What Causes a Drain to Get Clogged?

clogged sink filled with water

Dealing with a clogged drain

The holidays are coming up and that usually means a lot of cooking and baking, which means clean-up. The excitement and fun of holiday baking overrides the dread of the clean-up part, it’s just part of the process. That whole process can come to a standstill when you have a clogged drain though. 

When you’re in the middle of baking fudge and rolling cheese balls, cleaning a clogged drain is not something you want to deal with, but unclog you must! The best way to avoid that this year would be to know what the causes of clogged drains are and avoid them. When you know what causes a drain to clog and how to keep it from happening, it can make your holiday baking much easier and pleasant! 

How does a clogged drain happen?

There are different causes for bathroom clogged drains and kitchen clogged drains.  This article, we’re going to focus on the kitchen clogged drain. A clogged drain in the kitchen sink typically happen when we’re cooking and there is cooking grease or oil poured into the drain. It cakes onto drainpipe walls, then when detergent soap and un-dissolved food particles are poured down the drain, it will gunk up and then you got a clogged drain. 

Lack of venting can cause a clogged drain too. Vents allow air to enter the drainpipe as it drains. When there is enough air entering the vent, the drain works properly, but when there isn’t enough venting, the sewer gas can’t escape and a what appears to be a clogged drain happens. Venting affects the bathroom more than the kitchen plumbing, but if you have a clog down in the main pipe going to the sewer, you could suffer the effects of it in the kitchen too. 

What to use to clean blocked drain?

If you have a clogged drain in the kitchen, here are few suggestions on how to get that clog out so that you can get back to your holiday baking: 

  • Try plunging with a cup-style plunger. Most small clogs can be dislodged in this matter. Make sure the is water in the sink so that the plunger head is covered. Keep the head of the plunger tightly sealed against the drain opening and rapidly plunge up and down. 
  • If that doesn’t clear the clogged drain, clamp off the dishwasher’s flexible hose, and try this plunging process again. 
  • Still have a clogged drain. Pour a half-gallon of boiling water into the sink. If you still have a clogged drain, wait 30 minutes for that water to cool down in the drain, then repeat with boiling hot water.
  • If there is still a clogged drain, check the garbage disposal by turning it on. This can often break up the clog, but if it doesn’t make sure it hasn’t overheated and check the reset button. If the button is pushed, try running the garbage disposal again. 
  • An all-natural method to try if you still have clogged drain is a  baking soda and white vinegar mixture. Combine one cup of each and with one drain covered (a double sink), pour the mixture in the other drain and let set fifteen minutes. Then allow hot water to run for fifteen minutes.

If all of these efforts fail, try your wet dry vacuum and if that fails, call your local plumber. You may have to pay a holiday or weekend rate, but it may be worth it to get your holiday baking done. 

Is Drano really bad for pipes?

Professional plumbers will rarely recommend using an over-the-counter drain cleaner like Drano. Plumbers have been called to homes to fix the extensive damage that a product like Drano causes. Two major problems when using Drano: 

  1. While Drano is sitting in the pipe to open the clogged drain, it is also eating away at the glue holding the pipes and the pipes themselves. 
  2. Drano is unpredictable when used in combination of other products or with equipment like an auger plunger. The chemical mixture that is sitting on top of the clogged drain will splash up and can burn the eyes or skin of the person holding the auger or plunger. 

How do you unclog a drain naturally?

A few options to try to open a clogged drain that is all natural products are: 

  1. Boil half a gallon of water and add 2 or 3 tablespoons of liquid dish soap then slowly pour the mixture in the drain. This works best on grease clogged drains and may take several rounds to get the clogged drain open.
  2. Pour half a cup of baking soda into the clogged drain then pour half a cup of vinegar. Place the drain plug on and wait one hour. Remove the plug and pour one gallon boiling hot water and keep adding more boiling hot water until the clogged drain opens. 
  3. Pour one-fourth cup salt, one-fourth cup Borax, and half cup of vinegar into the clogged drain, followed by one gallon boiling hot water. Let the mixture sit one hour and then rinse down with tap water running for a few minutes.
  4. Mix half cup of baking soda with half cup of salt and pour into clogged drain. Allow to sit for thirty minutes then add gallon of boiling hot water. 
drain cleared

Can too much baking soda clog a drain?

No, baking soda and vinegar create a natural reaction for a clogged drain that doesn’t eat the pipe or build up pressure. What if none of these tricks work to unclog your kitchen drain? Well, you’ll have to call a professional plumber. Your next question is “How much does it cost to clean a clogged drain?” and the answer to that is “It depends.” Pricing can vary from area to area, but nationwide, the average plumber will charge $150 to $200 to open up a clogged drain. This will cover the search for the clog and open the clog.

Sometimes, professional drain cleaning is necessary. Need expert plumbing services in Bedford, TX? Call (817) 283-0183 today.