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How to Clean a Drain

Drain cleaning

The plumbing job you face more frequently than any other is the sluggish or clogged sink drain. In the kitchen, the drain usually is stopped up with grease. In the bathroom, the villain most often is hair.

Everyone prefers the easy solution to any problem, and the easy way with a clogged drain seems to be clearing it with one of the chemicals you can buy at the grocery store. But wait. In order to clean a drain, don’t use the chemical first. Try using a plunger first. If that doesn’t do the job, then try the chemicals.

You will need drain cleaner, liquid or crystal, rubber gloves and safety glasses. This project is for overnight.

How to clean your drain

1. If the kitchen drain is sluggish but not yet stopped up, put a couple of kettlesful of boiling water into the drain. This may melt the grease and clean the drain.

2. If the drain is clogged, remove all water from the sink before putting chemicals in. (Note: Read the label of the drain cleaner you buy and follow the instructions exactly, regardless of what is said here. The chemical maker knows best how it should be used.)

3. Following the instructions on the label, put in correct amount of chemical. Avoid getting chemical on porcelain or chrome of sink. Put it directly into the drain opening.

4. For best results, give chemical time to work. Overnight is best.

5. Clean drain by rinsing thoroughly (usually with cool, not hot, water) after chemical has broken through the clog. Don’t use drain cleaners to unclog toilet. They may damage the porcelain. Use plunger or auger.

Have room well ventilated. Chemicals generate gas as they eat through a clog. Never use a plunger on a clogged drain into which you have already put a chemical. Water in drain containing chemical may splash and burn you severely. To be safe when using a caustic chemical, wear rubber gloves, long sleeves and glasses to protect you from splashing or boiling chemicals.

Be particularly careful of your eyes. These chemicals can blind you. Don’t lean over sink as you add chemicals. Wear glasses. Take care not to splash.

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