A clogged drain is an annoyance we’ve all dealt with. We all also think we know how to deal with a clogged drain. Not all solutions are created equal, however.
If not versed in plumbing, what we do with the intention of fixing the clog can quickly be the catalyst for disaster! Read on to learn about 7 plumbing myths about clogged drains you should never listen to!
1. Hot Water and Grease
Never pour grease down a drain, even with hot water. Especially in a garbage disposal. The hot water will only push the water further into the pipes, where it will start to coagulate and form a blockage and lead to a clogged sink drain.
Our drain pipes were never meant to dispose of grease. It can be a problem all the way down the line. The best way to deal with grease is to pour it into a container and throw it directly into the garbage.
2. Flushable Wipes
Manufacturers often call things “flushable” when they are not flushable. Parents love them for potty training toddlers, others like to clean themselves with them. However, it’s not the best idea to flush them.
Flushable wipes rarely pass flushability tests and are known to cause clogging. They are so bad for pipes, that they cause damage to sewage processing plants! Don’t flush them, just toss them in the garbage.
This also goes for other “flushable” items such as feminine hygiene products, paper towels, and excess toilet paper. All of these items are too heavy for the water pressure to safely push through the drains. This can cause worse problems than a clogged drain.
3. Chemical Drain Cleaners
This seems counter-intuitive, but these cleaners have harsh chemicals that can eat away at pipes. If you do have to use them, do it in moderation, even with PVC pipes. Better to use baking soda and vinegar, or just plain hot water.
There are other solutions, too. Salt and baking soda followed by hot water can help clean a drain, so does salt, borax, and vinegar. Sometimes, you don’t need the heavy chemicals.
This isn’t to say they don’t have their use. Just like in most aspects of life, moderation is key. Take a look online for the best drain cleaner, for when you have the worst clogs that these other remedies won’t take care of.
4. The Plunger in the Sink
A plunger can be an amazing tool for unstopping drains, but you have to be careful when you do it. If you’ve put a chemical drain cleaner down there, do not use a plunger. It’s possible the drain cleaner will splashback onto you, causing chemical burns.
When can you use a plunger in the sink? When you haven’t used caustic drain cleaner. Also, when it’s a different plunger than the one for your toilet.
Joking aside, here is the best way to use a plunger. The first plunge should be gentle, you just want to get the air out of the plunger’s bell. After that, you can plunge harder.
5. The Drain Snake Vs Clogged Drains
Drain snakes are great at finding a clog. They may not be the best tool to unclog them, as the clogged drain may stop up again after it’s been “fixed”. Sometimes you need a heavy-duty solution.
That solution might be a $30 drain auger from your local hardware store. Heavy duty and portable, drain augers are used by plumbers everywhere. It will get your clogged shower drain free of amassed hair and other gunk.
There is a chance you’ll need something heavier than a $30 auger. At that stage, upgrading is very cost-prohibitive. Time to call in the professionals.
6. The Slowly Draining Sink
You’ve likely been told at some point that if your sink drains slowly, don’t worry about it, it’ll fix itself. Don’t waste money on a plumber or a drain clog remover. Do not listen to them.
If your drain is slow-flowing, this may be a sign of big problems. It might be a clogged drain, or something worse. But you can’t just ignore it and hope it fixes itself. It wouldn’t hurt to pour some boiling water down the drain to see if it helps.
If it doesn’t help, try the baking soda and vinegar treatment. Next would be your standard chemical cleaner. After that, you might need to call for help.
7. The Garbage Disposal
If you have a garbage disposal, that should always be the first thing you check for a clog. First by running it with cold water, if the water drains, you’re good. If it doesn’t you might need to root around down there (with the disposal off) to check the situation.
If it doesn’t move or make any noise, it might need to be replaced. If it does, you could try and replace it yourself. You might be better served to get professional help, however.
If it’s just a smell you’re worried about, squeeze some lemon juice down the drain and run the disposal for a moment. You’ll get the same benefits of throwing lemon peels down the disposal, but less risk of the peel contributing to any clogs down the line.
When searching for the best ways to fix clogged drains, it can often be a situational thing. One time, you may not need something powerful. Other times you might need to use something that you need to plug in!
Either way, do your research! Don’t do something that could lead from simple clogged drains to disaster! And, for more plumbing and other tips, take a look through our catalogue of quality content.