Help! My Drains Are Clogged

blocked drains

This is a collaborative post

Oh gross! Your sink, shower, or toilet is backing up and dirty, smelly water is taking up residence where it shouldn’t. How do you get your drains running smoothly once more?

There are a few methods that can help. Their effectiveness usually depends on what caused the blockage in the first place. Let’s learn a bit about items that commonly block up pipes and what you can do to clear them out.

What’s in Your Drainpipe?

The only things that should be going down your drain are water, human waste, and a little bit of toilet paper. Unfortunately, in many homes, these aren’t the only items going down the drain.

Check out these common items that people put down drains that should NEVER go down the drain:

  • Kitty litter: clumps together in water and quickly creates a blockage
  • Food waste: bits like coffee grounds and tea leaves don’t break down readily
  • Grease: hot grease is liquid, cold grease isn’t and the jellylike consistency will easily block up your pipes
  • Dirt: shower with a little bit of dirt on your body, but if you’re super muddy, rinse off outdoors first. Lots of dirt is rife with debris and tiny rocks that will quickly wreak havoc
  • Soap: using soap is just fine, letting bars of soap slip down the drain can lead to clogs
  • Toiletries: each year billions of tampons, sanitary pads, and other debris is flushed down toilets, causing clogs in the home and problems at the wastewater processing plant
  • Hair: hair, whether long or short, can get stuck in the pipes and create a web for other debris to get stuck and cause problems

Are you guilty of allowing any of these items to go down the drain, whether inadvertently or on purpose? Take care to avoid this to avoid clogged drains the future.

How to Fix a Clogged Drain

There are a few methods you can try to fix a clogged drain. You can try pouring boiling water or a solvent down the drain to dissolve the clog or one of these other ideas.

DIY Drain Plunger

If there is still water moving through, albeit slowly, you may be able to loosen the clog with a plunger. This device forms a seal around the drain and forces air into the pipe to dislodge the clog.

DIY Drain Snake

More stubborn clogs will require a bit of an extra push. If the clog is close enough to the drain, you may be able to reach it with a DIY drain snake made out of an old coat hanger. This can also be good for hooking hair clogs in a shower.

Call a Plumber

If the DIY methods fail, or you don’t like the idea of fighting with it yourself, it’s time to call a plumber. Before you do, ensure anyone who works on your drains is licenced for drainage work.

Enjoy a Clog-Free Drain

Once you get the drain taken care of, keep your drains clear by not allowing any of the items we’ve talked about to go down your drains.