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How to Fix a Very Clogged Drain

Updated on January 14, 2020

Before you call a plumber....

As indicated, clogged pipes and drains come in to varieties for the most part:

  • clogged by hair and grease
  • clogged by calcium and lime build up

The first thing to do, if you can, determine what type of clog you actually have. Open the drain if you can and see what the situation is. Hair and grease builds up over time and many OTC products exist to deal with it that usually work. In my case, it was a very slow draining shower drain. When a shower was occurring, there was always a pool of water on the floor that took 5-10 min. to drain. After opening the drain, I used a snake tool to determine the problem and concluded it was not hair (as suspected) but years of lime and calcium build-up from the hard water. I was hoping that there was no collapsed pipe.

The Solution

There are two products available, totaling $16, that solved the issue.

  1. CLR (Calcium-Lime-Rust) drain cleaner
  2. Klean Strip's Muriatic Acid

I poured half the CLR bottle directly into the drain. Waited 1 hour, then pouring a quart of boiling water into the drain. Wham! The drain was very cleared of the build-up. I repeated this twice to make sure. I tested the shower and at full blast there was no puddle of water. However, just to be sure, I then filled a plastic container with 32 oz. of water and added 15 ounces of Muriatic acid. T poured the whole amount into the drain and let sit for 30 min. Unlike the CLR, the smell of the acid was like rotten eggs, however, once completed, another quart of boiling water was poured into the drain.

Once again, the shower ran at full power and the drain ran perfectly! Using this brand of acid is best because it is 90% lower in fumes than standard Muriatic acid. It is also more user friendly. Both are available at Home Depot or Lowes.

When using acid, take the usual precautions of eye protection, gloves. After you pour it down the drain, leave the room to avoid fumes. When re-entering the room, take a deep breath before entering. Spills can be neutralized with baking soda. Never add water to acid ONLY add acid to water! If you get some on your skin, flush for 15 minutes.

If this procedure fails to unclog the drain, call a plumber.


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