The Truth is Out There … or Stuck in a Drain

Let’s take a minute to be honest about something real quick…no one, and I mean NO ONE, likes to unclog a drain. The muck, the smell and the job itself is just gross. And how many times do you hear someone complain about having to remove hair from a shower drain? Ever heard them describe it as a “wookiee?”

Have you ever had a clog in your drain or an issue with your toilet and wanted to fix it yourself? Of course! After all, you DO live there. And you’ve probably gone to YouTube or Google to find a solution to your problem. Did they work out or did they leave you staring and yelling at the clog in frustration? Here’s some common problems with clogs, other drains issues and some truth behind how to handle them:

Clogged Toilet

You or someone in your home clog the toilet. The cause of the clog could be too much toilet paper, human waste or items flushed that don’t belong in the toilet (hello, toddlers!).

If someone clogs the toilet due to human waste, there’s one safe thing you can do that will help clear that clog. Wait until the water goes to the bottom of the bowl, then slowly pour a pot of boiling hot water in the bowl. Let the hot water stand in the bowl for a bit. During this time, the hot water will work its way down the drain to dissolve the fats in the waste and help get things moving again. A word of caution: make sure to be careful when handling the hot water. It could splash back and land on you, causing a burn and a watery mess on your floor. Another thing to note is that you may have to do this more than once.

What about if your kiddo flushes their favorite toys down the drain? Well, you can try snaking it in an attempt to retrieve the toys. Worst case scenario would require you to remove the toilet and remove the items that way. If you must take this route, be very careful as toilets are quite heavy.

Clogged Shower Drain

Time to talk about that wookiee living in the shower drain. You’re standing in water up to your ankles, and you know it’s getting kind of gross. A likely culprit of a clogged shower drain is hair, and this is an easy fix. Once you know how to get the stopper off, the rest is a cake walk. After the stopper is removed, you can use needle nose pliers to remove the hair from the drain. Try to steer clear from using a wire hanger because it could get stuck. After you remove the mass, run water down the drain to test if you’ve removed everything. Once you’re sure that you’ve removed the clog, you can put the stopper back on.

Funky Disposal

You’re cleaning your kitchen; you catch a whiff of something funky and then realize it’s coming from your disposal. Many people will jump to using bleach, because of the obvious…nothing survives bleach! But it’s actually not the safest to use down your drain and in your disposal. Remember, this is a harsh chemical and it could cause some damage to the kitchen drain and the garbage disposal. So, here’s some safer alternatives:

  • Grind up the rinds from lemons, oranges and even grapefruits in the disposal. NEVER use limes! Sounds weird, but their rinds will get stuck in the disposal. You’re trying to get rid of smells and not have new ones, right?
  • Not only can you use certain those fruit rinds to help the smell in your disposal, but you can wipe the white part around the sink first to clean to give it a fresh scent as well.

Not all issues with the kitchen sink are with the disposal. Most people know not to pour hot oil or grease down the drain, but not everyone knows why. When the oil cools, it will congeal and harden, thus causing a stubborn clog in the drain. The best thing to do is let the oil or grease cool down, then pour it in a can or plastic cup, then throw it away in the trash.

If the clogs in your drains cause you gray hairs, or don’t want to wrestle with your disposal, you can rest assured that the right people for the job are nearby and available. The drain wizards with Albuquerque Plumbing Heating & Cooling can get your home running properly again.

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