How to clean an obstruction

  • Use a plunger. Fill the sink with enough water to cover the drain and base. Press the plunger firmly on top of the drain to create an airtight seal and submerge it several times quickly.

The plungers work very well in the large and not very solid obstructions of the bathrooms. Pull the inner plunger skirt so it fits into the drain, submerge it and rinse it in clean water as you refill the container. Store a separate plunger for the bathroom.

Some plugs include a clean storage cart.

  • Uses a drain cleaning tool made of plastic and with bristles. This is a long, rigid but flexible and economical plastic strip that has a series of plastic bristles that come out from the tip. Put it in the drain and then pull it out. The bristles are relatively strong and sharp, so do not pass them by your hand. You can clean the tool by passing toilet paper or a paper towel over the bristles, then store and reuse it. It works great on larger clogs near the drain opening, such as in the bathroom sink or to clean soap and hair buildup in the tub.
  • End a difficult obstruction using a wet or dry vacuum cleaner. Most vacuum cleaners have a blowing mode that must have enough power to remove the obstruction from a drain.

Hold the end of the vacuum cleaner tube firmly over the drain and use a towel to create a seal around it. Make sure all other openings are tightly closed or plugged.

Turn on the vacuum cleaner in blower mode. Turn it on and off quickly several times until you clear the drain plug. Leaving the blower running continuously for an extended period can damage the pipes (or the vacuum cleaner itself in case the airflow is restricted).

There are drain cleaning tools that work with tap water pressure and employ similar principles, which should have much more power than a vacuum cleaner, power for which drains may not be designed.

  • Wrap an electric pad around the pipe under the sink in case you know that the drain is clogged by kitchen grease. Turn on the electric pad to heat the tubing, then let the hot water through the drain until the grease disappears.
  • Purchase a cable drill bit or a low-price plunger probe. You can even rent one at a hardware store. While wires coiled in a reel come in many different lengths, one of 7.5 feet (25 feet) should be sufficient to cover much of the needs.

Remove the trap from the sink located underneath using a wrench. Place a nearby bucket to catch the water that could drain from the pipe when you remove it.

Slowly push the auger wire or plunger probe into the pipe opening until you feel that there is something that builds resistance.

Turn the auger handle while firmly pushing the coil into the pipe. The auger will slowly enter the pipe by removing the obstruction.

Continue with the cleaning process until you have got rid of the obstruction and you can push the coil without finding any resistance.

  • Apply a biological treatment to the obstruction. Uses an enzymatic or bacterial cleanser on a regular nightly basis in drains that partially function due to accumulation of debris. Follow the directions on the packaging. These cleansers are subtle and, hopefully, effective over time. Not all are the same, so experiment in case one does not seem to produce good effects.

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