Unclog It

Tackle plumbing problems like a pro with these handy tips.

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Tackle plumbing problems like a pro with these handy tips.

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Nothing can be as frustrating as a clogged drain – when dirty sink water takes a little longer to go down, when the toilet won’t flush, or when water begins pooling around your feet in the shower. The good thing is that most common clogs can be easily solved – by you! Try one or a combination of these techniques to keep the water flowing.


One of the easiest ways to clear out a light or small clog is to run boiling water down the drain. Pour it slowly in two or three stages, allowing the hot water to stand for a few seconds in between each pour. Let it stand for about five to 10 minutes before flushing with water. Note, though, that the boiling water method works best on metal pipes. If you have PVC pipes, or are unsure, don’t use boiling water; just use hot water (as hot as your tap produces).


Two effective and all-natural unclogging agents easily found at home are baking soda and vinegar. Pour about a cup of baking soda into the drain, as far down as you can get. Then pour half a cup of vinegar in. It will fizzle and bubble, so cover the drain to get as much fizzing action within. Once the fizzing subsides, pour another half cup of vinegar in. Let it sit for at least an hour, or longer if you can, then flush the drain with hot water. For toilets, flush immediately when you add the vinegar.


A drain snake or auger is a long, flexible, metal tool that bends around corners when pushed into a clogged drain. It is especially useful if you suspect that hair or gunk is the clog culprit. Push it down the drain until you hit an obstruction, and then pull up whatever is clogging your drain.


This is one tool that you’d want to have around if you have plumbing woes. The pump and suction of the plunger can easily clear the blockage. For best results, block the overflow opening with a wet cloth to help focus the force of the plunger toward the blockage.

Place a strainer in your sink and hair trap in your shower drain to stop hair and food bits from washing down. Remove and clean it from time to time.