A clogged drain–it’s gross, inconvenient and unsightly. Of course, when it comes to unclogging a drain, the process can be even more irritating than the drain itself. So we’ve compiled a few methods you might want to try before calling in a plumber.
Note: Before you proceed, you’ll want to try and pinpoint the makeup of the clog so you can find a solution that best deals with it. If you’re in a bathroom, it’s likely to be hair and/or soap scum. In a kitchen, it could be a grease clog or built-up food.
Insta-Flo Drain Cleaner. If you don’t want to use a chemical product, steer clear of Insta-Flo. While visiting a local hardware store in Kansas City to find a solution for a clogged bathroom sink, the store’s owner steered us past the Drano and to Insta-Flo, saying that it would work on almost anything and this is the best buy.
Insta-Flo is made of non-acid crystals that are activated by hot water. You flush the drain for a minute with hot water, then dump a cup of crystals into the drain. Let sit for about 30 seconds, and then begin flushing the crystals with more hot water. They’ll pop and fizz as they dissolve, and the solution will move down into the drain to dissolve the clog.
Insta-Flo also works on grease, so it’s great for kitchen sinks, too. Another benefit of Insta-Flo is that you can use it monthly to help maintain the cleanliness of your drains, thereby preventing a clog. The only caveat? This stuff is harsh and poisonous — there’s a blatant warning smack on the front of the bottle. We recommend using rubber gloves, and make sure you don’t breathe in the dust from the crystals. Although the stuff’s potent, it works, so just be sure to handle with care.
Plunger. You can try a plunger to clear a drain. Before you start, coat the lip of the plunger with petroleum jelly, which will help form a tighter seal. Also fill the sink or tub with enough water to cover the head of the plunger, which will also help with the seal. You may be able to get the clog unstuck and moved through the drain pipe.
Vinegar. If you’d prefer a natural, chemical-free alternative, try flushing the drain with vinegar. You can also add baking soda, which will foam when it reacts with the vinegar, and may be powerful enough to help dissolve the clog. Let the vinegar and baking solution sit in the drain for about 20 minutes before flushing it through with hot water.
We hope you find these solutions helpful! Any other drain unclogging tricks we missed?