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Unstoppable Drains: 5 Secrets of Clog Elimination


Clogged drains – they’re the arch-nemesis of every homeowner. When your sink or bathtub starts draining at a glacial pace or, worse yet, refuses to drain at all, it can lead to frustration and, sometimes, a hefty plumbing bill. 

But fear not! In this article, we’re going to unveil the secrets of clog elimination that will have your drains running smoothly like a well-oiled machine. Say goodbye to the frustration and expense, and let’s get started!

The Science Behind Clogs

Before we dive into the secrets of clog elimination, let’s take a moment to understand the science behind clogs. When water runs down your drain, it often carries with it bits of food, grease, hair, soap scum, and other debris. 

Over time, these particles can accumulate on the walls of your pipes, forming a stubborn obstruction that restricts the flow of water. This accumulation is what we commonly refer to as a “clog.”

Clogs come in all shapes and sizes, from minor obstructions that slow down water flow to complete blockages that leave you with a sink full of stagnant water. The good news is that there are various methods to tackle these clogs effectively.

Secret #1: Prevention Is Key

The best way to deal with clogs is to stop them from occurring in the first place. The following are ways to help you keep your drains flowing freely:

1. Use Drain Strainers

Install drain strainers in your sinks and bathtubs. These inexpensive devices catch hair, food particles, and other debris before they have a chance to enter your pipes.

2. Don’t Pour Grease Down the Drain

Grease is a notorious clog culprit. Avoid pouring cooking grease or oils down your kitchen sink. Instead, let them solidify in a container and dispose of them in the trash.

3. Run Hot Water

After using the shower or sink, pour hot water for a few minutes. Hot water can help flush away grease and soap residue that might be clinging to the inside of your pipes.

4. Be Cautious with What You Flush

Your toilet is not a trash can. Flushing items like paper towels, sanitary products, and cotton balls can lead to clogs in your toilet and the sewer system.

Secret #2: The Plunger’s Power

When a clog rears its ugly head, one of your most potent weapons is the trusty plunger. Here’s how to use it effectively:

1. Use the Right Plunger

There are two types of plungers: the cup and the flange plungers. The cup plunger is designed for sinks and bathtubs, while the flange plunger is for toilets. Ensure to use the right one for the job.

2. Create a Seal

For a plunger to work its magic, it needs a good seal. Make sure the plunger completely covers the drain opening. In the case of a toilet, make sure the flange is inside the drain.

3. Apply Firm Pressure

With the plunger in place, apply firm and even pressure. Push down and then pull up, creating a suction effect. Repeat this motion several times until the water starts draining freely.

4. Have Patience

Clogs often don’t disappear with just a few plunges. Be patient and persistent. It might take several rounds of plunging to clear the blockage completely.

Secret #3: Baking Soda and Vinegar Magic

You’ve probably heard of the classic baking soda and vinegar combination for cleaning and unclogging drains. Here’s how it works:

1. Pour Boiling Water First

Begin by pouring a boiling water in the drain. This helps to soften and loosen the clog.

2. Add Baking Soda

Next, sprinkle about half a cup of baking soda down the drain.

3. Follow with Vinegar

Pour a mixture of one cup of vinegar and one cup of hot water down the drain immediately after the baking soda.

4. Cover and Wait

Cover the drain to keep the fizzy reaction contained. Let it be for at around 10-15 minutes.

5. Flush with Hot Water

Remove the cover, and pour another pot of boiling water down the drain to wash away the loosened clog.

This method is safe, environmentally friendly, and often effective for minor clogs.

Secret #4: The Plumbing Snake

For more stubborn clogs that won’t budge with plunging or homemade solutions, a plumbing snake, also known as an auger, can be your savior:

1. Insert the Snake

Insert the snake’s cable into the drain. Keep pushing until you encounter resistance, which is the clog.

2. Turn the Handle

Once you reach the clog, turn the snake’s handle clockwise to break it apart. Keep pushing and turning until the cable moves freely through the drain.

3. Retract the Snake

Carefully retract the snake, bringing the broken clog with it. Be cautious not to damage your pipes during this process.

4. Flush with Water

After removing the blockage, run hot water in the drain to flush out any debris.

A plumbing snake is a versatile tool that can tackle even the most stubborn clogs. However, if you’re uncomfortable using it, it’s best to call a professional plumber.

Secret #5: Call in the Pros about Your Clogged Drains

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, clogs can be so stubborn or deep within your plumbing system that they require professional intervention. Here are some signs that it’s time to call in the experts:

  • Multiple Drains Clogged: If several drains in your home are clogged simultaneously, it could indicate a more extensive issue in your main sewer line.
  • Recurring Clogs: If the same drain keeps clogging shortly after you’ve cleared it, it might be a symptom of a more significant problem.
  • Foul Odors: Unpleasant odors emanating from your drains can be a sign of a sewage backup or other plumbing issue.
  • Gurgling Drains: If your drains make gurgling sounds when you use them, it could be due to air escaping through clogs or damaged pipes.

Calling a professional plumber in these situations can save you time, money, and the hassle of trying to tackle complex plumbing issues on your own.

Wrapping It Up

Clogged drains are an annoyance that most homeowners face at some point, but with these secrets of clog elimination, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle them head-on. Remember to be proactive in preventing clogs by practicing good drain care habits, and when clogs do occur, start with simple DIY methods like plunging and baking soda and vinegar. 

For more stubborn clogs, a plumbing snake can be your best friend. And when all else fails, don’t hesitate to call in the professionals. With these secrets in your toolkit, your drains will be unstoppable!

Louw Bros Plumbing: Your Trusted Partner for Comprehensive Plumbing Solutions

With branches in Cape Town, Plettenberg Bay, and Knysna, Louw Bros Plumbing offers a wide range of expert services, from leak detection and geyser installation to drainage maintenance and emergency repairs, ensuring the highest quality and customer satisfaction across South Africa.