Some household maintenance issues can be put off until tomorrow – a blocked drain isn’t one of them.
If your drain is clogged, you’ll have to unclog it before it can be properly cleaned. Plungers are just as good at clearing sinks and shower drains as they are at clearing toilets – although we recommend you use a different one for your sinks. Fill the blocked sink or tub with water, enough to cover the drain. Press the plunger over the drain mouth, pressing down until you feel it seal over the surface of the sink or tub. A few quick pumps should pull blockages free.
If clogs are less serious or closer to the mouth of the drain, then a barbed plastic cleaning tool can be used to pull them out. Simply slide your drain snake or similar drain unblocking tool down the drain. As you pull the tool back out, the backward angled barbs along its length will snag on blockages such as hair and pull them out of the drain.
If the clog is more serious, use a water or gas-powered drain cleaner. Choose a cleaner that fits over the mouth of your drain or you may need to use an adaptor. Water-powered drain cleaners usually attach to a garden hose and use pressurised water to clean out residue and blockages. Gas-powered drain cleaners use compressed gas or air to do the same thing.
Grease, organic residue and bacteria can build up in drains, causing them to smell. To eliminate smells and clean out this residue, pour half a cup of baking soda down your drain. Next, pour half a cup of white vinegar down your drain and cover the hole with a plug. Allow this to sit for at least 15 minutes, then pour a kettle of boiled water down your drain.
If a blockage is serious and you are unable to remove it yourself, it’s best to call a plumber. If you don’t have a regular or trusted plumber ask your family, friends and neighbours for a word-of-mouth recommendation.
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