5 ways to fix clogged drain

Clogged pipes bring down the usual rhythm of life. You can no longer comfortably take a shower or do a quick wash of dishes without being up to your elbows in stagnant water. Clogs in pipes happen all the time. They are formed by hair, fat, pieces of food and other things that gradually get inside the pipe. You can get rid of the blockage on your own or call a plumber. From our article, you will learn about 5 easy ways to clear pipes, their effectiveness, benefits and harms to pipes. With Almco Plumbing, you can unclog pipes in no time.


Unclogging drain with baking soda

how to clean drains with baking soda

Time10-15 minutes
ToolsBaking soda
MessNo mess
SafetyNot safe for pipes
EfficiencyOnly for small blockages

Cleaning pipes with chemicals that contain sodium chloride is the most popular way to get rid of clogs. Pipe cleaners can be bought at any store. Its use is very simple: just pour the substance into the drain, wait, and then rinse with water. Instructions for each chemical are indicated on the packaging.

Buying the chemical is optional. You can create a solution yourself, using soda, vinegar and hot water. Guide for using soda to clean a drain is simple:

  1. Pour a pot of boiling water down the drain – this will create optimal conditions for a chemical reaction.
  2. Pour in 1 glass of soda mixed with water;
  3. Immediately pour in a glass of vinegar solute;
  4. Wait 10-15 minutes for the reaction between the blockage and the poured solute to take place;
  5. Flush the drain with plenty of hot water.

How does it work?

Baking soda and vinegar react well with each other. During the reaction they create bubbles of carbon dioxide. This breaks down the blockage, making it friable. Boiling water, with which you wash off the blockage, creates the necessary pressure. Under its impact the softened blockage breaks through and water passes freely into the space. This method is suitable for removing small blockages.

Pros and cons of using soda for drain cleaning

Benefits of using chemicals with baking soda to clean drains:

  • 🔷 the procedure takes no more than 15 minutes;
  • 🔷 ease of implementation: the instruction includes 5 simple steps;
  • 🔷 leaves no mess after application;
  • 🔷 the cheapest way to clean pipes out of the existing ones.

The disadvantages of the procedure include:

  • 🔷 harm to pipes. Regular use of chemicals corrodes pipes, leading to leaks. Subsequently, it may be necessary to replace the pipe;
  • 🔷 the need for regular use, since the effectiveness of the method is low;
  • 🔷 inability to clear large blockages.

Remember that pipe cleaning chemicals should be used with care. The stronger the substance, the more it damages the pipes.

Cleaning drain with a plunger

how to use plunger to unclog drains

Time30-40 minutes
SafetySafe for pipes
EfficiencyFor small blockages

To successfully unclog pipes with a plunger, it is enough to follow these instructions:

  1. Examine the drain hole. If you see a blockage close to the drain, remove part of it with tweezers. That way you make your job easier.
  2. Close the overflow hole in the sink to create a seal. To do this, use a wet cloth.
  3. Position the plunger perpendicular and make sure it fits snugly around the drain hole.
  4. Pour in some water so that it covers the plunger by one third.
  5. Rotate the plunger in an even up and down motion. Push as hard as you can. Make sure that the plunger is always sealed to the surface.
  6. Every eight strokes, check how well the water flows. If it continues to stagnate, repeat the steps.
  7. You will feel when the blockage breaks through, because you have to put in less effort to create pressure.
  8. Once the clog is clear, flush the drain with hot water.

For effective cleaning, keep the plunger clean. Make sure there are no cracks in it. Do not use petroleum jelly on the plunger. Replace the tool if necessary.

How does it work?

When the rubber cup of the tool is pressed against the drain hole, pressure is built up. Pushing the arm up and down moves this pressure down the drain. Under pressure, the blockage is pushed down.

After using the plunger, the surroundings may be a little dirty. During cleaning, drops of dirty water may scatter to the side. For this reason, wear gloves when using the plunger. After the procedure, the room will have to be tidied up.

There are different types of plungers that fit certain drains. For example, flat-cup plungers are best for clearing blockages in bathroom sinks, while plungers with a funnel at the bottom are best for clearing blockages in the toilet.

Pros and cons of using plunger to clear drains

Advantages of using a plunger for blockages:

  • 🔷 it is an inexpensive method of solving the problem;
  • 🔷 it is safe for pipes;
  • 🔷 it’s an inexpensive tool.

The disadvantages of the method include:

  • 🔷 applying a plunger requires intensity;
  • 🔷 hands may fatigue after using it;
  • 🔷 the plunger copes with small blockages;
  • 🔷 you need to choose the right plunger for your drain, otherwise there will be no effect;
  • 🔷 after using it, there is a mess that needs to be cleaned up.

You may be interested: 5 signs you need a drain cleaning services

Try drain snaking

how to use drain snake to clear bloakages in drain lines

Time30-60 minutes
ToolsDrain auger
SafetyMay be unsafe for pipes
EfficiencyFor small and middle blockages

To snake a clogged drain you need to follow these simple steps:

  1. Insert the end of the snake into the drain hole.
  2. Turn the handle on the drum so that the auger begins to move along the drain. If you feel resistance and this is not a turn of the siphon, then you have reached a blockage;
  3. Keep turning the auger until it attaches to the blockage. If the blockage is soft, the auger will unravel or destroy it. If the blockage is solid, the auger will tangle in it and you get the end of the snake along with the blockage;
  4. When you feel that the auger runs freely along the entire length of the pipe, it means that you have managed to eliminate the blockage;
  5. Finally, rinse the drain with hot water.
  6. After using the auger, rinse it thoroughly to remove debris from the drain. Do not leave the cable wet so that it does not rust.

If you feel that the auger is stuck, stop turning it any further. style turning the cable in the opposite direction and gradually pull the auger out of the drain.

