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Ways to Clear Your Outdoor and Indoor Drains

If your indoor drains are clogged, you probably take care of the problem quickly to continue using your household sinks, showers, and tubs. But what about slow drains? Or your outdoor drains?

The bottom line is that all of your drains are important and need to be clear. It may be easier to ignore that outside drain when it’s blocked up, but you won’t feel that way if your home starts to have an odor or you see dirty pools of water in your kitchen or bathroom.

Both indoor and outdoor drains can become clogged or slow, leading to major problems down the line. While you may need a professional plumber to handle clogs, you can take some steps at home to keep your drains clear and prevent clogs have happening in the first place.

What Are the Types of Indoor and Outdoor Drains?

Residential plumbing has three major systems: sanitary drainage, potable water, and storm drainage. All of these systems have their own plumbing infrastructure within a residence.

Sanitary drainage is for the water that’s been used, such as kitchen and bathroom sinks or toilet. Potable water is the water that comes into your home for cooking, drinking, cleaning, and showering or bathing. Storm drainage is the outdoor and weather-related drain systems.

Depending on where the drains are located, they may be clogged by:

  • Fats, oils, and grease
  • Food scraps
  • Soap
  • Hair
  • Mineral buildup
  • Flushing unflushable products
  • Disposable wipes
  • Foreign objects
  • Tree roots (sewer line)
  • Branches, leaves, or soil

5 Methods to Keep Your Drains Clear

Here are some ways to clear your indoor or outdoor drains:

1. Pour Boiling Water into the Drain

If your drain is clearing slowly and has no standing water, boiling water may be enough to dissolve a clog caused by fat or oil. Usually, it takes about ½ gallon of water poured into the drain, followed by running hot tap water.

Boiling water is safe for most plumbing, but if you have PVC pipes, avoid pouring boiling water down them. This can cause them to melt.


2. Use Dish Soap

Dish soap is great for breaking up grease and oil, which can get your drain moving again. Don’t use too much soap, as you’ll just get a lot of suds that can solidify into a worse clog.

About one ounce of dish soap directly into the drain should do the trick. After you put dish soap in the drain, slowly pour boiling water directly into it, then flush the drain with hot tap water for several minutes.

3. Make a Homemade Drain Cleaner

Chemical drain cleaners may be convenient, but they’re not the best choice for your drain. Over time, they can do a lot of damage to your pipes. A homemade solution of gentle but effective ingredients is the better choice.

Combine one cup of baking soda with three cups of boiling water and one cup of lemon juice. Pour this mixture into a slow drain and allow the chemical reaction to clear some of the debris. You can also use a half-and-half mixture of baking soda and white vinegar.

4. Use Drain Unclogging Tools

If the drain still runs slowly after using these DIY remedies, you can try a plastic drain cleaning tool. These safe, inexpensive tools are 24- to 36-inch-long strips that have barbs that can grab a hold of clogs and pull them out. You can usually find them at hardware stores or department stores.

To use the tool, simply insert it into the drain as far as it will go, then slowly pull it straight back out. It can take some time and patience to pull out debris that’s clogging your drain. If you’re not having good results, try twisting the tool slightly.

Some people use wire hangers like a drain snake, but this isn’t a good idea. It’s way too easy to accidentally damage your pipes when you’re poking around blind with a coat hanger. Worse yet, you could get the wire hanger stuck and create bigger problems.

5. Try a Plunger

Plungers are often useful for breaking up clogs or getting them moving so water can flush them down. You do need to prepare your drains for plumbing, however.

For bath sinks, begin by taking out the stopper and removing the stopper lever nut with pliers. Remove the sink drain stopper and replace the lever and nut, then plug the overflow drain hole by stuffing the corner of a cloth rag into it. This will create the necessary air pressure in the drain to move the clog.

For double-basin sinks, you will need to plug one of the drains with a wet cloth rag to seal it and allow suction to build while you’re plunging.

With tub drains, you will need to remove the overflow drain cover with a screwdriver and plug the hole by stuffing a cloth rag into it.

After this prep work, run some water until you have about two inches of standing water. Place the plunger over the drain and ensure the lip sits flush against the bottom. Vigorously move the plunger up and down several times, making sure not to break the seal with the bottom of the sink or tub.

Dealing with a stubborn clog? Contact the pros at Adeedo to schedule your appointment!


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