Sick of Dealing with Drain Chokes

Sick of Dealing with Drain Chokes? These 5 Genius Hacks Will Save Your Day

Inconvenient blockages, or even severe plumbing issues – are the results of ignoring the common household phenomenon of “drain choke.” We should be careful not to have such clogged drains accumulated with hair, grease, food particles, and other debris. However, do you know how to clean drain chokes, especially if you are in Singapore?

Since Singapore is a busy city, people forget to take care of their plumbing system. Therefore, unhealthy choked drain causes health issues as well as irritates the environment. That’s why I am here to talk about 5 innovative ways to unclog drain chokes. Reading this blog can help you get overall cleanliness and hygiene of your living space.

Briefly, you can use multiple methods to clean the clogged drain. Some of them are pouring hot water, using a plumber’s snake, or plunger, and applying natural drain cleaners. In the whole discussion, I have explained five of them in full detail. I hope you will love to read it.

What are the Causes of Drain Chokes?

Before finding the cleaning methods, you should understand how your drains get choked. It can save both your wallet and time. Otherwise, you may need to contact professional plumbing services in Singapore or wherever you are. Anyway, let me discuss the reasons for drain chokes.

Pouring Hot Liquids

The primary reason is cooking oil or grease disposal down kitchen sinks. For instance, when you pour the hot grease down a drain, it coats the inside of the plumbing. When it cools, the drain gets choked.

Soap Scum

Soap residue or scum can accumulate in pipes over time. They can combine with other debris to cause clogs. Well, it results from chemical reactions between the soap and minerals in the water. As a result, a build-up narrows the pipes and slows down drainage.

Accumulation of Hair

Once we shampoo our hair, they may flow through the drain pipe. Not only that, hair goes down the drain system and entangles with other debris over time. Then, we get a nasty, choked drain.

Foreign Objects

If you have babies at home, there is a chance that those tiny toys are thrown unintentionally into the opening of the drain. Even if you inspect the system, you may get food waste, fabric items, etc. These are also reasons for a drain choke.

Signs of a Choked Drain – When You Must Care Immediately

If the water draining has become slower than usual, you need to clean the drain system thoroughly. It indicates that there is a blockage restricting water flow.

Another significant factor is getting foul smells from the drain. The rotten food, leftovers, and other waste items get stuck in the pipe. They create blockage and, eventually, produce foul odors.

Do you hear unusual sounds like gurgling or bubbling from your drain? For sure, it can be a sign that a blockage in the pipe is trapping air.

If you get any of these symptoms, you should start DIY unclogging (like the methods below) or hire a professional plumber to clean the drainage system.

Methods to Deal with Drain Chokes

Methods to Deal with Drain Chokes

Once you find out you need to unclog the choked drain, I suggest you start cleaning it. But how? Like I said before, you have options to get a proper flowing drain. At this point, I am explaining some helpful ways that you can efficiently conduct.

Method 1: Use Your Hand

It’s the most affordable way (somewhat effective for severe blockage) to clean the drain chokes. It takes the least time, yet it can be beneficial for regular drain maintenance.

Tools Required

  • Protective hand gloves

Procedures

I always recommend proper safety before cleaning anything at home. As you are about to use your hand, wear gloves to avoid direct contact with possible harmful substances. Even these gloves may protect your hand from sharp objects inside the drain.

Now, check the drain for any visible obstructions. You may see some surprising objects inside it. They can be any of these: hair clumps, soap pieces, plastic items, small toys, etc. Once you see them, gently pull them out. I suggest you do not push the obstruction further down. Probe with your fingers after removing identical objects.

You may feel more obstructions within reach. Hence, safely dislodge and remove the resistance with your fingers. Run water down the drain to check if you have cleaned the passage. If you still see water drains slowly, you may need to clear further blockage.

Method 2: Pour Boiling Water

A simple hand-cleaning method won’t work for deeper or more stubborn clogs. You can apply other DIY methods or call expert services. Pouring hot water is such an exemplary method.

Tools Required

  • Hot/boiling water

Procedures

Boiling or hot water can be practical for dissolving soap scum and grease that may accumulate in pipes. This method is especially helpful if your plumbing system has metal pipes. It may not be suitable for PVC pipes due to the risk of damage from the high temperature. However, its effectiveness against common clogged culprits such as hair, dirt, and oil is limited.