Pros and cons of using drain auger

Main advantage of unclogging drain with a snake is that it can clear blockages that chemicals and a plunger could not remove

Disadvantages of using drain snake:

  • 🔷 it is not a cheap tool to buy, but it can be rented;
  • 🔷 it clears blockages located at a depth of 15-25 feet;
  • 🔷 the use of this tool requires caution and skill;
  • 🔷 improper use of the tool can aggravate the blockage.

Take apart a drain trap

how to take apart a trap and clean drains

Time30-40 minutes
SafetyMay be unsafe for pipes
EfficiencyFor any blockages

The drain trap is a pipe in the shape of a loop, similar to the letter P. It is located under the sink. This loop in the pipe is there to hold some standing water. Its presence in the pipe prevents the ingress of gasses from the sewer. However, a blockage can accumulate in this place, which prevents the water from passing through.

To remove this blockage, you need to disassemble the siphon. We recommend that you prepare a bucket and rags in advance, since when taking apart the system, you will need to drain the rest of the water somewhere. This guide works as a good guide for cleaning the sink drain.

Trap disassembly guide:

  1. First you need to remove the curved element of the siphon. To do this, on both sides of the pipe you need to unscrew the two nuts. Use pliers if nuts are tight. When you remove this element, drain the water from it into a bucket.
  2. Carefully inspect the removed part of the pipe. If there is a blockage, remove it with your hands in gloves.
  3. Inspect the rest of the pipe: make sure that there are no foreign objects in any part of the siphon.
  4. When you clear the blockage, screw the siphon back. Make sure you tighten the nuts tightly so water doesn’t leak through them.

Pros and cons of using drain auger

The advantage of the method is that it can be used to fix any blockage that is located close to the drain. Even if you dropped a foreign object into the sewer, you can solve this problem yourself.

However, the method also has disadvantages. This is not as simple a procedure as fixing a drain with soda. After it, a mess may remain and you will need cleaning. In addition, you may experience leaks if you loosely tighten the nuts.

Call a plumber for clogged drains

book a plumber to clean clogged drains

Time15 minutes
ToolsOnly your phone
MessNo mess
SafetySafe for pipes
EfficiencyFor any blockages

Calling a plumber is the easiest way to clear pipes. You don’t need anything other than a phone. A short guide on how to call a plumber from Almco Plumbing in San Diego:

  1. Go to the “Booking” page.
  2. Fill out the feedback form. You need to indicate the desired date of arrival of the plumber, your name, phone number, time of arrival of the specialist, email and the required service. You can optionally describe the problem.
  3. Click the Send button and wait for our specialists to contact you to clarify the details.

You can also book a plumber by calling (858) 282-0272.

How does it work??

You might be wondering: Why is calling a plumber to clean pipes a good idea? The thing is that all the methods above required the purchase of special tools, harmed the pipes, took a lot of time, or left a lot of dirt behind.

An experienced plumber will cope with the problem in 15 minutes. It will do a neat job – and you don’t even have to spend time cleaning. At the same time, your pipes are guaranteed safety, which will increase their service life.

Before cleaning the pipes, the master evaluates the size of the blockage and its location using a camera. If the blockage can be removed in a simple way, he does this by carefully cleaning the drain in the pipe. If the blockage is severe, the plumber can apply hydro-jetting.

Learn more about the drain cleaning with Almco Plumbing on our plumbing service page.

Pros and cons for drain cleaning with a plumber

Pros of contacting a plumber for cleaning pipes:

  • 🔷 you will save several hours of your time;
  • 🔷 you are guaranteed the integrity of the pipes;
  • 🔷 the house will remain in order after the completion of the procedure;
  • 🔷 you don’t need to buy any tools.

Another non-obvious advantage of this method: if there is a more serious problem with your pipes, you will immediately know about it. And you can prevent more serious damage and save money.

Among the disadvantages of the method, one can single out only the cost. Calling a plumber will cost more than cleaning pipes yourself. At the same time, after plumbing, your pipes will serve you longer without blockages and you are guaranteed safe cleaning.

When to call a plumber for a clogged drain

Remember that not every pipe can be cleaned on its own. Sometimes foreign objects get into the pipes or growths form in them. If you have gone through all the ways of fixing clogged drains and they did not work, then it’s time to turn to a plumber.

What is the best way to clear clogged drains

You can use all of the methods above to clean your shower drain, bathtub drain, or sink drain. In the table below, we summarized the effectiveness of each of the pipe cleaning methods. With the help of this table, it will be easier for you to decide how to get rid of the blockage in the pipe.

CriteriaSodaPlungerSnakingTrap cleaningPlumber
Time10-15 minutes30-40 minutes30-60 minutes30-40 minutes15 minutes
ToolsBaking sodaPlungerDrain augerTongue-and-groove pliersPhone
MessNo messYesYesYesNo mess
SafetyNot safe for pipesSafe for pipesMay be unsafe for pipesMay be unsafe for pipesSafe for pipes
EfficiencyOnly for small blockagesFor small blockagesFor small and middle blockagesFor any blockagesFor any blockages


  1. Using chemicals with baking soda is an easy, fast, and cheap way to clean up a small blockage. However, this method harms the pipes, and therefore you should not use it regularly.
  2. Cleaning with a plunger is safe for pipes and helps with small blockages. However, for the procedure to be effective, strength is needed.
  3. Drain snaking is effective against tough blockages. But this time-consuming procedure requires caution.
  4. You can remove the blockage manually by disassembling the siphon. In this way, you unclog the drain, but after the procedure, the room will remain a mess.
  5. Calling a plumber is the perfect balance between price, time and quality. The cost of drain cleaning in San Diego is low. This way you are guaranteed to get rid of the blockage without any effort.
Published: 07.04.2022

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