Three DIY Drain Fixes That Just Don’t Work

September 3, 2021

Clogged drains are a problem, but they are an almost unavoidable one. By the very nature of what we ask them to do, any drain will eventually clog up, creating an obnoxious and annoying problem to have to deal with. While drain clogs may be a simple issue, getting rid of them isn’t always as simple as it might seem, nor is it as simple as some people might try to make it seem. The internet is packed with tips that claim to open your drains and remove your clogs with ease, but many of these DIY drain remedies are not worth the paper they’re printed on. In fact, in many cases these methods can actually make things worse.

Here are three of these simple drain solutions that don’t typically work and are often more trouble than they’re worth.

Baking Soda & Vinegar

In elementary school, you probably combined these two extremely common household substances to create a “volcano” for a science experiment. When combined, these two substances release a ton of gasses, giving you that that rapid bubbling and expansion that simulates a volcanic eruption. The idea behind using the two of them to unclog your drains is two-fold: the expanding gasses create pressure on a clog while the cleaning power of baking soda and vinegar clean away the walls of your drain line. In theory, this should dislodge your clog and open your drain.

However, what many people don’t realize is that this might work on some smaller clogs or partial clogs, but it isn’t going to work on anything that is solid or remotely sturdy. Even flushing the drain with boiling water isn’t going to help if you have a stubborn blockage made of something like hair, soap scum, and other grime functioning as a tacky glue. Instead, all you get is a clogged drain that now smells like vinegar. You’re far better off having your drain jetted or snaked—two procedures that can remove all types of clogs, no matter how solid or stuck they might be.

“Easy” Drain Cleaning Chemicals

If you have ever strolled down the plumbing aisle at a hardware store or home improvement warehouse, you have probably seen a pretty hefty collection of drain cleaning chemicals for sale on the shelves. These substances are incredibly popular because they claim that they can get rid of your clog without anything more than just pouring a small amount of the product down the drain and letting it work its magic.

There’s just one problem: the majority of these cleaners are extremely powerful acids and they eat away at everything without discrimination. That means they’ll eat away at your clothes, your skin, your shoes, and anything else even a small amount splashes on, and that could result in serious injury. It also means that these chemicals eat away at your drains themselves, including corroding and destroying drain pipes. Sure, they might erode your clog, but they’ll also damage your drain immensely in the process, and that means the solution comes at a potentially massive cost. Nobody wants to have to replace a drain immediately after fixing it, but that just might be what you have to do if these chemicals erode too much of the line, making it no longer fit for service.

Coat Hanger Extraction

Got a nasty clog in your shower, bathtub, or bathroom sink? There’s a good chance the clog is primarily made up of hair, as washing hair and shaving creates a lot of loose hair that most people are happy to just let flow down the drain. While this is fine most of the time, hair is a pretty big contributor to the majority of bathroom clogs, and it can be rather difficult to get rid of once it firmly sticks in your drain. One suggestion you have probably seen involves taking a wire coat hanger, straightening it out, and then creating a small hook on the end to use to essentially “scoop” the clog out of the drain.

Not only does this not typically work for more than a small bit of your clog, but this actually as a bigger risk than most people realizing: more often than not, this actually pushes the clog further down the drain. This makes the clog harder to get rid of and only further increases the need for calling a professional. Likewise, because a coat hanger wire is typically smooth, the hair doesn’t have much to grab onto. This means most of your clog will probably remain in your drain, failing to fully solve the problem you had before.

Sick of DIY drain repairs not working? Schedule a professional fix with the team at Winters® Home Services! Dial 617-221-5899 now to request an estimate.