Unclog Your Drain With These Unexpected Items Around Your House

Only a handful of household issues are more annoying than having a clogged drain. Whether it's the kitchen sink or bathroom shower, blockages often originate from regular habits. The accumulation of grease, bits of shed hair, or even soap scum can seem harmless at first. But, these objects come together to make your drain work less effectively and cause a lot of irritation. As if that isn't bad enough, the backed-up water looks unpleasant and can lead to unwelcome odors.  

Thankfully, there's a silver lining. You don't need to rush to the store for expensive drain treatment liquids that may cause more harm than good. Plus, you may be able to avoid hiring a professional to remedy the situation. There are several household items that you might already have on hand that can remove or dissolve the clog. You can try these simple fixes to unclog your sink or get your shower back in working order and running smoothly. 

Vinegar and baking soda fix with fizz

Although vinegar and baking soda are typically reserved for culinary adventures, they can work wonders when unclogging a drain. The thought process behind this is simple. Baking soda is a base while vinegar is an acid. When they're combined, their molecules create a fizzing reaction that can break down the particles blocking your drain. This can be so effective that even Liquid-Plumr recommends the combo as an all-natural solution.

To use this hack, pour baking soda down your drain, packing it in with your fingertips. Then, slowly pour vinegar on top of the powder. As the two combine and react, cover your drain with a rag or a stopper to force the fizz downward, attacking the clog. Allow the mixture to work for about 10 minutes. Then, remove the cover and flush your drain with hot water to remove the loosened debris. Keep in mind that for stubborn clogs, you may need to repeat the process more than once. However, be cautious not to overuse this method, especially if you have metal pipes, as the acidity of vinegar can potentially cause damage over time.

Alka-Seltzer tablets are a simple solution

Your medicine cabinet may not be the first place you run to when you have a clogged drain. However, that's where you may find an unexpected staple that can help — Alka Seltzer. These tablets contain baking soda and citric acid, which can create a fizzing reaction to loosen compacted debris. While some people have reported success in using this pill for drain problems, it's not a fail-proof solution. Nonetheless, some plumbing experts note that they prefer it to commercial drain cleaners, primarily because it doesn't contain harsh chemicals that can damage your pipes.

So, to unclog your drain with Alka-Seltzer, you just need to follow a few simple steps. First, crush up your tablets in a bowl or sandwich bag and drop them down the clogged drain. Then, pour hot water over the pieces to activate the fizzing reaction. Finally, wait for 15 minutes before flushing it with more water to clear away any leftover debris.

Epsom salt can dissolve drain debris

Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate, is a chemical compound that's often used in a bath to relieve inflammation and muscle cramps. And, it just might be helpful to remove a clog from your drain. While the thoughts on this process vary, some plumbing experts recommend it as an effective method. Take caution with overusing the trick as it could damage your pipes. However, it's a good way to remove an occasional clog when you're in a pinch.

First, you'll want to flush the drain as much as possible with hot water. Then, add a small amount of Epsom salt to the clogged drain and allow it to soak. After the salt stops fizzing, pour hot water over it to see if flows better. If not, repeat the process until the clog is dissolved. For particularly tough clogs, you can use boiling water instead of hot tap water to flush the drain.

Shop vacs can suction away clogs

Wet and dry vacuums, often referred to as shop vacs, may have been created to carry out cleaning tasks. But that doesn't mean that can't be used for other purposes — like unclogging your drain. For this reason, the pros at Roto-Rooter recommend them as an effective way to remove clogs. Plus, if you already have one on hand, you won't incur any additional costs to tackle the task. 

To begin, remove any screens or stoppers and use your vacuum to remove as much standing water as possible so the actual drain is visible. Then, firmly press the hose against the opening. The suction created can help pull out or dislodge the clogged debris. To check your progress, remove the hose regularly and run water from the faucet to see if drainage has improved. For more stubborn clogs, you can alternate between using your shop vac and a plunger for best results.

Wire hangers remove drain blockages

Wire hangers aren't just useful for hanging clothes. They can also be transformed into makeshift snakes to reach deep into your drain and pull clogs to the surface. This is one of the easiest and most readily available ways to clear a sink or shower drain. When done correctly, plumbing experts tout this as an effective solution that's also surprisingly simple. 

To create your own drain snake, simply straighten a wire hanger to make it slim enough to fit into the drain. Then, uncurl the top hook and bend it to make a smaller one to grab debris. If the wire is too thick to bend precisely by hand, use a pair of pliers to rework it. Insert the hooked end of your hanger into the drain until you feel the resistance of the clog. Wiggle the hanger from side to side to grab the clog with the hook and gently pull it from the drain. Repeat this process until you no longer pull out debris or can't feel resistance anymore. Then flush some hot water down to make sure any leftover particles are washed away. 

Dish soap breaks down grease problems

The primary use of dish soap is, of course, washing dishes. Its surfactant properties cut through oils and help remove food residue. And that makes it an effective remedy for unclogging drains when dealing with blockages caused by greasy substances. For this reason, professional cleaning companies suggest using dish soap as a declogging tool, especially for partial clogs. 

So, if you notice that your sink is draining more slowly than normal, start by pouring a generous amount of dish soap down the drain. Allow it to sit for about 5-10 minutes to break down and loosen the debris. For an added boost, you can rinse it with hot or boiling water. Then, let the soap and water mixture work for an additional 15-20 minutes. After this, run water down your drain to see if the drainage has improved. If it's still lagging, repeat the process until it returns to normal. 

Soda naturally eliminates build-up

A standard soda bottle is a readily available way to remove a drain clog. First, make sure you're using Coke, Pepsi, or another brand that contains a lot of phosphoric acid. This compound is what breaks down the build-up and helps your drain run more smoothly. According to the experts at Mr. Rooter, this makes these darker-colored pops effective at removing certain types of clogs.

Make sure you're using room temperature pop since chilled liquid can be less effective. Then, slowly pour a 2-liter bottle, or six full cans, down the drain and allow the acid to get to work. After a few hours, rinse the drain with hot to flush away the broken-down debris. For tough clogs, you can rinse the soda with boiling water. You can also let the pop sit overnight. However, you run the risk of attracting ants or fruit flies, especially in the warmer months. 

Yogurt could improve clogs too

Here's a surprising tip — yogurt might not just be a breakfast staple. And you should know this in case your drain needs a quick fix. Yes, it may not be the best solution to fix a clogged drain, but it just might do the trick. While users and experts have mixed takes on this, it's no secret that yogurt is known for its probiotic properties. The theory is that those healthy bacteria can and can break down organic matter that's clogging the drain. Plus, if you happen to have an expiring cup in the fridge when you're encountered with a clogged drain, it's worth a shot. 

To attempt this yogurt declogging hack, start by pouring an unflavored cup down the drain and let it sit for several hours or overnight. This gives the live cultures time to work on breaking down the debris. Then, flush the drain with hot water to rinse and test the drainage.