There are all sorts of ways to clear a clogged drain if you don't have a bottle of drain cleaner on hand. Have you ever taken a shower and ended up with ankle-deep water because the drain was totally clogged with hair, soap and other icky stuff? It's definitely not a good way to start the day, especially if you don't have a convenient way to clear it out. Well, you won't need a bottle of Draino if you already know a few other ways to clear a clogged drain. These 7 tips will help eliminate clogs by using things you probably already have at home.
If possible, try to avoid waiting until your drain is completely backed-up before you deal with it. If your drain starts to move slowly, take action as soon as possible. One of the lesser-known ways to clear a clogged drain is with a couple packets of live yeast. Simply dump the packets of yeast and a pinch or two of salt down the drain. Flush it with a cup of really hot water, then wait about 45 minutes before pouring another cup of hot water down the drain. As the yeast expands, it will break up stubborn hair clogs and grime.
2. Baking Soda & Vinegar
When you mix baking soda and vinegar together, a chemical reaction happens. Well, you can use this to your advantage if you have a slow-moving or clogged drain. This chemical reaction will break up soap, grease and other nasty clogs. Pour one part baking soda and two parts vinegar into your drain. The mixture will start to fizz, so wait about 10 minutes before you flush it with really hot water. Repeat the process, if necessary, to clear a deep, stubborn clog.
3. Dishwasher Gel
When your drain starts to move slowly, you know a clog is beginning to form. To clear it, did you know you can use regular dishwasher detergent? Just squirt the dishwasher gel down the drain and follow it with boiling water. Since dishwasher gel is designed to cut through grease on your dishes, it makes sense that it can cut through grease and grime in your drain, right? If you don't see enough progress after performing this process once, go ahead and repeat it, if necessary.
4. Vaseline on Your Plunger
Sometimes, the easiest way to dislodge a clog is with a good old fashioned plunger. When the clog is deep, you'll need to get the best suction possible in order to clear it. One way to do this is by smearing a thick layer of petroleum jelly, like Vaseline, around the rim of the plunger. The Vaseline will help you achieve the greatest suction, making the job a little easier. If you can't get better suction with the Vaseline, you may not have added enough to the rim of your plunger.
5. Baking Soda & Salt
For kitchen sinks that are clogged with grease and grime, this mixture can help clear out a slow-moving drain. Simply pour half a cup of baking soda and the same amount of table salt down the drain, together. Then chase it with about two cups of boiling water. Let it sit for at least four hours. Better yet, let it sit overnight before you use the drain again. The combination of salt and baking soda cuts through yucky grease and deodorizes your drain at the same time.
6. Cream of Tartar Mixture
This mixture works best on drains that are just starting to move slowly and can be used on a weekly or monthly basis to maintain clear drains. In a covered container, combine a quarter-cup of cream of tartar with one cup each of salt and baking soda. Measure out a quarter-cup of the mixture and dump it down the drain, followed by a cup of boiling water. If you are dealing with a slow-moving drain, let it sit for a few hours before you use it again. If you don't have a clog, but you are using this mixture to maintain a clear drain, immediately chase the boiling water with cold water.
7. Lemon Juice & Baking Soda
Pour equal parts of lemon juice and baking soda down the drain. Let the mixture foam up for about five minutes, then follow it with really hot water. The mixture of baking soda and lemon juice will accomplish two things: it will cut through the grime and deodorize your drain. This combination is much safer on your plumbing system than a harsh chemical cleaner. Plus, it smells much nicer, too.
If none of these homemade drain cleaners work, it might be time to call a plumber. However, they do work for many people, so it's worth a shot, right? Do you have any DIY drain cleaner recipes that work well?