Home Healthy Living What I learned from trying to deal with a clogged drain

What I learned from trying to deal with a clogged drain

by Vidya Sury January 21, 2018 14 comments
Clogged drain? Here are five mistakes to avoid while drain cleaning. #draincleaning #cloggeddrain #DIY #plumbing

We have had our share of seepages and other annoying things that are part of living, especially in an apartment complex. And if there’s one thing that’s terrifying for a homeowner—or even someone in a rented home—it is a clogged drain, indoors or outdoors.

We enjoy our living space, but it’s simply a fact of life that dead skin, soap and a host of other items go down the drain; eventually, the residue builds up and prevents anything from moving. Ugh.

Then, of course, some things are dropped and need to be retrieved! Ever experienced that? Bleah!

Over the last month alone, we’ve dropped:

  • a bar of soap (did NOT go after it),
  • a spoon (ewwwwh, had to remove)
  • a bit of plastic (same as above)
  • curry leaves in the kitchen sink by mistake (thank you, guest!)

Wait, why am I even listing this? Use your imagination!

So, anyway, most of the time I am the Fixer upper. I manage to sort things out. Not funny, not easy, not exciting, but I do it, because—it has to be done. I’ve even written about it before.

But this time, I learned a few lessons—life lessons.

I also learned what NOT to do and have to share it. I know, I know. Yesterday it was about mattresses. But what to do? I am at home dealing with stuff and I am also learning that no matter how old we are, there’s always something new to learn.

Back to the drain cleaning: don’t make these five mistakes if you have a clogged drain!

Five Drain-cleaning Mistakes To Avoid With a Clogged Drain #home #plumbing #DIY

  1. Not Calling A Professional

Of course, it might seem simple to just whip the pipe off under the sink and see if you can unblock it. Unfortunately, what if the blockage isn’t there, or you don’t reconnect it properly? Worse, you might break a piece and have no drainage system. Can you imagine that scene? Yuck!

Instead, get hold of someone—professionals who know what they’re doing.

  1. Not Watching Your Waste

This will sound d’uh, but the best tip I can give you for drain cleaning is to avoid clogging the drain in the first place! You can do this by monitoring what goes down the drain and catching the items which are most likely to give you a problem. Invariably hair, vegetable peels, and large wads of toilet paper are the most obvious culprits. Add a filter—these are available in hardware stores and can be removed and cleaned easily.

  1. Using Caustic Chemicals

There are many different products on the market which can be emptied down your drain and promise to clear it. But what if they splash up when you’re using them or they don’t work and you need to poke the drain? Case in point is one such “packet” available in the supermarket which is effective with minor blocks, but the fumes? Dangerous.

Chances are that you’ll end up with some nasty chemicals in your face and a trip to the emergency room, not to mention the fumes you’ll be breathing in. Also, it is important to remember that you can’t use these chemicals if you have a septic tank. Mind-boggling, yes?

So yes, be informed before trying anything. I shudder to think that decades ago, the local odd-job-man would simply pour acid and hope for the best. Ugh!

  1. Poking The Drain

The first urge with a clogged drain is to poke at it with a stick or anything that resembles a stick. Sadly, this does not result in magically solving the issue. The mental image is, naturally, one of the stick just pushing through the offending item and all is well again. Reality is quite different and unpleasant and likely to lead to further problems.

The thing is, every drain has a series of bends that are not visible to us. Drains are built this way to prevent gases from entering the house. What happens when you poke a stick into the drain? Of course, it can’t bend around the corner. The more adventurous people will use force and end up wedging the stick or causing it to break off in the pipe—creating an even bigger issue. Worst thing? The stick will shift the block further down the pipe, creating the space for more to collect. Go ahead! Roll your eyes!

  1. Using The Wrong Plunger

You know what they say: the right tool for the right job! Did you know there are different types of plungers besides the basic one we keep at home for an emergency? Yes, there are. For example, the toilet plunger has a bell-shaped bottom while the sink plunger is flat. This is an important difference and using the wrong plunger will be useless. There’s also a knack in using plungers—they must be placed in such a way that they create an airtight seal and then, moved slowly up and down—not as fast as we imagine.

