How to Unclog Drains Without Liquid Plumber or Drain-o

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Drains become clogged by numerous things that fall into them. Often, it is just a build of of general "muck" that causes them to clog. There are NUMEROUS ways to unclog drains, but in this article I will help you unclog your drains WITHOUT spending a lot of money on "Chemical Drain Openers" that do not work well at all.

Things You'll Need

  • Very basic tools.
  • Small Pipe Snake (cheap)
  • The first step is to have your tools ready. Usually, you will just need a small pair of pliers and a drain snake. A drain snake is an INEXPENSIVE device that you can purchase at any home improvement or hardware store. (Usually under $10). They will last you for years.

  • For a standard bathroom sick, there is a stopper that is usually in the way. To remove the stopper, go under the sink (usually in a cabinet) and have somebody wiggle the stopper puller. You will see behind the pipe, the puller moving up and down. It is connected to a small metal stick that is going into the drain pipe. There is usually just 1 single "NUT" or "hand screw nut" that is holding it on to the pipe. Remove this nut and pull out the stick from the pipe. Now, remove the sink stopper.

  • Start feeding the snake down the sink hole from where the stopper was. Twist and turn the snake (it will feel a bit awkward). Keep feeding, twisting, and turning the snake and then pull it back out. USUALLY, there will be a fair amount of disgusting hair & muck caught on the end of the snake. Pull this muck off, and continue feeding the snake again until the snake comes back free of "muck".

  • Run the sink, make sure that the water now drains very well. IF it does not, repeat step 3. Most of the time, there is only 1 clog, so if you get a large mass on the end of the snake, you probably got it.

  • Reverse the procedure of step 2 to re-assemble the stopper into the sink. It is a bit tricky sometimes to get the stopper onto the "stick" going into the pipe. You will know you got it when you move the stopper pull up and down and see the stopper opening and closing.

  • For bathtub & shower drains, the procedure is similar with the snake. However, getting into the drain may be different. Bathtubs have an "overflow" drain usually on the front of the tub. You can remove this with a couple of screws (usually). Run the snake down this. (It's called the clean out). Run the snake up and down this until you remove the clog.

  • Stand alone showers usually have a small grate that is on top of the drain. These vary a bit, but they are usually either screwed down (with obvious screws), or they simply pop-off & pop-on. Remove the cover either by unscrewing it or gently prying it off. Run the snake by twisting & turning it while feeding more snake into the drain.

  • If a plunger does not work in a toilet, a pipe snake can work as well. As gross as it sounds, run the snake right down the "hole" in your toilet as far as you can get it.

Tips & Warnings

  • The device is called a "pipe snake" or "drain snake" and ANY hardware store or home improvement store SHOULD have it.
  • If EVERYTHING is backed up in your home, you probably have a sewer main problem going out of your home. (All drains lead to 1 "main" pipe) Most likely it is clogged. You will either need a VERY long snake and run it down the clean outs outside of your home, or you will have to call "rescue rooter" to unclog it.
  • Chemical Cleaners DO NOT WORK nearly as well as using a snake. Instead of paying $6 for a bottle of this junk, pay the $10 for a snake (will last you a lifetime) and get your drains working. Chemical Cleaners often just temporarily make drains work better then they go back to slow or clogged.
  • Always wear safety glasses & be careful with tools!
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