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The Do’s and Don’ts of Drain Cleaning

Drain clogs are bound to happen in every household. Whether it’s an underlying plumbing issue or too much food waste, properly cleaning a drain is key to avoiding pipe damage.


DIY Drain Cleaning Tips

Seemingly innocuous waste and debris can greatly impact both kitchen and bathroom drain. Clogs are natural for drains that are used daily. Hair in the shower is particularly tough once it forms a mass. 

Depending on the type of clog, homeowners can clean some drains without a professional technician. DIY cleaning, while not always difficult, does require specific products. Chemical drain cleaners are not recommended.

Chemical drain cleaners can be purchased at convenience or grocery stores. Although they are sold over-the-counter, the chemicals used in these solutions are much more powerful than necessary for most clogs. Many over-the-counter drain cleaners can damage pipes even if they’re only used once or twice.

Tip #1: Prevent The Problem

Regularly cleaning drains will help prevent future clogs and clog prevention may not require anything more than boiling water. Boiling water should not be used for homes with PVC pipes because the heat could damage them.  

Drains cleaned once every two months usually only need one pot of boiling water to flush out debris. The hot water is used to liquefy potential buildup, such as grease. Homeowners can clean their drains by pouring water slowly into the drain and waiting for five minutes. After the first half is poured, the rest can be slowly emptied into the drain.  

Tip #2: Don’t Wait

If there is a clog in either the bathroom or kitchen sink, it must be taken care of sooner than later. This is also true if the sink or tub is draining slowly. A slow drain is likely to cause a large clog.

If a tub or sink basin takes over five minutes to drain liquid, this can act as a warning. Pipes will need to be cleaned even if water can still pass through the plumbing system.

Tip #3: Know Your Tools

There are a few ways to clean a drain successfully. Knowing the right equipment necessary before starting the project will save time. Before buying any new tools, assessing the type of drain can help.

For clogged drains, a plumber’s snake may be used to break apart buildup. For particularly tough clogs, it is best to call a professional. Trained plumbers have various tools that come in different sizes for specific drains.

Homemade Drain Cleaning Remedies

Since chemical cleaners can cause rust, certain home remedies are preferred. Home remedies used for drain cleaning are designed for routine cleanings and not tough clogs. 

Sparkling water mixed with boiling water is a gentle solution that can clear pipes. Boiling water should be slowly poured into the drain before adding a smaller amount of sparkling water. After the fizzy water, a five-minute break is recommended before pouring an additional cup of boiling water into the drain.

Another mixture to clean drains involves baking soda and vinegar. It can help remove small clogs or be used as a preventative measure to keep drains from clogging in the first place. Put the baking soda in the drain first, and then pour the vinegar over it and let the bubbling occur without interruption for at least 15 minutes before using hot water to rinse the drain. 

Periodically cleaning the drains is an effective way to minimize clogs and reduce future expenses. Continuous clogs that buildup over time can cause corrosion in the pipes, which can be much more costly to fix. Annual plumbing maintenance is one way to ensure the system is running properly. 

The Drain Snake Methodsnaking

Drain snaking is a tried and true way of breaking up small to medium-sized blockages. It can be used for food waste as well as sewage clogs. Snaking is a process that involves using a steel cable with a coil at one end. This drain auger is then “snaked” through the drain so that the coil can eliminate clogs. The coil can extend much further than most drains. 

This method is popular because the coil does not damage the pipe. It’s gentle and can be stopped at any point. Unfortunately, snaking does not usually work against tough clogs. If the auger is not wide enough, it can only clear a finite amount of space. 

Hydro jetting

Hydro jetting is also known as high pressure jetting. This is an effective way to clear tough clogs because it involves a strong blast of water to loosen debris. A hydro jetting machine is usually available for rent at local hardware stores but may be difficult to use. Professional drain cleaning services are recommended for hydro jetting drain clogs.

This process is not new and has a strong track record for clearing fibers and food particles. The pipes do not need to be removed from their location and can be unclogged in a relatively short period. 

Hydro jetting is strong enough to cut through tree roots, and that strength means it may damage older pipes. Weaker pipelines that cannot handle highly pressurized water can crack or burst. Many people are unaware of how old their drains are until a plumber can inspect the pipes. 

The Plumbing Dr

The Plumbing Dr is a local company that has provided the residents of Arlington, Falls Church, and the surrounding areas with reliable plumbing solutions since 1980. They offer same-day service, expert workmanship, and 24/7 emergency support. Call them today for drain cleaning services in Falls Church, VA.