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Clogged Drain? Here’s What NOT to Do

Clogged drains are the bane of every homeowner’s existence, especially since they happen far too often. It seems like every DIY website has a list of easy clog fixes, but sometimes those fixes can actually make things worse.

To demystify the entire subject, we’re addressing some of the most common homeowner reactions to blocked drains, why they won’t work, and what you should do instead.

1. Ignore it

Ignoring a clog won’t ever make it go away. It’s good to realize this sooner rather than later when you’re calf-deep in the tub during a shower or your sink floods the kitchen.

Clogs are the result of substances building up in a pipe, which prevents the flow of water. Lots of different things can cause clogs when tossed down the drain – hair, medications, cooking oils, eggshells, kitty litter, foods that expand in water or easily clump together, and so much more.

Once these blockages form, they have to be carefully broken up and removed with professional tools. Ignoring them just means more substances will pile up, making the clog worse and harder to dislodge.

2. Use chemical drain cleaners

What exactly will happen to your drain after pouring a chemical cleaner down it will vary depending according to the product, but one thing is certain: it won’t work.

For one, many chemical cleaners are harmful to the environment when dumped down a drain. The chemicals in these cleaners, like phosphates and antibacterials, aren’t filtered out at waste treatment plants. That means they’re eventually released into the ecosystem and can make plants and animals very sick.

Secondly, most commercial drain cleaners can do more harm than good for your drains. There’s no doubt these substances are powerful, but they’re often too powerful. Consumer Reports has conducted studies showing that many cleaners not only fail to clear blockages but can also corrode pipes and release dangerous gases that are harmful if inhaled.

3. Use homemade fixes

If you suspect the cause of a blockage, you may be tempted to MacGyver your own solution with some homemade tools. Sometimes homeowners try to get creative in an attempt to save themselves the expense of calling a plumber but may end up making the problem worse in the long run.

Don’t stick dowels or rods down drains in an attempt to break up the blockage. They can easily break and get stuck, plus they won’t be able to reach into the bends of a pipe. If you think you know where a blockage is located, don’t try to unscrew pipes yourself or otherwise try to remove parts beneath your sink.

Finally, do not ever pour bleach down a drain, as bleach can cause harm similar to other chemical cleaners.

4. Pour vinegar and baking soda down it

It seems like vinegar and baking soda are the bread and butter of anyone looking to scrub their countertops and clear out their drains in an all-natural way. When vinegar and baking soda are combined, the solution fizzes and bubbles like a homemade volcano in a school project, so it must work to dissolve dirt and clogs, right? Wrong!

The combination of basic baking soda and acidic vinegar can actually cancel each other out (or just dilute each other) and remove the cleansing properties that make the two so useful on their own. Regardless of the final product, it’s not nearly powerful enough to actually unclog your drains. It’s just a waste of vinegar and baking soda, more than anything else.

That being said, either vinegar or baking soda on their own are decent at removing grime and light buildup, but they won’t cure a full blockage.

So, what SHOULD you do?

If you’ve got a clog that a plunger or a running some hot water won’t solve, then your best bet is to call in professional assistance. That’s right – a plumber is a surefire way of fixing a blocked drain.

Plumbers know the chemistry behind drain blocks. They understand how to use professional tools without damaging your pipes or making the clog worse. Plus, they can advise you how to prevent blockages in the future.

Our team at All Dry USA offer affordable, fast service for anyone frustrated by a stuck drain. Just give us a call. We’ll be able to figure out the source of the block. We’ll clean it up, and advise you on how to avoid future problems, without any fuss or damage to your pipes.

Ben Suiskind

Chief Executive Officer at All Dry USA
With Ben’s knowledge, and visionary leadership, All Dry USA has expanded into a national, full-service property damage restoration company with multiple locations across the United States. Ben holds numerous specialty licenses and certifications in restoration and construction.
Ben Suiskind
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