Anyway, first, you need to identify if there is any visible object choked inside the drainpipe. You may bring them out following the earlier method. Then, start pouring the boiling water into it. After 8-10 minutes, run regular water through the pipe. If the water drains fast, then you are successful. For stubborn soap scum, you may need to use hot water again.

Method 3: Use a Plumber’s Snake

Let me share another popular method to deal with drain chokes: the plumber’s snake (also known as drain auger). Likewise, it is a highly effective way to remove tough blockage within the plumbing system. You can also consider it a safer alternative to chemical drain cleaners.

You may find different types of plumber’s snakes, like hand-cranked and electric models. I prefer a hand-cranked snake for most home clogs. An electric drain auger might be necessary if the clog is deeper or in a main sewer line.

Certainly, using an auger requires some physical effort and patience. But once you become a pro on it, you may help yourself by saving money on repairs. 

Tools Required

  • A plumber’s snake
  • Protective hand gloves
  • Safety goggles

Procedures

Wear gloves and goggles before using the auger, mainly if you have used chemical cleaners. Then, take the right snake and slowly feed its end into the drain.

Let me think you are dealing with a sink. In that case, remove the p-trap under the sink to access the direct line. For a toilet, the snake should be inserted directly into the bowl.

After insertion, push more cable into the drain until you meet resistance. It will indicate that you have reached the clog. At this moment, adjust the amount of cable you are using. You may extend 6-12” of cable at a time. Then, lock the collar if your model has one and start rotating.

Now, rotate the snake against the clog while applying a bit of force. If the snake is stuck, rotate it in the opposite direction to help dislodge the obstruction. Follow the same processes.

Once done, slowly start to retract the snake from the drain. Be prepared for debris or water to follow the snake out of the drain. After removing the auger, you can run hot water to flush away any remaining debris. Do not forget to clean the snake after using it.

Method 4: Use a Plunger

Like a plumber’s snake, using a plunger is a safe method for unclogging drains. In most homes, this is a standard tool for plumbing purposes. Besides drains, it is helpful for toilets, sinks, and showers. However, plungers can create pressure to dislodge blockages.

Tools Required

  • A plunger

Procedures

First, ensure enough water in the toilet bowl, sink, or tub to cover the plunger cup properly. This water will seal and generate hydraulic pressure for cleaning the choked drain.

Here is a thing: you may use different types of plungers for specific use cases. For example, flange plungers are the right choice for toilets due to their shape to fit toilet drains. You may prefer a cup plunger if you want to clean drainpipes for sinks and showers. It has a flat bottom that creates a better seal on flat surfaces.

Once you have the tool, position it over the drain so that the cup completely covers the opening. Again, a flange should be inserted into the toilet drain opening to form a tight seal.

Use a vertical motion with a firm hand to push down and pull up on the plunger. Here, you use the plunger’s pressure to dislodge the blockage. Thus, you must repeat this motion several times while maintaining the seal and the hydraulic pressure.

After several plunges, lift the plunger to see if the water drains quickly. It indicates that you have cleared the clog. Repeat the plunging process if the water drains slowly or not. Next, flush the toilet or run water down the drain to ensure you have done the job properly.

Method 5: Apply Natural Drain Cleaner

Natural drain cleaners provide a viable and eco-friendly option for unclogging drains. Well, this method is pretty simple to follow. It is ideal for cleaning the soap scum or grease on the drain surface.

Baking soda and vinegar mixture is the most popular natural cleaner to unclog drains. More precisely, the combo of baking soda (a base) and vinegar (an acid) creates a chemical reaction. It can dissolve clogs easily. Therefore, many plumbing services recommend using this cleaner instead of chemical cleaners.

Tools Required

  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • A bowl
  • Two cups
  • Boiling water

Procedures

In this approach, you need to start by mixing baking soda and vinegar. You can make the mixture at a 1:1 ratio. For instance, mix ½ cup of baking soda and ½ of vinegar in a bowl. But making a mixture is not necessary. You may also add salt to the mixture for additional abrasive cleaning power.

Alternatively, you can pour the half-cup baking soda down the drain first. Then, pour a similar quantity of vinegar into the drain. The mixture or direct application, whatever you choose, covers the drain after applying them.

