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6 Drain Cleaning Hacks & Ways to Prevent Future Clogs

We can all sympathize with that moment you’re taking a shower or washing your hands and the water starts building up. It always seems to happen at the worst times, and it can also be pretty gross — depending on what murky mess is to blame.

The good news is there are several easy, at-home remedies to clearing those clogs quickly, plus a bunch of ways to prevent them from happening in the future.

Let’s start with 6 drain-cleaning hacks:

  1. Boil Water
    Whether you use a kettle, stovetop, or microwave, everyone has access to hot water. This simple but effective solution can help you get clogged debris and grime moving again. Just slowly pour the boiling water down the drain in little portions at a time over several minutes. This allows the water time to work its magic.
  2. Make a Baking Soda Mixture
    When mixed with a variety of household ingredients, baking soda packs a powerful punch against drain clogs. Here are a couple of effective pairings:

    – Baking Soda & vinegar. 1/3 cup of baking soda with 1⁄3 cup of vinegar. It will fizz immediately which will help combat debris and grime.
    – Baking Soda & Salt. 1⁄2 cup of baking soda with 1⁄2 cup of salt. Pour it down the drain and sit for 20 minutes, then add boiling water to dissolve the buildup. For an even stronger defense, add a little liquid dish detergent.

    – Baking Soda & Lime Juice. 1⁄2 cup of baking soda with 1⁄2 cup of lime juice. Pour it, plug it, and let it sit for an hour before running hot/boiling water down the drain.

    – Baking Soda & Cream of Tartar. 2 cups of baking soda with 1⁄8 cup of cream of tartar. Shake it up in a jar, and let it sit for an hour before using.

3. Grab a Plunger
If you have a bathroom, chances are you have a plunger. In the same way, this handy little tool works on your toilet, it can work on your drain (cup plungers work best). Fill your sink with some water, and fit the cup of the plunger over the drain. Work the plunger up and down for about 20 seconds, rolling the plunger cup to force water down the drain. Remove the plunger to see if the remaining water runs down the drain. If not, repeat.

4. Use a Drain Snake
The sole purpose of a drain snake is to unclog drains, so it makes perfect sense to use one! These flexible metal ropes are a lifesaver and can be found at most home improvement or grocery stores. They have a spiral tip, which latches onto hair and other gunk. To use it, move the snake down the drain, moving it ever so slightly to try to grab as much blockage as you can. When you hit a stopping point, bring it back up and the clog should come with it.

5. Try a Wire Hanger
Think of a bent-wire clothing hanger as a homemade alternative to a snake drain. Straighten out the hanger and bend a small hook at one end. Send this side down the drain. This tactic is especially helpful for shower drains backed up with excess hair. Just be careful not to scratch your shower, toilet, or sink as you use it.

6. Suck it Up
If you have access to a shop vacuum, specifically one that can handle wet clean-up jobs, this could be an effective way to get rid of that clog. First, set the vacuum to liquid mode. Then create a very tight seal over the drain and cover around the vent to prevent mess. With the right amount of power, the vacuum should be able to pull up the clog. It’s worth a shot!


How to Keep Your Drains Running Smoothly

Ideally, we’d all prefer to not have to pull out the plunger or spend money on a plumber. So if you want to keep your drains clear, here are some helpful prevention tips.

  • Don’t dump excess grease down the drain. Instead, pour it into an empty coffee can and throw it in the trash.
  • Coffee grounds and tea bags don’t belong in your disposal.
  • All bones and eggshells should go in the trash.
  • Foods like pasta and rice don’t always pass through the disposal, so use a compost bin or the trash instead.
  • Uncooked vegetables and fibrous fruits and peels, such as broccoli stems, carrots, and corn cobs, should all go in the trash, not your disposal.
  • When brushing your hair or taking a shower, don’t let excess hair make it to the drain. Throw it away.
  • Keep all harsh chemicals or paint away from your drains.
  • Regularly fill the sink with water and release it to flush out piping.

Even all the home remedies and prevention methods out there aren’t guaranteed to keep your drains clear all year long. If you haven’t had much luck or just want to have a certified plumber take a look, contact Madsen Inc. today. We’ll utilize the safest, most effective ways to clean your drains and prevent future obstructions to keep them running smoothly.