See? So much to a blocked drain—not to mention the mess of doing it ourselves.

Next time you have a blocked pipe or drain, think twice about handling it yourself.

Call the expert. And—do think about adding that filter. I did.

Any clogged drain stories to share?

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Mary February 1, 2018 at 11:27 pm

good advice about not using harmful chemicals. Some people really go overkill on the chemicals when a drain can often be unclogged without them

Merry Smith February 11, 2018 at 1:14 pm

I never use chemical in clogged drain, one of my friend’s husband is a professional plumber in our town. He taught me how to deal with a clogged drain and I also learn some basic plumbing from him.

Penelope Smith September 29, 2018 at 5:26 am

This is some really good information about blocked drains. I have noticed my guest bathrooms sink has been draining really slowly lately. It is good to know that the wrong tool can do a lot of damage. It seems like it would be best for me to get a professional plumber to help me clean out that drain.

Sam Gibson July 3, 2019 at 1:59 am

My older brother was just talking to me about how his bathtub takes a very long time to drain. I like how you mentioned that our first urge might be to use some type of stick and poke the drain, which won’t resolve the issue. Because of this, he’ll need to call a professional who can correctly repair and/or clear his line. It seems like a professional will have the right tools to do the job safely and efficiently.

Laurel Larsen August 28, 2019 at 4:12 am

I liked your tip to avoid using caustic chemicals if you’ve got a septic tank system for your house. My parents recently moved into a house that has a septic tank and they typically use chemicals to unclog drains. I’ll let them know that they should avoid using them or else their repairs could be pricey!

Afton Jackson October 5, 2019 at 4:55 am

I like how you noted that there are many products available in the market for cleaning clogged drains. If ever, it doesn’t hurt to segregate wastes properly and teach your housemates where to throw trash. If ever these tips do not work we will have to call an expert in residential septic tank cleaning.
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Happy Hiller November 16, 2019 at 7:50 pm

Thanks for providing such helpful information! Glad I stopped by your blog. Keep it up!

Zoe Campos February 27, 2020 at 3:34 am

Thank you for telling me that we should get hold of professionals who know what they’re doing in terms of drain cleaning. I used to wash my hair with my head upside down and most of my hair strands fell on the sink. I simply used water to drain them, and I wasn’t aware that those strands will cause clogging when combined. Since I don’t know anything about drain cleaning, I might as well follow your advice and trust experts.

Adam Golightly October 9, 2020 at 1:25 am

My dad has been having a lot of problems with his drains and he wants to make sure that he can be more effective and reduce the clogs because he gets one like every week. I’ll be sure to tell him about how he should make sure to not try and poke the drain because in order to prevent gases from entering the home there are bends in the drains that we can’t see. Getting a professional to help him with it could be really useful and he can spend less time one it.

Sam Gibson December 24, 2020 at 2:55 am

You bring up an excellent point about how professionals know how to fix things properly and trying to do things on your own can cause worse issues. My parents are concerned that something might wrong with their septic system. My dad said that the leach field looks muddy. After reading this, I’ll recommend that he contact a professional who specializes in these types of plumbing issues.

Rosalina Gracia Rona February 20, 2021 at 8:47 pm

A lot of good advice here, I like how you pointed that the right decision is to call a professional. Thanks for sharing!

toilet treatments March 25, 2021 at 7:52 pm

I have unclogged bathroom sink by using denture cleaning tablets. First you remove standing water. Next you put in several tablets and wait for a few minutes. Then you run hot water down drain on it.
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Plumbing Leaks November 18, 2021 at 5:02 pm

In most homes, you don’t see any exposed pipes. This is because pipes are usually added before the internal walls are built. You generally only see them in older or remodeled homes, often because it was too difficult to put them behind the walls. Alternatively, they could have been placed that way for style reasons.

Paving services May 8, 2022 at 11:11 pm

WOW ! Thank you so much woke up this morning bathroom sink was clogged I tried using the yellow plastic stick and blck stuff came up and water would not go down I poured hot hot water nothing so I was left with black stuff in my sink so I jumped on your blog
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