Few things are more irritating and disgusting than dealing with a clogged drain. Whether it’s a slow-draining sink, a backed-up shower, or a clogged bathtub, dealing with blocked drains is extremely bothersome.

Some clogs require the assistance of a professional plumber, but there are some simple and effective tasks you can perform at home before making that call – and ASI is here to help. Read our 5 insanely simple hacks to unclog drains and game-changing secrets from plumbing experts.

Key Takeaways:

  • There are many DIY solutions to clogged drains that you can do as a homeowner.
  • Tough clogs are often easier to prevent than correct.

Boiling Water: The Simple DIY Drain Saver

Boiling water is a tried-and-true method for dealing with drain clogs without damaging your pipes. Better yet, using boiling water requires no tools or particular know-how. You just have to know how to boil water!


You can use boiling water for dealing with minor drain clogs like soap scum, grease, and other organic materials. This hack helps to break down these common substances and allow them to flow freely down the drain, relieving a slow drain or clog.

To perform this hack, start by boiling a pot of water. Carefully pour the boiling water down the clogged drain in two to three stages, allowing the hot water to slowly break down the clog. The heat is often enough to dissolve blockages that are caused by harden substances, such as grease, and restore proper drainage.

It’s best to use the boiling for kitchen sink drains that are clogged with grease and food particles, which can solidify and accumulate in the pipes. Keep in mind that this is best for clogs that can be melted, not clogs that occur because of thick, solid materials.

Baking Soda and Vinegar: The Dynamic Duo

Baking soda and vinegar are inexpensive staples that are found in most homes. You can use them on stubborn clogs as an eco-friendly solution that also happens to work! Baking soda is mildly abrasive, while vinegar’s acidic properties help dissolve organic matter. Together, a chemical reaction occurs that can dislodge minor clogs and restore proper drainage.

Here are the steps to perform this DIY clog remover:

  1. Pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain.
  2. Pour half of a cup of white vinegar down the drain after it.
  3. Allow this mixture to sit for about 15 minutes (30 for really stubborn clogs). You may hear a fizzing sound, which is the chemical reaction that’s breaking down the clog.
  4. Flush the drain with hot water and wash away the debris.

The best part of this drain-cleaning solution is that it’s completely natural and non-toxic. You won’t have to worry about hazardous chemicals that are bad for your health or your pipes, but it’s still strong enough to break up clogs caused by hair, soap scum, and other organic materials.

Once the clog is gone, make the vinegar and baking soda solution part of your regular routine to prevent clogs before they happen. As a bonus, the baking soda will also remove any nasty odors from food particles.

Plunger: Trusted Drain Unclogger

A plunger is a reliable tool to have in your home at all times. It’s simple and effective for removing clogs, since it creates pressure and suction that can dislodge clogs and restore proper drainage.

Keep in mind that there are two different plunger types. The plunger commonly used for toilets is a flange plunger, which has a soft rubber flap that fits neatly into the toilet drain hole to form a strong seal. For sinks or shower drains, a plunger with a flat area fits nicely over the drain for a good seal. There are also telescoping or accordion plungers.

Here are the steps to use a plunger to clear your drains:

  1. Make sure there’s enough water in the sink, bathtub, or shower to cover the plunger’s cup.
  2. Position the plunger over the drain opening, ensuring a tight seal.
  3. Pump the plunger up and down vigorously for about 20 to 30 seconds.
  4. Remove the plunger and see if the water drains. If not, repeat the process.

Plunging properly isn’t about force – it’s about suction. Make sure you maintain a tight seal and move the plunger up and down in smooth, strong motions. If you plunge chaotically, you’ll only end up breaking the seal.

The repeated pressure and suction of plunging can often break up or dislodge clogs enough to get things moving. This is especially helpful for clogs caused by debris, hair, or other materials that are compacted or got stuck in pipe buildup like grease or soap scum.

Wet and Dry Vacuum: Drain Suction Solution

If you have a wet and dry vacuum for your garage or workshop, it can be effective for unclogging drains. The vacuum’s powerful suction can dislodge and remove stubborn clogs in a similar manner to a plunger (with less work!). It’s also a good option if you can’t get a good angle with the plunger.

To use a wet and dry vacuum to unclog a drain, follow these steps:

  1. Ensure the vacuum is set to “wet” mode, since there’s likely some moisture in the drain.
  2. Create a tight seal around the drain opening with the vacuum hose.
  3. Turn on the vacuum and allow it to create a powerful suction.

Depending on the state of the clog, the vacuum’s strong suction can break up and remove the clog, providing a swift solution to persistent blockages. But calling a professional is recommended.

How to Prevent Drain Clogs in the First Place

Though you can clear some clogs on your own at home without calling for plumbing repair, it’s a much simpler option to keep your drains clear in the first place with preventative care. That’s really the biggest plumbing expert secret.


Naturally, the best way to prevent drains from becoming slow or clogged is by being careful what goes down them. Here are some simple ways to prevent kitchen clogs.

Use a Mesh Drain Strainer

An easy and inexpensive way to prevent clogs is to use a mesh drain strainer or basket. Non-liquids will sit in the trap rather than flowing down the drain, then you can simply remove the trap and toss the solids in the trash can. This is a convenient and inexpensive option that you can find in any home improvement store.

Eliminate Grease

Grease is one of the biggest culprits of drain clogs. Though bacon grease, butter, and animal fats melt into a liquid during cooking, they harden back up once they cool or when cold water hits them. Oils and grease also bond with other solids and can create big, stubborn, and gross clogs in your sink.

When you’re done cooking, collect grease in a can, glass jar, or bowl. Wait for it to cool, then discard it in your trash can. Be careful not to toss the grease when it’s too hot, as it can burn through your trash bag.

Don’t Flush Food Scraps Down the Kitchen Sink

If you don’t have a garbage disposal, it’s important to always scrape your plates clean before putting them in the sink. Small food scraps can get rinsed down your drain and quickly lead to clogs.

If you have a garbage disposal, it may be tempting to toss just about any food material in there. After all, it’s for garbage, right? Not exactly. Your garbage disposal can handle small food particles, but you should avoid placing food items like:

  • Eggshells
  • Coffee grounds
  • Meat and bones
  • Fibrous fruit and vegetable peels
  • Pasta, rice, or other starchy foods
  • Paper products
  • Hard chemicals or paint

When you do run your garbage disposal, always use a constant flow of cold water during and for about 60 seconds after the disposal is turned off. This will help the system grind everything and flush food particles completely down the pipe. If you use hot water, it can cause fats and grease to congeal and gum up the blades.

You should also clean your garbage disposal regularly to prevent good residue from building up inside your drainpipe. This will also help you eliminate odors.

Rinse Kitchen Drains with Hot Water

After you use your kitchen sink, run some hot water down the drain to wash away any food particles and prevent clogs from forming. If you experience frequent clogs, pour boiling water down the drain to prevent buildup at least once a week.

Call in a Professional

These 5 insanely simple hacks to unclog drains and game-changing secrets from plumbing experts should help you keep your drains running clear. But if you’re trying everything and still dealing with persistent clogs, it may be because of a deeper problem lurking in your plumbing system.

Don’t stress over constant clogs, especially when they could be caused by a bigger issue. Contact the pros at ASI to schedule your appointment for plumbing service or repairs.