How To Unclog a Drain: 5 Easy Steps To Clear Your Pipes

For heavily used drains, like the ones in your sink, tub, shower, and toilet, clogs are pretty much inevitable. While it is important to call the professionals when the clog is serious, it’s not a bad idea to know how to unclog a drain yourself. The pros here at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing put together this guide to help you unclog minor clogs in your drains.

How To Unclog a Drain and Keep It Clog-Free

Step 1. Do I Have a Clog?

First, you need to confirm that you have a clog in your drain. Without the specialized video inspection tools that the professionals have to see deep inside your pipes, you’ll need to diagnose it yourself. For this, it’s important to know the less obvious signs of a clogged drain.

Common Signs of a Clogged Drain:

  • Consistently Slow Draining
  • Frequently Clogged Drains
  • Gurgling Sounds as the Water Drains
  • Backed Up Water
  • Smelly Water

Step 2. Choose Your Unclogging Method


One of the easiest ways to unclog a drain, especially for minor clogs, is by using a plunger; call the professional plumbers at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing if you don't know how to unclog a drain.
This is, by far, the simplest method of unclogging a drain. Odds are, we’ve all had to use a plunger at some point in our lives. Place the plunger over the drain so it’s completely covered, creating a vacuum in the clogged drain. Quickly pump the plunger for a few minutes, until the clog is gone.

This method is only good for minor clogs and will do nothing for serious clogs.

Important Note: If you’re unclogging a drain in your sink, make sure you aren’t using the same plunger you use in the bathroom. That’s gross.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

Another DIY method for unclogging a drain is with vinegar and baking soda. This fizzy combination helps break down minor clogs in your drain while also giving it a good scrubbing.

Start by putting a couple squirts of dish soap down the clogged drain to break down the greasy mess down there. Next, very carefully pour about two cups of boiling water down the drain. The heat works to melt any fat and grease that’s built up in your pipes (it’s more than you think). Then, pour one cup of baking soda directly down the drain and add one cup of vinegar. Quickly close up the drain with a plug and wait 5-10 minutes after the fizzing has stopped. Finish it off with another two cups of boiling water. If the water is draining, then you’re good, but if it’s still clogged, then you can repeat these steps again.

Professional Drain Unclogging

Professional drain cleaning services include specialized tools, like this camera, meaning the professional plumbers see exactly what the problem is, just in case you don't know how to unclog a drain.
For all of your major clogs, the ones that aren’t fixed with these unclogging methods, you’ll need to call in the professionals. Plumbers have specialized tools and years of extensive training and experience. To put it bluntly, plumbers know their $#!*.

If you have a stubborn and persistent clog, don’t wait until your pipes burst and you have a flooding issue, call your local plumber.

Step 3. Rinse It Out

Once you’ve cleared out the clog in your pipe, it’s important to rinse it out. This helps clear away any of the residue left behind from the clog. Use a little bit of dish soap, for its grease cutting ability, and boiling water to melt away and flush out any more junk in the pipes. Make sure to do this after every unclogging.

Step 4. DIY Clog Prevention

When it comes down to it, the best clog control for your drains is prevention. Luckily, there are plenty of DIY clog prevention things you can do after unclogging your drain. Weekly drain rinses are a great start. At the end of every week, rinse out your drains with dish soap and boiling water. If you do this every week, then it’ll be way less likely for your drains to develop a clog in the first place.

Other DIY Clog Prevention Tips:

  • Don’t pour fat, oil, or grease down any of your drains.
  • Use a paper towel to wipe out your pots and pans after cooking to prevent too much grease, fat, and oil from getting down your drains.
  • Use a drain screen or drain grate.
  • Brush your hair before you take a bath or shower to prevent clogged drains in your tub.

Step 5. Yearly Drain Cleaning Services

Since we’re sticking with our theme of proactivity, the final step to unclogging a drain is to set up a yearly drain cleaning service. For minor clogs, doing it yourself is ok, but if you want to make sure your drains stay unclogged, then it’s time to call the pros.

By setting up regular drain cleaning services, you’re ensuring your pipes stay clear all year. All you need is one or two services per year to prevent the majority of clogs in your drains. This easy preventative step ends up saving you money in the long-run by helping prevent costly damage from damaged pipes and flooding.

Trust the Pros to Unclog Your Drain and Keep It Unclogged

Unclogging a toilet, sink, tub, or any other drain isn’t fun, especially if you have to do it all the time. Luckily, you can safeguard your pipes and prevent clogged drains in the future with professional drain cleaning services from Benjamin Franklin Plumbing. Our professional technicians and exceptional services can help get your plumbing back in order, and keep it there. Whether it’s a clogged toilet, sink, shower, tub or any other drain, we can help.

Invest in fewer clogged drains and healthier pipes with regular drain cleaning services. Call us today at 810-207-6268 or request an appointment right here. You can get even more helpful tips and tricks for your plumbing problems by checking out our blog. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with our latest news and deals!