It can’t come as a surprise that drains are not exactly clean on the inside. Despite a sleek pipe lining, residue can build up quickly. Clogs may form, or you may notice some odd odors coming from your sink drains. These are two reasons we often get asked this question: what’s the best way to clean out drains.
The answer is, unfortunately, not so simple. It depends! Sometimes, there is a relatively easy DIY solution to your drainage or odor issues. However, it might be time to call in a professional. Check out our guide to the best ways to clean your drains, and call in a professional plumber for more.
First, Let’s Start with the Worst Drain Cleaner
You know those chemical drain cleaners sold on shelves? The ones you can find at most home goods stores and hardware shops, and even at the grocery store? It turns out that these drain cleaning chemicals are some of the most toxic substances readily available to the average consumer.
Even if you disregard the fact that drain cleaners can cause burns or vision loss, chemical drain cleaners are not good for the drains. They can destroy the pipe lining with consistent use. Plus, they are not that effective. Most drain cleaners are only suited to dissolve some organic material (like hairs) and not others. They may only push the blockage further along in the drains.
A Better Home Solution in Your Cupboards
There may be a better solution for your drainage problems right in your cupboard. If you’re noticing smells from the bathroom or kitchen sink, try this!
- Clean the drains with a small pot of boiling water.
- Dump in a large amount of baking soda, a ½ cup or so.
- Follow it up with about a cup of vinegar.
- Stop up the drain for several minutes.
- Use hot water again to clean out the mixture.
This may also help with some minor clogs. However, it’s likely that you’ll need to try a plunger. And if a plunger doesn’t work, it’s time to call in professionals for reinforcement.
Drain Snakes and Drain Augers
Drain snakes and drain augers are effective solutions for many types of clogs, if you allow an expert to do the work. You may be able to find small augers and stores, and even some larger ones available for rent, but professional expertise is the only way to really pin down a problem.
The drain auger may latch onto a clog and pull it out through the drain cleanout. Or, if tree roots are causing your blockage (or a similarly tricky clog), the plumber may attach a different end to the cable to break up the clog so it can move down the drain.
Hydro Jetting for a thorough Cleaning
For the best results in the long term, we recommend hydro jetting. This may be used to follow up cleaning with a drain auger, or it may be used on its own. In any case, this method will clear out the drains of residue and grease, reducing the chances of clogs forming later on.
A high-pressure water jet blasts the insides of the drain lining. This clears blockage and grease, and that means that debris is less likely to latch on to the drain lining in the future. This may be the best solution for your drain clog—or it may not. Call professional plumbers for your diagnosis.