Plumbing Hacks: 3 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Unclog a Drain

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that a clogged drain is a pain the you-know-what. But you may be surprised to learn that you don’t always need complicated tools to fix the issue. In fact, you can often resolve common blockages – caused by hair, soap scum, or oils – with simple solutions using everyday household items. 

3 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Unclog a Drain

Next time you have a clogged drain, try to get things flowing again with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar, a wet/dry shop vacuum, or a homemade drain snake using a metal wire and cut-up plastic bottle.

Natural drain cleaner

If you have a sink or shower that’s starting to drain slowly, it may be tempting to nip things in the bud with a liquid drain cleaner. However, these products typically contain harsh chemicals that give off dangerous fumes and can deteriorate your pipes. Instead, try this homemade and natural version of a drain cleaner. The fizzing action of baking soda mixed with vinegar can often loosen up blockages enough that they pass through the trap or pipe.

  • First, mix 1 cup of baking soda with a pinch or two of salt
  • Pour the dry mixture down the clogged drain
  • Pour a cup of vinegar into the drain
  • Wait 20 minutes
  • Flush drain with boiling water.

Wet/dry shop vacuum

Shop vacuums are handy devices that can be used in many different home projects, including unclogging certain sink or tub drains. The high suction power of a shop vacuum can often pull up the obstruction in the pipe. Here’s how it works:

  • Set the shop vacuum to the liquid function and cover the vent
  • For a sink or tub drain, plug the overflow drain hole with a wet rag
  • Place the vacuum hose over the drain hole and make sure it has a tight seal
  • Turn on the vacuum for about 15 seconds
  • Check the canister for a clump or hard objection that could be the blockage
  • Run water to test the drain, and repeat the process if needed

Homemade drain snake

A drain snake (also called a plumber’s snake or auger) is a drain cleaning tool that plumbers have used for generations. If you don’t have a drain snake at your home, you can use a pipe cleaner, a straightened clothes hanger, or make this simple tool out of a plastic bottle:

  • Start with an empty 2-liter plastic bottle
  • Cut the bottle around the circumference of the bottle to create a long, thin strip of plastic (it will look like a spiral as you’re cutting)
  • At one end, cut a few small ridges or teeth

Once you have your homemade tool, insert it into the clogged drain, wiggle it around a bit when it’s as far deep as it will go, then pull it out. If you remove a large clump of hair or gunk, that’s a good sign that you removed the blockage.

Professional draining cleaning in Amarillo, TX

If these DIY plumbing hacks don’t fix your clogged drain, then it’s time to call in the professionals. A licensed plumber will have the knowledge and advanced equipment to identify the blockage and remove it safely. 

In the Amarillo area, the team to trust is Pratt Plumbing. Call us today at (806) 373-7866 to schedule your drain cleaning service.

Request Job Estimate