Most of us know the warning signals. The sink requires somewhat more time to drain. You start to notice water around your feet in the shower. Along with the odours. The strange, unpleasant odours. They’re all signs that you may soon be facing a blocked toilet. And then 1 day, the inevitable happens. Your drain is blocked entirely. It is something you need to manage fast or face the disaster of a burst pipe or a dysfunctional toilet.
So you remove the extra hair and gunk which have built up in the surface of the drain. And nothing happens. You attempt some liquid plumber. No great. Afterwards, the plunger. But what happens when it does not come to the rescue? Here are 10 strategies to take care of the blockages before resorting to that expensive emergency plumber.
1. The Bent Wire Hanger
Simple enough, but amazingly powerful. Just take a normal wire coat hanger and tear it out as best possible. Then, bend 1 end over to create a small hook. Insert it through the drain cover and start the fishing attempt. You should be able to get all sorts of nasty and hair stuff out of the drain. Remember, you always need to be pulling gunk outside, not shoving it further. When you’ve got as much out as you can, run the hot water, and it ought to clear things up nicely.
2. Baking Soda and Vinegar
Combine one-third of a cup of baking soda and a third cup of vinegar using a measuring container. It will fizz instantly, and you need to waste no time pouring it down the clogged drain. The fizzing action, a.k.a. drain unblocker will help to eliminate the gunk and hair, and dirt that has built up in the pipe. Leave it for at least an hour or 12 hours if you are able to do so. Flush with warm water. Alternately, get up to this dry baking soda as you can down the drain, then pour on the vinegar. (See also: 30 Household Products Vinegar Can Alter )
3. The Wet & Dry Vacuum
If you have a wet & dry vacuum, then it can develop into a terrific instrument to unclog drains. A favourite cleaning instrument used by commercial establishments including the conference venues in Melbourne, the wet & dry vacuum is a multi-purpose vacuum that does more than it is advertised for. First, place it into vacuum liquids. Cover the vent to avoid a wreck. After that, make the tightest seal you can over the drain. If you wish to do so, you can try to invoke your creative mind by using the head of an old plunger for this step. With the vacuum turned on its greatest setting, it could be potent enough to pull up the clogged pipe and to the vacuum bag. It does not always work, but it is worth a shot.
4. Boiling Water
Tips don’t get any easier than this. Put the kettle (or use the cooker or microwave if you don’t have a kettle) and boil as much water as it will hold. Now pour it gradually down the drain in two to three stages, allowing the hot water to work for several seconds in between each pour. This is usually the simplest and quickest way to unclog a drain. If there’s any water congratulate yourself with a cup of tea.
5. Caustic Soda
Get some rubber gloves and eye protection. Caustic soda (also referred to as Sodium Hydroxide) may cause horrible chemical burns. It is the go-to hard chemical amongst janitors or maintenance personnel under any shopping centre management. You can pick some up from the local hardware store, but constantly use caution in handling it. Pour 3/4 gallons of cold water into a mop bucket, and then add 3 cups of soda. Stir it well with a classic wooden spoon. It will start to fizz and heat up. Insert the mixture into the drain and let it sit for around 30 minutes. After that, use boiling water to flush it clean. Repeat if needed.
6. Cleaning the Pipe
There are some plumbing tasks that I will not do, but this one is simple. First, place an empty bucket underneath the U-shaped pipe (the snare) beneath the sink. The bucket will accumulate the water that will melt. Using a plumber’s wrench, loosen the slip nuts at both ends of the tube. You should be able to complete the performance by hand. After the trap is free, remove it and flip it upside down, emptying the contents into the bucket. You may also need to fish around inside it for debris and do exactly the same with the pipes which were holding it. An old toothbrush is good for getting the challenging gunk out. Rinse the snare with water and then put it all back together. Typically, that will have done the trick.
7. The Drain Snake
This is a somewhat low-tech piece of equipment which works wonders. It’s essentially a long flexible metallic rope using a coil of metal at the end. You can see this equipment being used by professional plumbers not only for projects on residential properties but also on larger scale projects such as those on office leasing properties. Since commercial drain snakes are available for cheap, who is to say you can’t use them yourself?
8. Salt and Baking Soda
Combine half a cup of salt with half a cup of baking soda. Pour the mixture into the drain. Let that sit for around 20 minutes, then use boiling water to flush it clean. The salt, baking soda, and boiling water will generate a chemical response which should dissolve some of the nastiest blockages.
9. Dish Detergent
If your toilet is clogged, pour 1/4 cup of dish soap in the bowl. Then boil some water. The soap will add a lubricative layer which would also help to disintegrate any oily residue. Then pour the hot water down, and get ready to begin plunging. If the plunger doesn’t cut it, rubber gloves might be the next alternative.
10. Baking Soda, Vinegar, Gravity, and Pressure
If your tub drain is clogged, mix up some of the baking soda/vinegar mentioned in tip 2. Pour down the drain, then place the stopper over it. After 45-60 minutes, fill the tub with water. Then, remove the stopper. The strain of 40-60 gallons of water must be enough to dislodge the blockage that’s been loosened by the baking soda and vinegar. You may also try some stirring or the drain snake in conjunction with the burden of the water.
Those are 10 quick and simple tips that should help you deal with the most stubborn blockages. Note that these techniques were passed down by professional cleaning staff on commercial places such as the formal venues in Melbourne. Or do you have any other great tips? Let us know.