From blockages that prevent water from draining properly to odors that make even the most ventilated bathroom unpleasant, blocked drains can cause a wide range of annoyances for homeowners.
Luckily, most blocked drains are easy to fix using simple tools and readily available cleaning products. However, even when you’re using simple tools, it’s important to maintain a focus on safety.
Drain safety involves two things: keeping yourself safe from hazardous chemicals and potentially sharp objects, and protecting your drain from damage caused by a certain product or substance.
In this blog post, we’ll cover the basic Dos and Don’ts of drain repair to help you get your drains clean, unblocked and odor-free without resulting in any damage to the drain, or – more seriously – yourself.
- Wear rubber gloves when handling drain cleaners and other chemicals. Even a small amount of corrosive chemicals can result in serious damage to your skin and painful burns if mishandled.
- Clean the area around your drain before cleaning the drain itself. Make sure your sink, shower or bathtub is free of dust or dirt, both of which can get in the way while you’re cleaning and extend the job.
- Consider using a homemade drain cleaning solution. The right mix of warm water, baking soda and vinegar can clear many common drain blockages at a minimal cost.
- Check your drain catch before buying chemicals or other drain cleaning tools to fix the problem. Your shower drain might not be blocked; there’s a chance it’s draining slowly because of hair building up in the drain catch.
- Try lemon juice for minor blockages before using harsh chemicals. Squeeze a couple of lemons over your drain and give the juices 30-45 minutes to soak in before washing them down with warm water.
- Be careful when using a plunger to clear a blocked drain. Push and pull gently to prevent warping the surface or damaging the drain. Too much force could “fix” the blockage at the expense of your plumbing system.
- Use a barbed drain cleaner to remove hair from your shower or bath drain. A plastic barbed cleaning tool will pull out hair and other items without leading to any damage to the drain itself
- Pour large amounts of boiling water down the drain without check that it’s safe first. Boiling water can damage the materials used in your plumbing; a better solution is to use warm water to clear out blockages.
- Aggressively pump back and forth on your drain with a plunger. This could lead to cracks and other structural damage that’s far more difficult to repair than a blocked drain is to unblock.
- Handle corrosive drain cleaners and other hazardous chemicals without the right protective items. Wear gloves (and if required, safety glasses) if you’re handling chemicals that could burn your skin.
- Use cleaning sprays and other non-plumbing specific products in an effort to clean a blocked drain. Many sprays, powders and chemical solutions will do little to clear the drain and can simply worsen the blockage.
- Clean out your sink’s trap without a drainage container ready. Many blocked sinks are caused by dirty, smelly substances that you don’t want spread over your kitchen floor or throughout your cabinets.
- Keep flooding your drain in the hope that more water will solve the problem of it being blocked. More often than not, you’ll just make the cleanup process harder for yourself.
Have you fixed a blocked drain recently?
Have any of your home’s drains become blocked recently? From the shower to the kitchen sink, let us know which drain was blocked and how you fixed it. Did you do it by yourself or call in a plumbing professional for the job?