top of page

Know the Flow: Do’s & Don'ts of Clogged Drains

The Do’s & Don'ts of Clogged Drains

There are few more annoying home repairs that demand immediate attention like clogged drains. Regardless of what you're doing, you generally have to stop everything to fix it - or else lose the use of your sink, tub, or toilet. However, most stopped-up drains can be fixed with the right tools and a little determination.

The Do's

Drain Stick

An effective way to clear clogs caused by hair. This method is as simple as inserting the drain stick down the drain and through the trap. The barbs hook the material and pull up what gets snagged.

Boiling Hot Water + Vinegar + Baking Soda

This treatment can loosen up drain blockages with an explosive chemical reaction. A note of caution: boiling water works best on metal pipes. If you have PVC pipes, water over 175 degrees can soften or melt pipe joints. If you’re unsure, don't use boiling water – just use water as hot as your tap normally makes it.


A plunger can clear a clog if the blockage isn't too far into the pipes. Partially fill the sink with water, then start plunging. If it's a double-bowl kitchen sink, stuff a wet rag into one drain opening while you plunge the other. In a bath sink, stuff the rag into the overflow hole. In both cases, the rag helps deliver the pressure directly to the clog. If plunging doesn’t remove the obstruction, more aggressive measures are necessary.

Drain Snake

Handheld drain snakes are usually less than 10 dollars at hardware stores. The steel wire design allows them to bend around most pipes, and when up against a clog, they can be twisted to catch and remove debris. If not used properly, snakes can compress and enlodge an obstruction more.

The Don’ts

Use Harsh Chemicals

Chemicals can burn and damage skin, clothing, pipes and surfaces. It’s not uncommon for these products to simply move a clog down further, which can cause a larger backup. Add a plunger to the mix and the plunging action will inevitably splatter dangerous chemicals onto your skin or clothing.

Be Afraid to Call a Plumber

If you can't clear a clog after a few attempts, turn the job over to a licensed plumber. Exerting too much force can permanently damage a pipe or fixture.

Sometimes a combination of techniques is needed to clear stubborn clogs. Start simple, then work your way up. Remember that unclogging drains can get messy - so always have a bucket, rags, and a sponge close by.

If you need professional help for a clogged drain or information on other services we provide, visit Action Drain’s website or call (509) 467-1717.


bottom of page