How to unblock a drain
Blocked drains are a nuisance; try clearing them with these helpful hints
There’s no doubt that blocked drains in your household come at a massive annoyance. Seemingly, more often than not the problem happens at the most inconvenient of times.
The team at Brisbane Plumbing and Drainage are very experienced at dealing with blocked drains, with knowledge of all the remedies commonly used to tackle them.
This article will explore the methods we most often hear about, providing you with some essential advice on clearing out drain blockages.
Home remedies for blocked drains
Naturally, a lot of us try to fix problems around the house by ourselves, in a quest to save both money and effort. It isn’t recommended that you try a D.I.Y. repair, as you’d be risking further damage to your plumbing system. However, if you’re so inclined, read on for a guide on home remedies.
Chemical drain cleaners
First and foremost, we’re aware of the presence of drain cleaners on the market. Found in supermarket aisles and hardware stores, these solutions contain dangerous chemicals. Drain cleaners aren’t just an environmental hazard; they can pose a threat to your plumbing system and fixtures, along as being a danger to your health.
Outlined below are some safer, more natural remedies to blocked drains.
To preface this, we highly recommend you take necessary safety precautions when carrying out any plumbing maintenance by yourself. This can include wearing rubber gloves, long-sleeved clothing, closed-in footwear and if possible, eye protection.
Using a plunger
A tad old school, perhaps, though your typical household plunger can prove an effective tool against small drain blockages. The method of operation is as follows:
- Displace whatever is covering the drain, whether it be a stopper, grate or sink strainer.
- Fill the sink with a small amount of water. Plunge up and down for 30 seconds or so.
- If you’re successful in clearing the blockage, pour hot water down the drain - this can help remove any residue still attached to the inside of the pipe.
(Almost) Boiling water
Simple and mostly risk-free, using hot water to flush your drains is a great way to remove smaller blockages. Remember with this method, heating the water at too high a temperature can cause damage to the structure of PVC pipes.
- Heat water to just-below boiling
- Collect a teaspoon of your standard dishwashing detergent, and pour it down the affected drain
- Pour a litre (or more if necessary) of water down the drain
The method involves a bit of repetition if you want your drain to run as clearly as possible.
D.I.Y. Cleaner: Baking soda & vinegar
The combination of baking soda, vinegar and boiling water is a proven drain unblocker.
When baking soda and vinegar are mixed together, creating a bubbling reaction that can loosen and break through the build-up in the drain.
- Pour a litre of (almost) boiling water down the drain you’re trying to unblock
- Put ½ a cup of baking soda in the drain, leaving it there for a few minutes
- Pour a whole cup of plain vinegar, along with a whole cup of (almost) boiling water down the drain
- Fit the plug in the stopper, leaving for 10 minutes
- Pour another litre of (almost) boiling water down the drain; this will help dislodge any further build-up
Professional blocked drain repair
As previously mentioned, it’s highly recommended that you leave all your plumbing issues to fully licenced professionals.
Blocked drains can represent an underlying problem in your plumbing system. For example, annoyances such as blocked toilets and clogged sinks can be a result of tree roots in underground pipes or the presence of foreign matter in your plumbing supply. Only a fully-qualified plumber has the experience and technical skills to make sure your drains are in proper working order.