Drain Cleaning – How to Prevent Clogged Toilets

Most people only think about Drain Cleaning Philadelphia PA when there’s a problem, but it can help to make it part of your home maintenance. It can reduce repair costs, keep your plumbing in better condition, and prevent serious clogs.

Drain Cleaning

Liquid drain cleaners can damage your pipes, and the chemicals can seep into groundwater supplies, contaminating drinking water. There are many alternatives that are safer for your plumbing and the environment.

The drainage system in a home is configured a little like the branches of a tree with a main line and sublines that run from it, into sinks, toilets and other fixtures. Sometimes, waste from hair, soap scum, food scraps and grease gets into these drain lines, blocking their flow. These clogs can be easy to identify and even easier to fix, but only if you know what to look for. Most clogged drains form over time as materials stick to pipe walls and slow or block the flow of water and waste. The best way to keep clogs at bay is to perform preventative drain cleaning services with professional help on a regular basis.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to clear a drain is to use a plunger. This kitchen staple can be purchased at most hardware stores and works by creating a forceful vacuum of pressure that breaks up and dislodges clogs and allows water to flow freely. The key to success is to be persistent and plunge vigorously, 15 to 20 times if necessary. If this doesn’t work, try using a wire drain snake to dislodge or break up the clog and remove it from your pipes.

Another good at-home remedy is a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. This simple, safe formula is effective at reducing and dissolving mineral deposits, organic material such as food scraps, grease and more. It also has slight disinfectant properties that combat odor-causing bacteria and fungus. The combination of these two ingredients can be left in a drain overnight and will usually work to clear most types of clogs.

Hydrogen peroxide can also be used to unclog drains by removing and loosening natural material, including skin cells that can get stuck in drains. It also reduces germs and disinfects the drain. It’s recommended to mix it with boiling water before pouring down the drain to avoid a toxic reaction.

Occasionally, all you need is hot water to clear a drain clog. A few quick, repeated attempts with a plunger or the above drain cleaning methods should be enough to remove most drain clogs and restore proper function. For severe clogs, however, you may need to call a professional for more advanced or extensive drain cleaning.

Clogged Toilets

Toilets are one of the most common objects we encounter when performing drain cleaning services. A clogged toilet can be extremely inconvenient and unpleasant. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help prevent and fix a clogged toilet.

Toilet clogs are often caused by items that should never be flushed. Alleged “flushable” wipes, cotton swabs, paper towels, and feminine products are just a few of the many things that can cause a serious toilet clog. These items can also damage pipes and lead to sewage backups and other expensive problems.

To avoid these issues, make sure you only use toilet paper in your toilet and that any other waste goes into the trash can. Additionally, be careful when disposing of personal care items and food scraps in the toilet. Ensure that children understand what is and is not allowed in the toilet.

If a plunger fails to clear the clog, try using a plumber’s snake or another manual cleaning tool to get past the obstruction. You can also pour soapy water (but not boiling) into the toilet bowl to act as a lubricant and melt away the clog.

Lastly, you can try a biological drain cleaner that uses enzymes or bacteria to break down the clog. These are safer for your pipes than chemical drain cleaners but may take a little longer to work.

You can find these products in most hardware stores or home improvement centers under the bathroom sink. For best results, follow the instructions on the label for the product you choose.

A final option for extreme clogs is a wet/dry vacuum. This will require you to put on rubber gloves and carefully insert the hose into the toilet drain. Wrap an old towel around the end of the hose and turn on the machine, ensuring that you don’t push the hose too far into the drain. This will create suction and pull the clog out of the toilet. Thoroughly clean and sanitize the vacuum when you are finished. If you can’t remove the clog with this method, it’s time to call in the professionals.

Clogged Sinks

Whether in the kitchen or bathroom, clogged sinks are a real pain. Not only do they stop your flow of food, laundry or bathing, but severe clogs can cause water to back up through the pipes and into your home. Fortunately, you can clear clogged sinks with some basic tools and preventative measures.

Soap scum, hair, lint and slimy bacteria that crystallize inside long drainpipes are some of the main contributors to clogged sinks. If these types of clogs are not addressed quickly, they can grow into serious issues that require a professional to resolve.

A sink strainer or drain stopper can help prevent these clogs by keeping small objects out of the drain. However, even these can become tangled with long hair or catch food waste. To prevent these items from getting trapped in the first place, regularly clean your drains and keep them in good working condition.

Another common culprit of clogged sinks is grease. Grease is a liquid when it is hot, but it hardens as it cools and accumulates in your pipes. To avoid this, regularly dispose of grease and cooking oils in a can or the trash.

Many homeowners are tempted to run to the hardware store and purchase a bottle of chemical drain cleaner at the first sign of a slow-draining sink. Chemical cleaners often work, but they are also harmful to your pipes. The harsh chemicals break down the insides of the pipe and can lead to a leak or burst in extreme cases.

Instead of pouring chemical cleaners down the drain, try using baking soda and vinegar. Mixing equal parts of both causes a reaction that can dislodge many light clogs. This is especially effective when there is no standing water in the drain.

If the above methods do not work, you may need a more powerful tool such as a plumber’s snake or a Zip-It barbed drain strip. If you have a sink clog that is blocking the entire drainpipe, it’s time to call in the pros. To use a snake, remove the drain cover and look for a clean-out plug. If there is one, remove it and disconnect the drain trap. If not, remove the drain strainer and look for a hole on the side of the basin where you can feed the cable directly down the pipe.

Clogged Showers

Often, the culprit of a clogged shower is hair, which tends to bind together into collective clumps that choke drain openings. However, mineral build-up and other grime can also cause this problem. The good news is, most of the time you can solve a clogged shower with a little effort. Start by removing the drain cover and using a flashlight to locate the clog. If you can see it, you can usually grab it and pull it out with your hand. If not, try using a wire hanger or needle-nose pliers. You may need to repeat this process a few times before you have a fully functional drain.

Another way to get a clogged drain clean is to use a natural cleaning solution. To make this, mix one cup of baking soda with one cup of vinegar. This creates a foaming reaction that can break down minor clogs caused by hair and other grime. Once the mixture has had an hour to sit in the drain, flush it out with hot water.

If this fails, a toilet plunger is a great tool for dislodging a stubborn clog. Before using, though, make sure the plunger has a tight seal by lining its rim with petroleum jelly. Position the plunger over the drain, and then push and pull vigorously to help break up and dislodge the clog. Finally, a kettle of boiling water can be used to help dissolve stubborn soap scum and mineral build-up.

Aside from these methods, you can also prevent clogs by maintaining your shower. Be sure to remove any hair that accumulates on the grate after every use, and pouring baking soda and vinegar down your shower drain once a week can cut through grease and soap scum. You can also invest in a plumbing snake or auger to clear larger blockages. In some cases, a professional may be needed to address stubborn or extensive clogs. Be sure to call a plumber in such situations if the clog appears to be caused by sewage or other serious problems. The last thing you want is a minor clog turning into a bigger, more expensive problem down the line.