What Are Some Simple Ways to Fix a Clogged Drain?

Home Alliance Tech Expert

Clear out standing water. Remove standing water as soon as possible since it attracts insects, germs, and mold. It can be removed so that more water can be added later to flush the drain. Remove visible blockages and check garbage disposal. Put on rubber gloves and clear the garbage area, including undesirable hair and food crumbs. Try boiling water and salt or vinegar and baking soda. After a one-half cup of table salt, boiling water should be poured down the drain. Alternately, combine a cup of baking soda with vinegar, let it bubble for 15 minutes, and then pour boiling water down the drain. Mix half a cup of salt and baking soda, let it sit for a few hours, and then flush with hot water. If required, repeat these steps before contacting a plumber. Plunge it out. Try diving if the mixes with the hot water and those above don't work. Put a rag in the overflow hole of the bathtub or sink first, or cover both sides of a double sink with a cloth or stopper. This makes the seal tighter and applies pressure directly on the obstruction. After several hard plunges, flush the drain with warm water. Clean the P-trap and snake it. The P-trap is located where the sink's drainpipe curves. Underneath, place a bucket or pail to collect any water or trash. On the trap arm and assembly, loosen the slip nut and gently wriggle it free. Do not over-tighten the slip nuts—a hand tighten plus a quarter turn with a tool is secure enough—remove any impediment stuck here and reinstall. Snake the drain. Start snaking if the blockage is not apparent after removing the P-trap. Take off the P-trap to reveal the "stub out" of the pipe, then thread the snake's tip into it. Spin the snake down the drain clockwise while tightening the set screw. Keep rotating the snake when you run against resistance and the obstruction releases. Retract the snake, put the P-trap back together, and thoroughly rinse with warm water to flush the freshly opened line.

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