4 Steps to unblocking any clogged drain

If you have a clogged drain, it’s important to think clearly and not do anything that could cause more harm than good. You may not need to call a plumber, but it is certainly a possibility that shouldn’t be ruled out. Here are 4 simple steps to try the next time you get a clogged drain.

  • Plunger – Tried, tested and true, the ol’ plunger is always the first step in taking care of that clogged drain. Fill the sink partially with water, a little less than a quarter of the way full. If you have a double sink, you will need to block the other drain with a cloth or towel. Plunge over the drain, up and down rapidly, until the water in the sink begins to drain. If it does, it was just a small obstruction, and you no longer have a clogged drain!
  • Baking Soda and Vinegar – This common trick is an age-old method of handling a clogged drain. First, using a bucket, empty the water from the sink. Next, stuff about a cup of baking soda down the drain. Use a wooden spoon or spatula handle to pack it down. Next, pour a cup of vinegar down the sink and put the stopper in immediately to force the mixture down. Much like a 5th grade volcano science project, the mixture will foam downwards into the pipes. Let the mixture work its magic for five minutes and then proceed by running warm water down the drain. If it is still clogged, try four cups of boiling water. If you still have a clogged drain, it’s time to move on to step #3.
  • Cable Auger – This is the most difficult method, and should not be attempted by amateur handymen. Using a bucket to catch the water, one would detach the trap or J-joint underneath the sink connecting the sink to the horizontal pipe. Then, after removing the horizontal pipe from the wall, use the cable auger to slide down the stub pipe. Slowly push the cable down by spinning the crank clockwise. Once you catch the clog, spin counter clockwise to retrieve the cable, and hopefully the obstruction as well. This should unblock your clogged drain.
  • Call a Plumber – Finally, if all three of these methods have failed to clear the clogged drain (or you do not feel experienced or comfortable enough to attempt step #3), it is time to call an expert. Continuing to try to unblock a clogged drain with other methods can often lead to disastrous results. Really, the best advice is to contact your local plumbing service.