Blocked Drain Cleaning

Blocked drains are a great inconvenience. With a little know-how, they can be unblocked without having to call in a plumber. When water in the sink, tub or bathroom drains more slowly than usual or does not drain it is a sign of blocking or clogging of the drainpipe.

The following steps may help you unblock your drain:

  • To unblock the drain you must have a plunger. If the sink has more than one drain make sure the other drains are plugged. The plunger works best when its base is fully immersed in water. Once this is done, start plunging the drain several times. Sometimes the water will start draining slowly. Do not stop, keep plunging to unblock the drain more until the water seeps out at a good rate.
  • In case this does not work, the next step is to get a strong piece of wire, or a coat hanger. Make the coat hanger straight as a wire. At one end of the wire, make a small hook. Push the hooked end of the wire into the drainpipe and turn it gently. The aim is that it hooks whatever solid stuff is stuck in the drainpipe and pulls it out. After doing this let clean water flow down the drainpipe. It is important to use gloves when picking the dirt that is caught by the hook. This is for your protection from germs, irritants and chemicals.
  • For a metal sink with metal pipes, you can try pouring hot water. Do this between three to five times in short intervals of about a half a minute. Wait a little to see if it eases the blockage so that a plunger will work.

Avoid using this hot water for the following:

  • Ceramic sinks and tubs, they may crack or break.    
  • Plastic pipes and fittings which can be deformed by hot water.

If these don't work and you are able to wait a few hours, using household chemicals may work:

  • In case you have caustic soda in your house it can come in handy if all these methods fail. Be sure to wear gloves and goggles. Add about one to two cups of water to one liter of caustic soda and pour this solution into the drain. Wash it down with hot water and wait for a few hours.
  • You can also pour dry baking powder into the drain and then pour vinegar. Wash it down with hot water and let it fizz for a few hours.

If all these fail it is time to call in a plumber.