Then, let the mixture sit there for around 15-30 minutes. It will allow them to react to work on the clog chemically. Use hot water to clear the drain to remove the loosened debris. You may repeat the process if you feel still there is a choke.

Bonus Methods

Besides the above ways, you can apply alternative ideas or products to have a clean, flowy drainage system.

Hanger

Take a wire hanger to remove hair and other materials from the drains. In this case, straighten the item and create a small hook at one end. It will help to fish out the debris from the drain. This method is helpful for superficial clogs that are within reach. However, dealing with mineral build-up, grease, or objects further down the pipe may not be sufficient.

Caustic Cleaners

Caustic cleaners (with sodium hydroxide) generate heat and destroy organic matter like hair, grease, and food particles. Yet, they are not healthy choices as they may cause burns on the skin. Sometimes they can even damage plumbing fixtures over time. Their toxic ingredients can also harm aquatic life.

Hydro Jet

I guess you know these jets, right? They use high-pressure water to clear blockages and build-up inside pipes. You can bust the grease, mineral build-up, and tree roots from the drain. For sure, this method is suitable for both residential and commercial plumbing systems. However, the excessive pressure may damage older or damaged pipes.

Pipe Relining

It is a method used to repair damaged pipes by crafting a “pipe within a pipe.” In this method, insert a resin-saturated liner into the damaged pipe and then cure it in place. It seals off leaks and prevents future blockages without excavating the existing pipe. Moreover, pipe relining is suitable for repairing cracks, holes, and leaks.

How to Prevent Drain Chokes in Your Home

Cleaning a blockage frequently may appear tiresome. But you can reduce the frequency by preventing drain chokes. Here are some preventive measures:

Use of Drain Screens

Install drain screens on all your drains. They can prevent food, hair, soap scum, and other debris from entering your drains. In this way, you can prevent clogs.

Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

You may make a habit of cleaning drains regularly. It will protect them from any formation of clogs. Also, it reduces the use of harsh chemicals.

Flushing Drains with Hot Water

Try to pour boiling water carefully down the drain or run the hot water tap for 5 minutes once a week. It can be effective for slow drains.

Proactive Clog Prevention Habits

I suggest you minimize the amount of hair and soap scum. They get rinsed down the bathroom sinks. Besides removing them, clean the sink stopper to prevent sink clogs.

Professional Way of Cleaning Clogged Drain System

If you need immediate cleaning of drain chokes, you can consult professional plumbing services in Singapore, like Li Fong Handyman. Here is a step-by-step professional strategy for cleaning a clogged drain system:

  • First, the expert team will perform a visual inspection to identify any visible blockages. They may first use the manual method to clean visible blockages with proper precautions.
  • After primary cleaning, they will follow procedures of mechanical removal (like a plumber’s snake, drain auger, hydro jet, or something advanced tool.
  • The next step may include applying chemical treatments. These chemicals may include caustic drain cleaners like Drano and Thrift as well as enzymatic and acidic ones.
  • As the experts know the best products, they will apply them to deal with sticky blockages.

A good plumbing service provider will always suggest the best approach to a healthy drainage system. Also, they will provide necessary cost-related information before cleaning the system.

FAQs

What are some signs of a choked drain?

They can be slow drainage, unpleasant odors, and gurgling sounds from the drain.

How often should you clean my drains?

It depends on usage, yet we suggest you clean drains at least once a month to prevent chokes.

What should I avoid putting down my drain to prevent clogs?

Avoid disposing of grease, coffee grounds, hair, and non-dissolvable items down the drain.

When should I call a professional for a choked drain?

You can call them anytime. However, it is essential if you get multiple drain chokes.

Conclusion: Choosing a Drain Cleaning Service

Throughout the discussion, I have shown you five simple ways to deal with drain chokes. I guess you have read all those methods (including the bonuses). Remember, the disposal of oils, soap scum, and foreign objects into drains clog drains. If you make a habit of regular cleaning, you must not look for exclusive solutions.

Still, we, Li Fong Handyman, suggest you call us anytime for any suggestions and help cleaning the plumbing system. We provide the best services in Singapore.

Last but not least, thank you for reading this article.

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