Ways to Unclog a Drain Before Calling a Plumber

When you have a clogged drain you might be tempted to fix the problem yourself before calling a professional. Improperly unclogging a pipe can cause damage, make the clog worse, or be potentially dangerous. Here are some steps to follow to make sure you are properly unclogging your pipe and preventing harm to your pipes and yourself.

Use a Wire Hanger or Drain Snake

An unbent wire hanger can be used to fish out or break up clogs caused by hair. Straighten out the hanger and shove it up and down the pipe to try to dislodge whatever is clogging the pipe. Run water at the same time to help flush the blockage down the pipe. Hardware and home improvement stores also sell plastic drain snakes that can be used to break up and remove hair and other debris from the shallow area of your pipes.

Boiling Water

If the hanger method isn’t working you can also try pouring a pot of boiling water down the clogged drain. The hot water will break down any built up grease or soap, you can continue to use the snake after the boiling water has passed through the system. Try pouring the water in 3 separate stages so it has time to work through the clog before cooling. Boiling water is also good for kitchen sink clogs as there is often a lot of grease buildup in these drains from food waste.


A plunger is for more than just clogged toilets! You can use a plunger to unclog drains too! Fill your sink or tub with water and use the plunger just like you would in a toilet. The suction will help to loosen the clog.

If these three tips don’t work, it might be time to call a plumber. You might be tempted to use chemical drain cleaners at this point, but there are good reasons not too. Chemical drain cleaners are bad for your plumbing, bad for the environment, and dangerous to your health. If you have a septic system, chemical drain cleaners can cause serious problems and stop the system from working properly. There are alternative, safe things you can put down drains like baking soda and vinegar or dish soap to try to breakdown or lubricate the clog, but your best bet may be to call a plumber for professional help.

You can call Norfolk Plumbing, 24/7 for emergency service or to schedule an appointment for any of your plumbing needs at (757) 466-0644.

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