective method of drain cleaning there is. This method uses a long thin hose to blast water from the lining of the drains and into the sewer lines. This can remove grease and other residue from the pipes, often the source of clogging, which helps to prevent future blockage.