How to unblock drains: ‘Tried and tested’ methods to clear drains without harsh chemicals

How to unblock drains: ‘Tried and tested’ methods to clear drains without harsh chemicals

While many know how to sinks, some may lack confidence about unblocking them. For those who have a sink that is draining much more slowly than usual, it may well be blocked below the plughole. It goes without saying, finding out you have a sink blockage, whether in the bathroom or kitchen, is always an unwelcome surprise. But luckily there are a few easy DIY solutions households can try which should allow them to resolve the blockage problem themselves. To find out how to unblock drains, Jamie from Plumbers4U has shared four natural ways, all of which are “tried and tested”.

He said: “The daily grind of everyday bathroom and kitchen use means that from time to time our sinks get clogged up. 

“If you’re looking for a more eco-friendly as well as very cost-effective way to get those drains clog-free without using harsh chemicals, here are a few tried and tested methods.”

1. Use a plunger 

Using a plunger is one of the most simple yet effective ways to unblock a drain. However, be aware that this technique should never be used after using chemical unblocking products, as doing so could spray toxic chemicals around, causing a risk to health and safety. 

While a flat-bottom sink plunger is best, a clean toilet plunger will do in a pinch. Simply create a tight seal around the clogged drain and plunge carefully until the sink begins to clear—this may take a few attempts.

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The expert said: “Something as simple as a plunger can do the trick, no harsh chemicals in sight. Give the plunger a clean, then get plunging. 

“Sometimes a plunger is all it takes and can be the most effective sink unblocker, but if not it’s onto the next plan of action.”

2. Use plain boiling water

It might sound too simple, but sometimes the best solution for blocked or slow-running pipes is to flush the drain with hot water. This action should melt and wash away any residues which may be clogging the pipes. 

Jamie said: “You can’t get simpler than this, but sometimes some boiling water is all you need. Boil up some water and pour down your drains in two to three stages, leaving several seconds in between before you pour the next lot.  It’s always worth a try and sometimes it’s all you need.”

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You may use water from the hot tap or kettle for this task, but with the latter, it’s important to let the water cool slightly after reaching the boiling point when working out how to unblock a drain.

Stephany Smith, plumbing professional at My Plumber, part of Fantastic Services warned: “Boiling water can deform your PVC water pipes.

“Pipe deformations can lead to pinhole leaks and restricted water flow, leading to further frequent opportunities for pipe blockages and malfunctions.”

This is one of the quickest solutions for how to unblock a sink, but it’s worth noting that it won’t work for bigger blockages.

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3. Use a baking soda and white vinegar 

While most plumbing experts advise against using commercial drain unblocking solutions – or at least saving these for the very last resort – there are ways to unblock your sink that use less abrasive and more natural ingredients. 

Jamie explained: “ and are two well-known ingredients for cleaning effectively minus the harsh chemicals. Although they’re not usually recommended to be used together, clearing your drains is one exception. 

“The chemical reaction caused by the two together is what is needed to give those drains a good clear out. First, start by pouring some boiling water down the drain, followed by half a cup of baking soda.  

“Leave the baking soda to sit a few minutes to loosen up all that hair, dirt and grime that’s causing the blockage in the first place. Next, pour onto the baking soda one cup of vinegar and watch it bubble and sizzle up and work its magic. It’s worth doing this about once a month to prevent further blockages and keep your drains blockage free.”

4. Use the coat hanger method

Another simple method is just to use a coat hanger. The plumber instructed: “Straighten it out as best as you can, bending the end to create a small hook. Now it’s time to start fishing.

“Push the coat hanger down the plug hole and see what you can catch. You should find all sorts of nasty stuff at the end of the hanger, hair being the most common culprit. 

“Once you’ve fished out as much as you can, pour some boiling hot water just to give your blocked sink one last clear out.”

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Author: Shirley