Very often, whenever a drain is clogged, a homeowner’s immediate response is to reach for a bottle of drain cleaner. While this can be effective, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution:
• Use chemical cleaners sparingly, especially if your pipes and traps are steel, cast-iron, or brass. Some chemicals will severely corrode metal pipes, particularly older pipes. Plastic pipes are more resilient to chemicals.
• Ideally, you should use chemical cleaners containing sodium hydroxide or sodium nitrate, but no more frequently than once every few months.
• Always follow the safety instructions on the manufacture’s package. You should let the cleaner sit in the bend of the trap for a short period of time to ensure effectiveness.
• If you do use chemicals, do not use them in combination with a plunger. Caustic water could splash your skin. Wear rubber gloves, eye protection, and be sure to follow the label's directions carefully.
• If you accidentally splash yourself with the cleaner and get some on your skin, douse the area with water thoroughly until the cleaner is completely removed. It will burn if not rinsed.
Before you reach for a chemical cleaner, try these home remedies:
• For bathroom drains, once or twice a week, pour approximately 8 ounces of baking soda directly into your drain, then pour 8 ounces of white vinegar directly into the drain. Allow the mixture to bubble for a minute or two. Run very hot water for 3 to 5 minutes. This mixture will eat away hair and soap build up.
• To keep all of your drains working properly, mix 6 cups of baking soda, 5 cups of salt and 1 cup of cream of tartar. Pour about 1 ½ to 2 cups of this mixture into each drain in your house. Run very hot water for about 3 to 5 minutes. Do not store this mixture - make it and use immediately. This should be done once every other week or more often depending on use.
• Should you need to use a plunger, but hesitate because you haven’t been able to do it successfully in the past, your plunger may be to blame. Be sure that the suction cup is big enough to cover the drain opening completely but not so large that a huge amount of effort is required to unclog the drain.
• Another option involves a plumber's snake, which can push the clog out of your system without chemicals or boiling water. You might think that calling a plumber is required for this, but it's not: you can pick up the tool at any hardware store or plumbing supply house for a few dollars.
You can prevent drain clogs. Take care of your drains and they will do what they are supposed to do – remove water.
If you do get a clog, you can always contact us!