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kitchen plumbing by bethany72 on Flickr
When a sink or tub suddenly stops draining, it's tempting to reach for the drain cleaner. Though drain cleaners -- actually powerful, corrosive chemicals -- can work when drains have trivial clogs, they aren't effective against bigger problems. Not only that, they can wreak havoc on your pipes and are terrible for the environment.

Instead, recommends Mother Earth Living take a little time to get a better understanding of how your drain system works, and you'll be able to beat clogs at their source.

Tools you might need:
  • a sink plunger
  • a bucket
  • a pipe wrench
  • a flexible wire (like a wire coat hanger twisted out of shape)
  • a drain snake
Learn how to get started after the break, but if you're squeamish, don't forget to put on your rubber gloves!

Mother Earth Living
has the fine details. But basically, you'll start by pulling out the drain plug, removing any debris, then sticking your finger down the drain to try and locate the clog. If that doesn't work, the next step is a drain plunger. If that doesn't work, it's under the sink for you to remove the trap.

Those three steps will clear up most clogged drains, but if they don't, you may have a main drain problem. Still, most household clogs (even toilets) can be handled without the use of drain cleaners or by calling an expensive plumber.

Want to read more? Learn how to prevent clogged drains, how to unclog a toilet, and how to stop stinky sewer gas from coming out of your pipes.


  • Peter

    Be careful using snakes or other physical methods on old pipes. I used a snake to try to clear a clog and the pipe was so old that it had corroded from the inside and the moment the snake brushed up against the inside of the trap it broke the thin wall of the pipe.

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  • 2 Comments / 1 Pages

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