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Why DIY Attempts to Declog Drains Often Miss the Mark

declog drain diy

Poke around online for an hour looking at DIY methods of unclogging drains, and you are bound to see some very bad advice. In fact, much of the common knowledge and most frequent tips for how to free-up a drain end up just adding to the problem.

Bad advice #1 – Pour boiling water down the offending drain

It is true that hot water can help loosen a clog, but you have to be careful. The Uniform Plumbing Code states that water over 140 Fahrenheit should not be poured into drains. This is because the pipes are usually plastic and can warp under excess temperatures. You may successfully declog the pipes while permanently damaging them.

Instead, turn the water all the way to its hottest setting and add some detergent. Hot water and soap are what break up a lot of the grime in our lives, from the dishwasher to the washing machine, to ourselves in the shower. Give it a shot, but keep the water in the normal range of heat to avoid harming the pipes.

Bad advice #2 – Dump baking soda down the drain and chase it with vinegar

Maybe people are still impressed with the effect of the science class volcanos, but there are many online calling for this classic combination to be utilized in declogging of drains. There is a pretty impressive chemical reaction, so it’s not a terrible thought, but the reaction’s aftermath is just a little slightly salty water, which is not nearly tough enough to take on a clog. Think about it. If the byproduct was anything more serious, would your elementary teacher have let you dump these elements around with little supervision?

Bad advice #3 – Jam a coat hanger down in there and ram it around a bit

This can be effective in removing some hair and scum while breaking up a clog. It’s a DIY snake and does work for a lot of people.

But there’s a problem. Many people are not very careful and end up poking a sharp, metal object repeatedly against their plastic pipes. It is not uncommon for a coat hanger snake to end up poking a hole in the pipe the person was attempting to clean. Leave the snaking to the professionals, or at least be very careful and only work at removing debris near the drain opening.

Bad advice #4 – Take apart the sink trap and see what you see

The curvy-shaped pipe called a sink trap is often clogged and can be cleaned out from time to time. The problem comes when someone who doesn’t quite know what they’re doing pulls out a wrench and starts cranking at pipes. If you are knowledgeable enough though, this is not a piece of bad advice. It just happens to be slightly outside the expertise of most DIYers with a clogged drain.

Good advice – Call PlumbV and we’ll take care of tough drain clogs

We service Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Cary and the surrounding areas of the Triangle area and unclogging a difficult drain is well within our wheelhouse. Before pulling out that wrench or going to the pantry for the vinegar and baking soda, give us a call at (919) 443-0105 .

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