Blocked Drain? Try These 3 Simple Tricks to Clear the Clog

Eugene Vargas

A blocked drain is a major inconvenience, but it doesn't have to lead to an expensive plumber's bill. Next time you experience a blockage, first try these three simple tricks to clear it.

Make Your Own Drain Claw

Plumbers often use a tool called a drain claw to clear a blocked drain. You can buy these tools in hardware stores, but if it's late at night or you don't feel like running out to buy one, then make your own by straightening out a wire coat hanger and then bending over one end to make a hook.

You can use this hook to snag hair or other objects that are blocking your drain and pull them out. If you're unblocking a shower drain, then prepare to be disgusted by the amount of hair you pull out. Your shower should drain much faster once that hairball has been removed from the pipes.

Try a Homemade Drain Cleaner

Homemade drain cleaners can sometimes be just as effective as commercial chemical formulas. Start by pouring half a cup of bicarbonate of soda down your drain, then follow up immediately with vinegar until the mixture starts to fix. Cover the drain to force the froth down the pipe toward the clog, rather than letting it bubble back up toward you. After letting the mixture sit for 30 minutes, try sending some hot water down the drain to see whether the clog has cleared.

Plunge It

Use a plunger to clear a blockage in a toilet, shower, bathtub or sink drain. For best results, cover up the overflow holes on your tub or basin with duct tape, then place your plunger over the drain, making sure that it forms a seal. Plunge it up and down to force air in and out of the pipe, which will hopefully dislodge the clog.

When All Else Fails

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you can't dislodge the clog that is blocking your drain. The clog could be lodged too far down the pipe for your methods to have an effect, or maybe it's just well and truly stuck. It could also be a complicated problem that is hard to take care of on the surface.

Whatever the reason, your next step is to call a plumber. The professionals can use their experience to diagnose the problem, and, if necessary, take apart your pipes to remove the clog and return your drain to full working order.