How to Unclog a Clogged Drain Easily at Home

Drains handle water and the waste we send down them, but sometimes they get clogged with hair, dirt, soap scum, skin flakes, and other debris. While there are many chemical drain cleaners on the market, you can also find natural unclogging methods using ingredients and materials you probably have at home.


Using a plunger to unclog a drain is a quick and easy way to get the job done without any caustic chemicals. While there are many products on the market that are designed to chew through the nastiest of clogs, these chemical-based solutions can be hazardous to your family and harmful to your pipes. To unclog a drain, start by removing any covers or stoppers from the sink or bathtub. Next, plunge the drain up and down several times. Be sure to keep your hand over the plug while plunging, as too much force can break the seal and allow water to flow back through the clogged pipe.

If plunging does not remove the clog, it may be time to try a different technique. Pouring boiling water down the drain can help dissolve soap scum, grease, and other debris that has accumulated inside your plumbing pipes. Be sure to use extreme caution when handling hot water, as it can cause serious burns.

Another easy and effective clog remedy is to make a homemade drain cleaner out of baking soda and vinegar. This method can be used in all types of kitchen, bathroom, and basement drains. First, pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain. Follow this with 1 cup of white vinegar. Allow this mixture to sit for about an hour. Then, pour in several cups of hot water. Be sure to cover the drain with a towel to avoid spills.

While this simple DIY solution is not guaranteed to remove even the toughest clogs, it can help unclog your drain and prevent future clogs. If you do experience a persistent clog, it is best to contact a professional plumbing service for diagnosis and repair. Paschal Air, Plumbing & Electric is always ready to provide assistance with your plumbing needs.

A clogged drain can be caused by many factors, including hair, food scraps, and other debris that builds up in your pipes over time. In some cases, you can unclog your drain by removing the pop-up stopper from the sink or bathtub. If you can’t remove the clog with this method, try using needle-nose pliers or a metal coat hanger bent into a hook to pull out any trapped hair. If this doesn’t work, you can also try using a wire drain snake or the boiling water method described above.

Coat Hanger

A clogged toilet is one of the most common plumbing problems homeowners encounter, and it’s often the first one that makes them call a plumber for help. But a little manual dislodging and patience can save you the cost and stress of hiring a professional. All it takes is a few items you already have around the house, such as hot water, vinegar, a wire coat hanger, and baking soda.

Start by identifying the location of your clog. It’s usually easy to spot, especially if you have a kitchen sink with a garbage disposer—the curved P-trap beneath the drain is designed to keep a bit of water in it and prevent foul smells. Getting food stuck in this baffle is a common cause of drain clogs. To tackle it, straighten a coat hanger wire so it’s long and straight, and bend one end to create a hook. Push the coat hanger into the clogged drain and fish it back and forth to try to catch and pull up whatever is causing the blockage.

If you can’t dislodge the clog with the coat hanger, try another simple technique: pouring baking soda down the drain followed by a cup of vinegar. This produces a chemical reaction that can dissolve congealed fats and oils, hairs, soap scum, and other debris. Let it sit for an hour or so, then flush with hot water.

For tougher clogs, you can also try using a proper plumber’s snake (also called a snake drain auger). These are available at most hardware stores and can be connected to almost any household drill. Feed the snake down the clogged pipe, then turn and pull it to break up and remove the clog. If the clog is especially stubborn, you may need to repeat this process several times to clear it completely. As with all DIY plumbing projects, you should only proceed if you feel comfortable working with power tools and disassembling pipes. If you’re not sure, call a local plumber for advice and assistance. For most clogs, the sooner you act, the easier it will be to resolve the problem, coinciding with the great advice the Garland plumbers relay.

Wire Snake

When drains are so blocked by a solid mass that you can’t clear them with plungers or clearing the trap, a wire snake is an effective solution. These devices are long, coiled metal cables with an auger head on one end and a handle on the other, which you crank to push the snake deep into the drain pipe. The auger head tangles around the blockage, breaking it up into small bits that can be pulled out of the drain. A basic manual snake is made of a simple cable and hook and comes in 25- or 50-foot lengths. It’s inexpensive and easy to use, although you should be prepared to repeat the process several times until the clog is fully removed.

To use a basic snake, begin by looking down the drain with a flashlight to see if you can locate the clog. If you can’t, remove the P-trap and trap arm beneath the sink with a wrench. Then, feed the snake’s cable into the drain opening. If you have a long enough snake, you can also bypass the trap by removing its clean-out plug and feeding the snake’s cable directly down the drain pipe.

Continue pushing the snake down the pipe until you feel resistance. This will either mean the clog is close or you’ve encountered a sharp bend in the pipe that requires more cranking power to bend the snake around it. As you crank the snake, its head should tangle up and break up the gunk that is causing the blockage.

When you feel the clog is loose, run water in the drain for a minute to make sure that it was completely flushed from your pipes. Then, slowly pull out the snake and dispose of it.

If the clog is particularly stubborn, consider renting an electric power auger for the job. These devices are much longer, more powerful and can break up tough clogs like hair or grease. They are available from many home improvement stores and hardware outlets. They are typically rented by the hour and come with a wide range of accessories to help you tackle any clog.

Power Auger

When you can’t get rid of a drain clog with a plunger or wire hanger it may be time to try a power auger. These devices are long, flexible and can easily break up or pull out larger clumps of clog material that the other tools can’t reach. They are available in two types: manual drain snakes you crank with your hand and motor-driven augers that can be attached to a drill or large motor.

Before using a drain snake it’s important to know how to properly use the device. Start by wearing rubber gloves to protect your hands and eyes. Next, remove any drain cover and, if there is one, unscrew the cap or plug from the toilet. If you’re working with a tub or shower drain, be sure to turn off the water shutoff valve located either in the wall or under the sink.

Plug in the power auger and position it near the clogged pipe or drain opening. Loosen the setscrew on the handle and feed about six inches of cable into the pipe or drain opening. Lock the handle and rotate it clockwise while pushing down on the cable with moderate force. Stop when you feel resistance or the motor starts to bog down. Back out a few feet of cable, reposition the unit and repeat until the clog is removed. Once the clog is gone, pour water down the drain to test it.

To prevent future clogs, avoid putting grease, fats and oils down the drain or into your garbage disposal. Throw away large food scraps instead of letting the garbage disposal deal with them and install a drain trap in your kitchen to catch fats, oil and grease before it can enter your pipes. Keep a strainer in your bathroom drain to catch hair and other big debris. And be sure to run hot water down the drain after washing dishes or taking a bath to flush out any soap scum and leftover water. These simple steps can make a huge difference in how quickly your drains and toilets work.