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What Causes a Blockage?
Have you been wondering why your bathroom sink drain gets blocked more frequently? Regardless of how cautious you are, if you or your family members shave in or near the sink, it is almost impossible to prevent hair from getting into your drain. Additionally, we use soap and toothpaste in our daily lives.
These products produce oily substances, which quickly turn solid when cooled. Over time, the solid matter accumulates, thus making drainage rates slow, and eventually, they completely block the pipes making drainage impossible. Such accumulation may easily corrode your drainage pipes if they are not made of plastic.
Do It Yourself vs. Professional Drain Cleaning
Most people prefer DIY methods of drain cleaning, claiming that the procedures are cheaper. However, this group of individuals may end up spending a lot of money on pipe replacements. Whereas the cleaning chemicals bought over the counter by most people may effectively dissolve debris in the drain, some of them are also very corrosive and end up damaging the pipes.
Since the pipes become more fragile, you could experience leakages or pipe breakages over time, forcing you to replace them. Consequently, most of these chemicals are toxic to both humans and pets. On the other hand, professional drain cleaners exercise more caution and discourage the use of such substances. Most professional drain cleaners resort to methods such as hydro jetting.
This method involves using water at a high velocity and pressure to flush down the blockages in the drain. Similarly, professional drain cleaners delve into deeper parts of the drain that DIY may not achieve. Even though it is advisable to seek professional help for drain cleaning, below are some effective methods you could use to make your drains cleaner at home.
How to Clean Drains
- Regularly Cleaning Sink Stoppers
One of the simplest DIY ways of drain cleaning is regularly cleaning the drain stoppers. Since most bathroom sinks are fitted with removable stoppers, it becomes essential to keep the stopper clean to prevent clogging in your sink drain.
You can use an old toothbrush to scrub the stopper then rinse it with hot water before placing it back. Similarly, before placing the stopper back, it would be best to check inside the drain and remove any bits of clogged debris. Performing this task frequently could help remove hair or any solid substances from entering your drain and keep it clean.
- Using Baking Soda and Hot Water
Bet you have heard of the domestic ways of cleaning bathroom sink drains. One of these ways is to clean your bathroom sink drain by adding baking soda to deodorise them. The method involves adding a sizeable quantity of baking soda and following with a sufficient amount of hot water.
- Using Baking Soda and White Vinegar
Similarly, it has also been suggested that vinegar is effective in drain cleaning. Most bathroom sinks are fitted with a removable sink stopper in the drain. To obtain better results, you should begin by removing the stopper and pouring hot water down the drain to assist in breaking down any solid debris.
You should then add a spoonful of baking soda into the drain sink and allow it to settle. Next, follow it up with a cup of white vinegar. Baking soda has alkaline properties, while white vinegar is acidic. The two react, producing a fizzing reaction, which helps break down the accumulated solid matter. You could close the drain to speed up the reaction.
After the reaction, you should rinse your sink drain with hot water to remove any residue. You need to repeat this process until all the debris is removed. You can also use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar as an alternative to white vinegar. Additionally, it would be highly beneficial if you had a drain snake.
Drain snakes are made of a long plastic handle with hook-like plastic along its edges. By inserting the drain snake into the pipe and down the drain, it can remove hair and debris from the sides. You need to perform this repeatedly to ensure all the waste is out. Once complete, just rinse your drain, replace the sink stopper, and you are all set.
- Use of a Shower Drain Screen
Hair contributes to the dirt in the drain; how then can one prevent the accumulation of hair? It is so simple! A hair drain screen is efficient in preventing the entry of hair into the drain. However, you need to regularly clean your shower drain screen every week to remove any debris.
- Using a Wire Hanger
As an alternative to using a drain snake or a plunger, you could also use a wire hanger to remove the stubborn clogs in the drain. This tool is efficient in declogging the bend or the U-shape in the drain. In the first step, you need to turn off the water, clean below the sink, put a bucket under the drain, and close the stopper.
Then, remove the sink stopper. Most sink stoppers have a clip that is easily pulled to remove the stopper. Others have spring clips. It would help to squeeze the spring clip to remove the pivot rod for the one with a spring clip. Once you remove the pivot rod from the clevis strap, the stopper will pop up out of the sink.
After removing the stopper, you need to clean the sink drain and remove all the debris and hair. To obtain better results, you could use bleaching agents or alcohol in cleaning the sink. The next step is bending your wire to form a hook-like shape. The hook-like shape is efficient in hooking the clogs of hair.
