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How to Clear Clogged Pipes

by Patricia Martin 08/30/2020

Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

When the toilet's stopped up, you grab the plunger. If it's the sink, you might run some unclogging solution down with hot water. But some clogged piped won't clear. They get stopped up with gunk and debris that, over time, may work its way deep in the pipes. How do you power through that? Here are some practical ways to clear very clogged pipes.

1. Clear a Gunky, Smelly Drain

You remember the classic science project volcanoes, don't you? You can clear a smelly drain using the same fizzy principle, and it's just as fun to watch. For this method, you need:

  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • Now here's how do do it. 

    Step one: Sprinkle one cup of baking soda into the drain. Don't worry if it doesn't all go in. The vinegar will help.

    Step two: Pour in one cup of vinegar. The drain will fizz. The fizz will disinfect and remove odors while loosening stuck on oil and gunk for a smoother flow.

    2. Clean the P-trap

    If you drop a piece of jewelry down a kitchen or bathroom sink, this U-shaped part of your drain may catch it before it's gone forever. It can also harbor nasty clogs. Thankfully the trap is easy to remove. You need a wrench and a large bowl.

    Step one: Locate the P-trap under your sink. Remove items from the cabinet so you have room to work. Now, place the bowl beneath the trap.

    Step two: Unscrew the P-trap. It will have two connectors that simply screw off using a wrench.

    Step three: Carefully remove the P-trap and wash the inside using an outside hose or another sink. Don't forget to avoid the sink you removed it from. The water will go straight into the cabinet beneath. Yuck!

    Step four: Reposition to P-trap and screw it back on. Test the drain slowly to ensure the P-trap is secure.

    3. Remove the Bath Overflow & Snake It

    For this one, you need a screwdriver and drain snake. *Pro tip* Never snake from the drain. The pipes are curved. It's similar to the P-trap, so the snake will get stuck.

    Step one: Locate the screws on your tubs overflow prevention panel. In some baths, they will be in plain sight. Other manufacturers hide them under the overflow panel, so you may have to hunt for them.

    Step two: Unscrew and remove the panel. Now, work your drain snake slowly through the hole. Don't force it or the snake will bow and fold over itself instead of moving into the drain. 

    Step three: Once you reach a blockage, push through it so that the snake can grab it. Then start slowly pulling the snake back.

    If you try these methods, and still can't clear the clog, it may be deep in your piping system where you won't be able to reach without special tools. At that time, you should call a professional. For more home maintenance tips, follow our blog.

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