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How to Clear Clogged Drains

Sunday, November 17, 2019   /   by Scott Ivey

How to Clear Clogged Drains

Have standing water in your shower or a clogged sink drain? It could be a lot easier than you think to get the water draining again. Here are a few things to try (besides harsh chemicals) to unclog a drain before you call the plumber.

Clearing a Clogged Kitchen Drain

If you’ve got a clogged kitchen sink, chances are, it’s caused by grease or food particles, or a combination of both.

1. Start by Boiling Water

If you’ve got a partially clogged sink, wait until all of the water drains and then carefully pour at least two quarts of very hot or boiling water (hot tap water won’t do it) down the drain. Repeat if it doesn’t work the first time.

2. Get out the Plunger

If hot water doesn’t work, it’s time to try a plunger–a standard cup plunger works best. If you have a double kitchen sink, seal the second drain with a stopper or wet cloth. Otherwise, the plunger will simply send the water up into the second sink instead of down the drain pipe.

If necessary, fill the sink with enough water to cover the bottom of the plunger. Place the plunger over the drain, and make sure there is a good seal against the sink. Work plunger straight up down and up in quick strokes to clear the clog.

Clearing a Clogged Bathroom Drain

Your bathroom sink, tub, or shower drain is typically clogged by hair, along with residue from soap and personal care products like shaving cream. Before you try to clear the clog, first check if the drain has a pop-up stopper. If it does, you will likely need to remove it.

Start with the same steps as clearing a kitchen sink drain: use very hot water, and then a plunger. If the sink is still clogged or drains slowly, you might want to try a “hair snare” type of drain-cleaning tool. These inexpensive plastic tools are long (about 20”) thin strips with teeth or barbs that you can use to snag clogged debris or hair.

Drain Still Clogged?

If all else fails, it may be time to call the plumber. If you have a First American home warranty, plumbing stoppages are typically covered, so simply sign in to place a service request.

Keep Drains Clog Free

As with many home maintenance tasks, a little prevention can go a long way to help keep your drains clog free.

For Kitchen Sinks

  • Never put fats, oil, or grease down the drain.

  • Wipe or scrape excess fat or grease from pots and pans into the garbage.

  • Don’t put food waste down the drain.

  • Pouring very hot water down your sink several times a month can help reduce build-up.

  • Know what's OK to put in the garbage disposal.

For Bathroom Sink and Showers

Use a hair filter or drain catcher in bathroom drains. They are inexpensive and really work to keep hair out of the drain. There are numerous types that will fit different tub and shower drains and covers.

This article is about...


·        Plumbing

·        Kitchens

·        Bathrooms