Having made the proper shape, lower the wire down the drain until you feel it hit the blockage. Once it hits the blockage, twist the hanger while moving it to catch the blockage and pull it out. After removing all of the blockages, you could use an old toothbrush to clean the inside of the drain.
- Unscrewing the Drain
However, sometimes using a wire hanger may not remove all the blockages. What then should one do if this happens? Here, you only need a few items; a pair of gloves, a bucket, a wire, and an old toothbrush. Put the bucket below the drain. Put on some rubber gloves and carefully unscrew the drain at the bend and allow the dirt to run down into the bucket.
Use the wire to remove all the debris around the inside of the drain. Use the old toothbrush to scrub inside the drain. Open the tap allowing the water to run down through the drain. Finally, run hot water through the drain to remove any remaining oily or greasy substances present.
- Dry and Wet Vacuum
Are you worried about stubborn blockages? A wet and dry vacuum is an efficient tool that could help you with removing stubborn clogs. However, to obtain better results, you will need to create a seal for the hose to suction the blockage effectively.
All you will need to do is set the vacuum to the highest liquid setting, and the shop-vac will do all that needs to be done. The suction force is powerful enough to break down and dislodge the blockage in the drain.
- Use of Enzyme Cleaners
Could some bacteria be a perk? Yes. Enzyme cleaners consist of beneficial bacteria that feed on hair or mildew. They will feed on the dirt while multiplying until there is no more organic matter in the drain. Enzyme cleaners are very effective in keeping the sink drain clean and free from stinky smells. However, this may not be as effective in removing stubborn clogs in the drain.
Are the enzyme cleaners safe for my family and me? Yes, they are. Enzyme cleaners are harmless for both humans and their pets. Similarly, they lack any toxic chemical that could destroy your pipes as opposed to the use of chemical cleaners.
How to Clean Smelling Sink Drains
Dirty sink drains are prone to bacteria build-up. Since bacteria do well under filthy conditions, they are the leading causative agents of bad smells in sink drains. How then can one do away with or prevent bad aromas from bathroom drains? It is simple! All you need is small amounts of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.
While baking soda absorbs and prevents terrible smells, hydrogen peroxide has anti-bacterial properties that kill bacteria. It is also non-corrosive, thus completely safe for your sink. To do away with the stinky smells, add a sufficient amount of baking soda into the drain and let it settle for about fifteen to twenty minutes.
Carefully pour a cup of hydrogen peroxide down into the drain. You can close the drain to fasten the reaction. The fizzing reaction will kill the bacteria that cause a terrible smell. It would help if you then rinse the drain with cold water. To obtain effective results, repeat the process monthly.
Sometimes, these homemade cleaning solutions may not be able to remove all the clogging present. This is especially true for drain sinks which have accumulated debris over a long time and become very hard. How then can one remedy this threat?
How to Remove Tough Clogs from Bathroom Drains Using a Drain Snake
Even though a plunger could be used to force down the debris through the drain, it is not as effective as a drain snake. A drain snake enables you to pull the obstruction out of the drain. You will need to put on gloves first. Next, put the tip of the drain snake into the drain and turn the handle. The drill will lengthen as it moves down into the drain.
It would be best if you continue turning the handle even when you felt some resistance at the bend of the pipe. However, the curve should not worry you. Just keep turning until the end drain snake hits the debris. Then rotate to break the debris. When done correctly, this could force the particles of debris to fall easily through the drain.
Alternatively, the debris would be loose enough to enable you to pull it out of the drain and subsequently remove it from the drill. Finally, thoroughly rinse your drain with enough water to flush down any residue.
How to Clean Rust Stains Around Sink Drain
The accumulation of clogged solid substances could corrode the sides of the drain. Even though you might clean your bathroom sink drain effectively, it is possible to be left with rust stains in the regions around the sink drain. However, there is no need to panic. You can easily clean the rust stains.
All you need to use is white vinegar and a spray bottle. Put the white vinegar into the spray bottle. Spray the rusted areas around the sink drain and allow it to settle for some time. Then use a soft scrubber brush and scrub the rust stains gently.
It may seem a minor issue, but dirty and smelly sink drains are not something that most would tolerate. Therefore, you should make it your culture to clean your sink drains and remove any blockages regularly. Whether you decide to do all the work yourself or hire a professional for help with blocked sinks or blocked drains, ensure that you use reagents that are harmless to you, your family, and the pipes.