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Five Mistakes to Avoid with Drain Cleaning


Clogged drains are such a nuisance, and there are many different ways you can handle this kind of problem on your own. A busy professional plumber in Mosman has a number of great ideas that can help you get things flowing again.

Incorrect Plunger Technique

You don’t need to be an engineer to handle a plunger properly, but there is a bit of a knack to it. If you are doing it wrong, you’re just splashing water around and the clog stays put.

First of all, make sure you’re using a sink plunger and not a toilet plunger (the toilet version has a protruding tube in the center). Then place the open round edge of the plunger around the drain. You have to hold it level so that the rubber creates a seal all the way around. People tend to hold it at an angle, and that’s the problem. It needs to be flat.

Then give the drain a couple of sharp plunges. Water should be forced down the drain, not out from around the sides of the plunger. This should blast the clog. If not, give it a few minutes, and try another couple of sharp pushes.

Overdoing the Chemicals

The simple route of just dumping some clog-busting product down the drain can lead to problems. Not only are the chemicals harsh and a bit of a hazard to keep around the house, people tend to be a little over-generous with their application of them. Pouring too much the solution down the pipes may clear up the clog but it can also corrode your plumbing in the process.

If you are using a commercial drain cleaner, read the directions carefully and stick to the recommended dosage. Or better yet, try a less harmful DIY mixture of baking soda and vinegar to force out the clog.

Foreign Objects

Who hasn’t jammed a straightened out coat hanger desperately down a drain at least once? Hoping to somehow physically reach the blockage and poke it free. It is more likely you are going to do serious damage to the drain, sink or pipes to start sticking something sharp down there. Not to mention that is is virtually impossible to maneuver something like that around the bends that the pipe takes right below the sink.

One notable exception is a drain snake. These are meant to be used this way, and would be fine (providing you are somewhat familiar with their use).

Pulling Pipes Apart

In desperation, some homeowners grab a wrench and try to dismantle the plumbing themselves to get at the clog. This isn’t a simple task and it’s easy to do damage to pipes, joints and fittings if you have no idea what you’re doing. Even if you do get things apart well enough, getting it back together so that your system is still sealed with no leaks is another matter. At this point, you may want to call a plumber.

Let Your Drain Get Clogged

This is the biggest mistake of all: not taking better care of your drains and letting things become a clogged mess. Don’t just wash away food waste and hope it disappears. Scrape your plates before rinsing and never pour grease down the drain. Use strainer baskets to keep material out of the pipes. In the kitchen it’s food, but you have the same problem with bathroom sinks with hair and bits of soap.


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Blair villanueva March 29, 2017 - 6:38 am

Thanks for your tips! I haven’t got issue yet with mine as I literally careful not to washed away food in my sink. That’s one area that i would least touch in case worst happens 🙂

Czjai Reyes-Ocampo March 29, 2017 - 6:51 pm

Clogged drains can be a nightmare! I hope we will never experience this at home, but just to sure, I will keep these reminders in mind. 🙂

Ane March 29, 2017 - 10:32 pm

Most people don’t know the difference between a sink and toilet plunger! But because I am the plumber in the house, I’ve learned about it a long time ago! 😛 Haha! I’m not called a home maker for nothing! 😛

I’ve never tried pulling the pipes though, I make sure never to let my drain clogged, I do what you said in your post, I make sure plates are cleared of food before they get into the sink, as for the bathroom sink, I make sure our strainer is clean and hair doesn’t make it anywhere near our pipes!

As always, I love how you offer so many great tips for your readers! 🙂

MitchRyan's Blog March 29, 2017 - 10:57 pm

Oh my I should have read this a month ago. We had similar problem and we poured in too much acid in the pipe. You could just imagine what happen next. Now I know what to do.

Erica Yu-B March 30, 2017 - 11:01 am

Thank you for sharing this!
Bookmarking this since we’re moving in to a new house this year (finally)!
They said I got a terrible case of OCD, making sure all plates are cleared of food before they get into the sink.
Kung pwede lang pati plates kainin nila,HAHA. Kidding!

Zoan March 30, 2017 - 12:46 pm

Awwwww. I hate cleaning drains! Like, ewwww. But the husband loves cleaning the bathroom and he also loves washing the dishes, so he cleans the drain too. I will tell him to read this!

Nova March 31, 2017 - 12:53 am

I’m not a big fan of a clogged drainage too, but according to your tips here, it will be easier now knowing that you can use those harmless stuff that goes to the pipes…

c5 April 2, 2017 - 12:39 am

It’s really a hassle to have drains clogged…especially if it is someone else’s fault, from another apartment door! When your bathroom drain gets water out bubbling with yucky rice!!! And you have to get the water into the toilet with a dustpan so the water does not go out the door!!! And even after so many plunging, nothing happens. 🙁 Good thing the apartment owner can do some plumbing but the solution was really to get the culprit out from the other neighbor’s bathroom.


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