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What To Do Before You Call The Plumber About That Clog in the Drain

Updated on September 24, 2011

Clogged Plumbing

Unfortunately we have all experienced the dreaded clog. I don't know about you, but I tired very quickly of taking a shower in ankle deep dirty water. So what do you do? Call a Plumber, right?


The average cost of a Plumber to come and unplug your drain is $75.00 an hour. Yes, you read it right, $75.00! You might as well throw that money right down the drain where the blockage is and hope that does the trick! In this hard economy this amount of money is, in my opinion, a waste. There are other methods to try before calling.

Some of these 'tricks' to unplug a drain require the use of equipment you already have in your home, so there is no concern about wasting money on a gimmick that does not work.

Questionable Resolutions

Baking Soda, Vinegar and Water

I have heard people saying to use Water and Baking Soda, follwed by Vinegar to clear a drain. I personally have never used this approach so I can not say whether tit works or not, but my personal opinion is, why would I want to put more into my drain? Meaning, water and baking soda eventually makes somewhat of a paste, so it seems contradictory to put it into my drain. But the choice is yours if you wish to try it. If you do and it works, by all means please let me know!

  • Mix 1/2 cup of Water to 1/2 cup of Baking Soda
  • Pour directly into drain
  • Pour in 1 cup of Vinegar
  • Allow to fizz and disolve
  • Rinse with hot water

Wire Hanger

Many self-doers state that using a wire hanger will do the trick. I have tried this and will not recommend it to others. My first attempt removed a few strands of hair from my bath tub drain. But ultimately, I ended up pushing the clog further into the drain. I also scratched the surface of the drain with the hanger.

Free Solutions

First, try using your hands~

  • Use bare hands or place gloves over your hands and feel around the inside of your drain

Sometimes hair or a small toy in the tub may have gathered inside the drain blocking water flow. If you feel something, grab it with your fingers and remove it. Run water after it's removal to ensure the water is now free flowing.

Second, use hot water~

Hot water can loosen the clog depending on what the clog is. For example, my toddler used the sink as her personal toothpaste dispenser. When I realized what she had done the toothpaste had hardened inside the drain causing a clog. Pouring hot water down the drain eventually loosen the paste making it clear.

Thirdly, use the plunger~

I used to think this object was strictly for the toilet, but if something is lodged into the curve of a drain, this just might loosen it out. The plunger will use the energy of your force to first push and then pull the object loose.

  • Place the plunger over the drain, making sure it is 'seated' or flat against the drain
  • Push the plunger down until the rubber area collapses and reflates

If you begin to see results such as dark water or hair, keep using this technique until the clog resolves.

If your not getting results with these suggestions, it's time to pull out the big guns!

Shop Vacuum

What goes down must come up, right? If you own a shop vacuum, then it's time to put it to use!

  • Turn the vacuum to liquid
  • Place the house over the drain making a tight seal
  • Turn on the vacuum and remove the clog

Inexpensive Solutions

Well, you gave it your all, but obviously this blockage needs a little more than you have at home. Luckily, there are inexpensive products you can try.

Liquid Clog Removers

There are a variety of liquid clog removers available at the store. However, I personally have found Drano products to be the most effective. And why wouldn't I? Drano has been clearing drains for over 70 years! They fiirst introduced us to liquid clog removal in 1966 and has been striving to help the homeowner ever since.

Drano uses a special mixture of ingrediants that will disolve the clog and basically shrink it, making it small enough to wash down and through the drain until clear.

Drano offers different products for different problems.

  • Drano® Dual Force Foam

If your drain is slow draining but not completly blocked this is the product you want to use. It uses a foam that expands to the outer walls of the pipe, sticks to it and dissolves the hair and grime attached to the pipe.

  • Drano® Max Gel Clog Remover

This solution is for the drain that is not, well, draining . Instead of mixing with water as many other liquid products do, Max Gel purs past the free standing water and directly to the clog.

  • Drano® Snake Plus Drain Cleaning Kit

This is for the toughest of the tough clog! Drano has made a product that is sure to do away with the need of a Plumber. Using the snake to loosen the clog and the trusted Drano gel to disolve it, this is simply the easiest and most inexpensive way to remove your most difficult clog.


It is easy to get a clog in your drain. But it is even easier to prevent them. Here are some easy ways to prevent clogged drains in your home:

  • Use your drains for what they are intended for- Water

All too often people think because it is small or because it is a liquid the drain wll allow it down. However, oils, grease, hair, food, and other small objects or particles can accumilate in the drain causing a clog.

  • Pour Hot Water

Not only is hot water a possible solution, but it is a prevention as well. Pour hot water down your drain every month to prevent build-up of soap scum and other possible cloggers.

  • Use a Sink Screen

Sink screens are a perfect prevention tool to avoid clogs in your drains. Simply place them over your drain and hair, food and other will be saved in the screen and not your drain.

  • Check Your Drains

Every two months sweep the inside of your drains with your fingers to remove and debris.

If all else fails then I believe you have a serious problem that may require a plumber. Call a licensed plumber with a good reputation.


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