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DIY drain cleaning do’s & don’ts

Penguin Plumbing shares their tips on ensuring your DIY goes right

Clogged drains are more than just a nuisance: They can present health hazards and even lead to more serious plumbing problems throughout the home.

Many homeowners don’t bother to properly care for their drains until a problem arises, usually in the form of a slow drain or blockage. When the drains in your home require cleaning, your first instinct might be to use a heavyduty drain cleaner.

However, DIY drain cleaning techniques can often do more harm than good, and are usually only effective at delivering a short-term solution or disguising a greater issue. At Penguin our team always encourages homeowners to seek professional drain cleaning services from an expert plumbing technician.

Our team is available 24/7 to tend to your urgent drain cleaning needs. But for a quick fix in the meantime, we’ve put together a list of DIY drain cleaning do’s and don’ts to help you avoid further damaging your home’s plumbing system.

What Not to Do When DIY Drain Cleaning

You might be familiar with products like Drano or Liquid-Plumr, which are powerful chemicals designed to break up blockages in your pipes and drains. While these products might sound like a great solution, the chemicals can actually end up damaging your pipes more than the initial clog.

Even if the bottle claims the product is “safe on pipes,” the reality is that harsh chemical use will lead to pipe damage. If you insist on using a drain cleaning solution to clear blockages, choose an all-natural product instead.

All-natural drain cleaners typically use natural enzymes to break up clogs, causing the least amount of damage to your plumbing system.

Another common solution seen across many plumbing blogs and home improvement magazines is pouring a baking soda and vinegar mixture down the drain. However, this method is actually ineffective. Since baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid, the chemical reaction between the two results in water with a small amount of salt in it — not a powerful drain cleaning solution. Neither vinegar nor baking soda are surfactants either, so they aren’t able to help water carry oil and grease safely down the drain.

The Right Way to Clean Your Drains

Now that you know what not to do when cleaning your drains, it’s time to explore what DIY options you have that are safe for your plumbing system.

The following are just a few quick fixes that can provide the relief you need while you wait for your plumbing professional to arrive:

  • Plunger: In bathtubs, sinks, and toilets, a plunger can be used to force out minor blockages within your pipes and drains.
  • Snake: These tools are especially helpful for removing deep clogs that are hard to reach through other methods.
  • Hot Water: Fill up your bathtub or sink with hot water while a drain stopper is in place. Once the water is filled, remove the stopper to force the water down your drains and clear the blockage.
  • Hot Water & Detergent: Combine hot water and a degreasing dish detergent in your sinks or bathtub while a drain stopper is in place. Once the mixture fills the basin, remove the stopper to force the mixture through your drains.

It’s important to note that these solutions can provide a short-term solution, but are not meant to be used repeatedly. If you experience frequent drain clogs despite preventative measures and proper DIY drain cleaning techniques, there may be a greater issue present within your home’s plumbing system.

When to Call a Plumbing Professional

The most effective way to remove blockages from your pipes and drains is by contacting a professional plumber.

At Penguin Air, our plumbing technicians are specially trained on the most advanced plumbing tools and techniques, delivering long-lasting drain cleaning solutions that leave your plumbing system functioning like new.

Don’t damage your drains with DIY drain cleaning: 

Visit them online to schedule the professional drain cleaning services you need today!