Learning how to unclog a drain without chemicals or at least having a plumbing company you trust on speed dial should be prerequisites for homeownership. After all, a clogged drain is pretty typical, especially if you have older plumbing and/or residents in your home with a lot of hair.
You likely already know drain cleaning chemicals can be toxic and unpleasant for your home environment. Because they often contain bleach, the cleaners can make you or family members have a dangerous respiratory response—not to mention the potential for stinging eyes or burning skin.
There’s also a risk of damaging your pipes with drain cleaners. One common ingredient—sodium hydroxide—can lead to pipe corrosion if it settles in the pipes or if you over use it. Older plumbing systems are especially vulnerable to damage from chemicals.
So…this brings us to the right solutions. Whether you are facing a clogged shower drain or a stopped up tub drain or sink, there are a couple of troubleshooting steps to try before turning to the pros. Keep in mind, you can always call on your local plumbing experts to save yourself a lot of time and potential hassle—rather than trying to be a DIY hero first.
On the other hand, if you are determined to solve the clogged drain issue on your own, try these tips:
#1: Fish out the Gunk
This is not a glamorous task or one for the weak stomached person. However, removing hair and other gunk that is preventing the flow of water down the drain is a good place to begin. Here’s how to do it:
- Remove the stopper or drain cover with a screwdriver
- Use a stiff wire or bent wire coat hanger that is long enough to reach into the drain. Create a hook on the wire with needle nose pliers. Finally, go down into the drain to remove any gunk or hair that is accumulating on the crossbars. (Only go a few inches under the stopper to avoid pipe damage).
#2: Plunge the Drain
Another chemical-free drain unclogging technique you can try is plunging. While many homeowners are familiar with plunging the toilet, plunging the drain may not come to mind. With a little muscle and effort, it’s possible to unclog stubborn drains this way. Here’s how:
- Remove the stopper or drain cover
- Turn on the shower or bath to run some water—3-4 inches is ideal
- If unclogging a sink, place a rag in the overflow drain hole to seal it
- Apply petroleum jelly to the lip of the toilet plunger; this improves the seal and suction during plunging
- Put the plunger over the drain and put some serious muscle into plunging repeatedly. The hair, gunk or a combination of stuff should begin to emerge through the drain. Eventually, the tub/shower or sink will begin to drain freely.
When It’s Time to Call the Local Plumbing Pros
If you’ve attempted Steps #1 and #2 and you still seem to have a clogged drain, it’s time to call on a team of trusted plumbing experts. Even if you decide you’d rather not go through the hassle of the troubleshooting steps, there’s no reason to feel badly about reaching out for help. Busy homeowners know it’s best to leave these kinds of tasks to the experts.
At Armor Plumbing, we will get the bottom of your clogged drain issue immediately and provide the safe, affordable solutions you need to get your plumbing functioning optimally once again. Connect with our team online now to schedule an appointment or to get more information about how to unclog a drain without chemicals.