CHEMCALS OR PLUNGERS?
WARNING: Should you wish to perform your own
plumbing maintenance using the information we provide on this
website, please be advised that Old School Plumbing cannot be
held responsible for any work not performed by our own
licensed master plumber. Failure to contract any plumbing
work to a licensed master plumber could result in serious bodily
injury or death.
A stopped sink drain isn't just an inconvenience; it can sometimes be an
emergency. It's always best to prevent clogs before they happen. Be alert to
the warning signs of a sluggish drain. It's easier to open a drain that's
slowing down than one that's stopped completely.
Run or pour scalding water down the drain to break up grease buildups.
If hot water doesn't unclog the drain, there could be some object in the
To check, remove and thoroughly clean the sink pop-up stopper or strainer.
Determine if the clog is close to the sink by checking the other drains in
your home. If more than one won't clear, something is stuck in the main
The most effective way to clear a clog is with a snake.
You can try using a plunger or a chemical drain .
Clearing Drains with a
The plunger is a good drain-clearing tool, but it often fails to work
because it's incorrectly used. Don't make the typical mistake of pumping up
and down two or three times, expecting the water to whoosh down the drain.
Though no great expertise is needed to use this simple tool, here are a few
tips to guide you:
Choose a plunger with a suction cup large enough to cover the drain opening
Fill the clogged fixture with enough water to cover the plunger cup.
Coat the rim of the plunger cup with petroleum jelly to ensure a tight seal.
Block off all other outlets (the overflow, second drain in a double sink,
adjacent fixtures) with wet rags.
Insert the plunger into the water at an angle so no air remains trapped
Use 15 to 20 forceful strokes, holding the plunger upright and pumping
Repeat the plunging two or three times before giving up.
Using Chemical Drain Cleaners
Though routine use of chemical drain cleaners to prevent clogs may
eventually damage your pipes, these cleaners can be helpful in opening
clogged drains. If water is draining somewhat, but plunging has failed to
open the drain completely, you may want to try using a drain cleaner.
Whenever you use chemicals, do so with caution and in a well-ventilated
room. Be sure to take these precautions:
Never use a plunger if a chemical cleaner is present in the drain; you risk
splashing caustic water on yourself.
Wear rubber gloves to prevent the chemical from burning your skin.
Don't use a chemical cleaner if the blockage is total, especially if the
fixture is filled with water. It won't clear the blockage and you'll face
another problem-how to get rid of the caustic water.
Never use a chemical cleaner in a garbage disposal.
Read labels and match cleaners with clogs. Alkalis cut grease; acids
dissolve soap and hair.
Don't mix chemicals. Mixing an acid and an alkali cleaner can cause an
Don't look down the drain after pouring a chemical. The solution often boils
up and gives off toxic fumes.