How to Fix a Clogged Drain with the Drano Snake Plus
Hair... It Clogs. Go Figure.
As something commonly identified as female, I am known for shedding a significant amount of hair. I (along with family members and room mates with whom I have lived) have always been concerned about the potential for all this hair may lead to blocked drains... and indeed, clogs have 'gone down'.
While I have historically outsourced my plumbing problems to others (e.g. landlords, building managers, older family members...), Drano's sponsorship of HubPages' August 2011 Clogs to Coins contest inspired me (along with other HubPages staff members) to give their products, specifically the Drano Snake Plus, a try. What makes me particularly interested in the Snake Plus is how useful it is for hair-related clogs. You see, it comes with a special tool that goes down into your drain and pulls out offending strands. Intriguing, no?
Lacking 'naturally' clogged sinks of my own, I got together with HubPages team members Jason Menayan and Robin Edmondson to create a clogged sink right in HubPages headquarters so that we could give this tool a try.
What follows is our experience with the Drano Snake Plus- complete with tips on use and an explanation of how Drano's gel works.
What we did was this: amass a sizable collection of hair, sneak up to the fourth floor bathroom (What? Use our own on the third floor??? Hah!), stuff the hair down the drain, and follow the instrcutions on the Drano Snake Plus box.
You can see a quick video rundown of the process to your right. It really was simple, and using the flexible tool made a big difference, for though I know that Drano gel is powerful, I know also that there are few things so formidable in this world as a large, ominous clump of hair that has just been vigorously tamped down a drain by an overenthusiastic 23-year-old.
The Play-By-PlayClick thumbnail to view full-size
Are you going to go about fixing a clogged drain somewhat soon? Gosh, it's simple. Here are the steps, and be sure to refer to our helpful photos (courtesy of Jason Menayan) to the right.
Using the Tool & Fishing for Clogs
- Remove the drain plug (while making lots of "EW!!!" noises)
- Feed the 18" flexible tool that comes in the Drano Snake Plus box into your drain. If your drain is so clogged that it's filled with standing water, chances are the water might flow out once you breach a hole in the Hair Fortress currently blocking its passage.
- Without forcing the tool, feed it in as far as it will go, then shimmy it up and down two inches so that you can loosen the clog. Try to feel around for some sort of connection- it's like fishing, and you want to try to CATCH this drain turd!
- Slowly and gently begin pulling the tool out of the drain. You'll probably feel the clog getting pulled up along with the tool. At this point, feel free to make extra loud noises of disgust.
- Marvel at the small bundle of grossness to which your sink has just given birth. Swear to shave your head and eyebrows for the rest of your life so that you may never again produce something so disgusting.
- Discard the drain turd.
Clearing Out the Rest with Drano
- Slowly pour the entire container of Drano into your sink.
- Let it sit for 30 minutes - use that time to learn some sweet new dance moves.
- Return to your bathroom. Marvel at the smell that the chemical battle between Drano and the residual clog material has produced.
- Flush away this residual (and now thoroughly defeated) material with HOT water.
- Rejoice (perhaps with those new dance moves!)
Yeah, it's that easy.
As it happens, Jason Menayan understands some of the chemical two-stepping going on between Drano Pro Concentrate Gel and the nasty stuff clogging drains. Here is his fascinating explanation:
How does Drano work?
Most bathroom sink clogs are made of hair and soap, which can get trapped and solidify, respectively, in the curved recesses of the sink's pipes.
Drano liquid has two active ingredients: sodium hydroxide (lye, a very strong base) and sodium hypochlorite (bleach). The sodium hydroxide will do two things: first, it will dissolve any hardened soap or grease through a process called saponification (it actually converts them into a more liquid form of soap, which can wash away). Second, it will help break down and soften any hair. Lye is the same stuff used in hair relaxers and perms, since it breaks down hair protein.
The addition of the new red hooked tool helps in two ways: it pokes a hole in the clog that allows the liquid gel to penetrate more effectively, and it also helps drag out the tangle of hair, if there is one. See the video in this Hub to see exactly how horrifying such hair clumps can look!
The Gist: One Need Not Always Outsource Plumbing Problems
What I've learned from this whole exercise is that:
- The stuff that ends up in drains is pretty gnarly.
- Unclogging drains need not be always outsourced to professional experts or annoyed family members / significant others. There exists technology and tools that makes it easy even for the Squeamish Elite.
I hope you take discomfort and comfort in turn from my life lessons- and that you, too, turn your household chores and plumbing mishaps into useful online guides. Hey, sometimes life gets messy, but that doesn't mean that you can't learn new things and make the most of menacing mishaps!