How to Unclog Any Drain: Sink, Toilet And Tub
Want to know how to deal with clogs in any drain effectively? Check out our comprehensive guide for some handy tips and tricks to keep your pipelines and drains clean.
Although you never want to deal with slow-running sinks and toilets at home, you can’t prevent such situations altogether.
After all, a clog doesn’t come with a warning bell. So, it would help if you learned how to deal with clogs in standard plumbing fixtures before it gets out of hand. Each clog requires a different method of clearing, and you can use various tools for this purpose.
We’ve tried to simplify things for you by curating this guide on unclogging any drain in a toilet, tub, or sink. Go ahead and give it a read.
Let’s look at the tools you’ll need to unclog such drains effectively. After that, we’ll discuss unclogging each type of drain.
This long stick with a suction cup attached at one end can help clear clogs from various plumbing fixtures, including toilets, tubs, and sinks.
A plumber’s snake or cable auger will be beneficial if you need to break obstructions lodged deep down the shower drain pipes. An auger is a flexible device with a long steel cable wound around a spool fitted using a crank. Notably, augers come up to 100 feet long, but you probably won’t need a model more than 25 feet long to tackle a household clog.
You’ll have to rent an electric auger for severe clogs or those far from a fixture. This machine effectively clears almost all stubborn clogs, even those caused by tree roots tangled in the drain.
Lastly, a closet drain auger is specifically designed to drain snake-out toilets. It has a crank like a cable auger, but the cable is enclosed in a shaft rather than a spool. Also, it’s bent at a fixed angle to fit into the tight curves of a trap.
Here’s how you can clear minor clogs with a plunger:
Fill the kitchen sink drains partially with water and then start the plunging process. Ensure you work the plunger up and down several times before pulling it up through the drain’s opening. And in case the kitchen sink is a double-bowl model, you’ll need to stuff a wet rag in one of the drain openings while plunging the other one.
If plunging doesn’t get the work done, use the cable auger to treat the lower portion of the sink. Firstly, you’ll have to detach the sink trap utilising a wrench. Note that you can manually unscrew the threaded coupling on PVC plastic traps.
Now, empty the water in the trap into any bucket and ascertain whether the trap has been unclogged.
Start by removing the trap arm protruding from the wall stub-out next to the pipeline.
The cable auger must be fed within the stub-out until you sense resistance.
Follow this by pulling out 18 inches of the cable and tightening the locking screw. Then, crank the handle clockwise and push simultaneously so that the cable drives further into this pipe.
Again, pull the cable to another 18 inches and repeat the above steps until the blockage is broken. If the cable catches on anything or gets bogged down, turn the crank counterclockwise and pull the auger back.
When the cable is cleared, crank and push it forward again. Then, retrieve it and replace the trap and trap arm.
Finally, test the sink by turning the hot water faucet to ensure it drains correctly. And even if it doesn’t, you don’t have to worry, as the debris from the busted clog may sometimes settle as a temporary loose blockage.
To remove the debris, fill the sink drain with hot water and then work the plunger in the same way as advised for dealing with minor clogs.
A clog often occurs at the upper portion of the up-curving and tight trap in the fixture when it comes to toilets. A plunger can help clear the clog in a few cases, but you might have to use a closet auger in most situations.
It would help if you began by placing the end of the auger in the bowl with the bent tip aiming up.
Hold the tool’s shaft steady, then crank and exert the handle at the start. During this step, you can feel the snake moving up and through the trap.
Continue with the previous step until the entire cable is dispensed to around three feet. Then, retrieve it by pulling up and cranking it simultaneously.
Complete the process by flushing the toilet to clear the drainpipe. If it’s still sluggish, you can run the device through the trap twice — once on the left and then again on the right.
It’s worth noting that bathtubs rarely stop draining all of a sudden. Clogs in bathtubs generally build up within many weeks, so the tub will gradually drain more slowly each day.
As in the case of bathtub clogs, you’ll have to start treating the clogged toilet using a plunger. Here’s how you should proceed:
Firstly, remove the screen from the tub drain, fishing out soap scum or hair with the help of a bent wire.
In the case of a pop-up tub, you’ll have to pull up the lever to open it and then grab the drain stopper.
Next, clean all the soap and hair in and around the hole. This will set things right in most cases.
Cover the holes on the other side of the overflow plate using a wet rag and begin plunging again if there’s no substantial effect.
You’ll have to use a cable auger if the clog isn’t cleared.
Begin by removing the overflow plate from the tub end; then, the stopper link will detach.
Now, feed around 30 inches of the cable through the overflow tube.
You’ll then have to turn the hand crank and push forward. You might feel some resistance, but you must keep cranking the tool until the cable goes further into the P-trap below the tub.
Retrieve the cable and pour a few gallons of hot water into the bathtub drain. Then, put back the overflow plate and the seal or screen.
Clogged drains happen when debris, grease, hair, and other gunk build up in your plumbing systems. Kitchen sinks, toilet bowls, and garbage disposals are common areas where clogged drains occur. But you can take steps to help prevent clogged drains in your home.
One easy DIY natural drain cleaner method is to pour baking soda and boiling water down the clogged drain weekly. The baking soda helps scrub away grease, while the boiling water flushes debris. You can also mix 1⁄4 cup baking soda with 1 cup vinegar for an easy homemade drain cleaner. Simply pour the fizzy mixture down the clogged drain, let it sit for 15 minutes, and then rinse with boiling water.
To help prevent toilet clogs, avoid flushing anything besides toilet paper down the toilet bowl. Items like wipes, tissues, and other trash can get stuck and create clogged drains. You can also do regular drain cleaning as preventive maintenance. Snaking drains every 3-6 months removes built-up gunk and helps keep your drains free-flowing. We advise not to use a chemical drain cleaner for any drain blockage. Although they may clear the drain clog, harsh liquid drain cleaner can actually cause more damage to plumbing.
Practising good habits like wiping grease from pots/pans before washing, using drain strainers, limiting food waste in sinks, and avoiding harsh chemicals will also help avoid clogged drains in your kitchen sinks, tubs and other plumbing systems. Preventing clogs is much easier than dealing with a backed-up clogged drain!
Are you more confident about clearing bathroom sinks, toilet, and tub clogs now? Go ahead and remove the clog coming in the way of a properly functioning plumbing system.
Get hold of both a cable auger and plunger before attempting the job; you never know which of the two you’ll ultimately need.
But, if the clog is still stuck, it may be time to consider a licensed plumber. If you are in Melbourne, contact the plumbers at WP Plumbing. Our drain specialists can unblock your drain in no time so that you can get back to everyday life!
On that note, we’ll wrap things up. Till next time, take care! Good luck the next time you unclog a drain!
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