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Man using a plunger with one hand to clean a clogged drain in a kitchen sink

What is the Best Way to Clean Clogged Drains? A Guide

No one likes filthy water coming back up on them in the place where they wash their hands or their dishes. Drain clogs come in all sizes, from minor backups to major blockages, but even the most minor of clogs can have a surprising impact on your daily life. But different clogs require different cleaning approaches. How do you know if you need to call a plumber for clogged drains, and when can you clear it fast on your own?

At George Salet Plumbing, we have numerous drain cleaning options for clogs and clog prevention. So, let’s take a look at these different methods and what might be right for your home or business!

What is the Easiest Way to Unclog a Sink Drain?

One of the first things we recommend trying when you have a clogged sink is to pour baking soda, vinegar, and hot water into the drain. These three ingredients partner together to lift and remove most debris and soap scum associated with a clog. You can also try tactics like wire hangers or plungers for minor clogs. If this takes care of the problem, great! If the clog returns, you may need to get a professional to look for deeper blockages.

Do Liquid Drain Cleaners Harm Your Pipes?

While the first instinct might be to buy some commercial drain cleaning liquid to pour down the drain, these chemicals are very hazardous. They may eat away at some clog-forming debris, but they often don’t dissolve the whole thing. They can also corrode your pipes, not to mention your skin. About 3,000 people a year are injured by these cleaners, meaning they threaten your health and safety as well as that of the plumber you end up calling.

Drain Snaking

A drain snake is a term used for drain cleaning with a cable drain cleaning machine. Plumbers use these machines to clean the drain or sewer by rotating a flexible cable made of piano wire through the pipe. Attachments on the end of the cable can scrape, bore, cut, and retrieve the blockage.

A drain snake is necessary when you have a clogged drain or sewer that needs to be cleared at the source of the problem. Situations that require a snake might be when something is accidentally dropped down the toilet, when roots are present in the pipe, or when there is a build-up of solid waste in the drain.

Can I Snake A Drain Myself?

Drain snaking is not a do-it-yourself project. Since most professionals recommend cleaning out the main drain about every two years anyway, a clogged drain is the perfect time to schedule a drain cleaning with a drain snake as well as a routine maintenance check on your pipes, drains, and sewers. If you haven’t ever scheduled someone to look at your pipes and drains, it’s probably a good idea.

Many YouTubers and DIY websites will go as far as to recommend that you buy a “home strength” drain snake or auger to save money. But if you read the directions for the plumbing snake, two things are very clear: you need to have towels ready to clean up a very ugly mess, and you need to have experience operating a drain snake machine to avoid serious injury or damage to your plumbing system.

Unfortunately, the last piece of advice that these DIYers will give you is to call a plumber. But that’s exactly what you should do!

What is Hydro Jetting?

Hydro jet drain cleaning can be an extremely useful long-term solution for a clogged drain that has been almost closed off from residue build-up. Hydro jetting is almost always needed for commercial properties like restaurants or hospitals, and it can work for residences as well.

Hydro jetting uses high-powered water pressure—1500 to 4000 pounds per minute—to blast away clogs. This kind of water pressure will clear out the grease, fats, sand, and sediment that has built up in your drains—the exact buildup that causes your sinks and dishwasher to back up. It’s important to get a hydro jetting job done by your local plumber if you suspect that you have clogged pipes caused by something like grease.

How does Hydro Jetting Work?

The jetting tool works in two ways:

  • First, the jetting tool has a high water pressure stream that cleans your pipes while it moves forward.
  • Second, the jetting tool is propelled through the pipes by reverse water jets.

There are about 6 to 8 reverse water jets that work to break up the blockage in your drain. Because there are two streams of high-pressure water, forward and reverse, you get a major cleaning advantage. When your plumber pulls back on the cleaning head, the rear water jets turn into cleaning jets that virtually scour the pipe clean—no major construction on your pipes required.

Is Hydro Jetting better than Snaking?

Hydro jetting is more effective when you can find exactly where the blockage is. Heavy blockages commonly occur in the main sewer and where the sub-drain pipelines bend or change direction. If the blockage can’t be found there, a video inspection may need to be performed to determine the perfect solution to the problem.

Inspections involve putting a live video camera down the drain to find out how much build-up there is and if there are root problems. The video camera has a locator to determine exactly where the blockage is, so we can minimize the time spent working to unclog your drain. Video inspections can also find other problems, like broken or separated pipes and offset pipe joints.

A Squeaky Clean Drain Cleaning Service

Drain cleaning service should never leave your home or business messy. Even though it’s a dirty job, when we work in your home, our goal is to make it look like we have never been there. Our technicians use floor mats and booties to protect your floors. They also have the experience and the expertise to clear the blockage and get your drain running free in the cleanest way and shortest time possible.

Nothing is more important than leaving your home just like it was before we came, so call for free estimates, guaranteed work, and the most professional & clean drain cleaning service in the San Francisco Bay Area! Request your free estimate today: if it’s a simple fix, we’ll tell you so—that’s our promise to you.

George Salet Plumbing: Expert Commercial & Residential Drain Cleaning Solutions

If you have recurring clogs, multiple clogs, or clogs that just won’t budge, call the Plumbing Pros at George Salet Plumbing. We’ve served the San Francisco Bay Area for decades, and we have a comprehensive knowledge of the best drain cleaning methods for unique situations. If you’re in San Francisco, call (415) 234-0733, or in the Peninsula call (650) 557-3883. You can also book a service call online!

Schedule a service with us today!

Schedule a service with us today!

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