Can boiling water unclog a drain? If your drain is clogged with ice cubes — then yes, boiling water can unclog a drain.
But if your drain is clogged with the things that normally clog drains — grease, oil, dirt, hair, etc. — then no, boiling water isn’t likely to help.
Can Boiling Water Unclog A Drain?
Boiling water can be useful for certain kinds of clogs, but the results are — at best — hit and miss. Plus, there are risks associated with pouring boiling water down a drain, especially if you have PVC pipes; boiling water can soften and even melt the PVC joints!
Also, there’s the possibility that the boiling water treatment will just push the clog deeper into your pipes, meaning the oil or grease or hair (or some dastardly combination of all three) is now more difficult to reach and remove.
How did this myth get started? Like all myths, its origins are murky — much like that boiling water you’ve just poured into your clogged drain. (It’s now just sitting there cooling in the drain, waiting for you to use a more successful method to clear the problem.)
Most of the time, the myth of using boiling water to unclog a slow drain started because somebody utilized that method, appeared to achieve results and passed the advice on to friends and family members. It’s certainly possible; boiling water can melt or loosen the gunk holding the clog together. But it’s not always effective — nor is the home remedy of mixing vinegar with baking soda and pouring that concoction down the drain. It doesn’t hurt to try these methods, however, so go ahead and see what happens! (Remember, though: That vinegar-baking-soda mix is gonna fizz!)
However, there are better ways to deal with a clogged pipe and to get down to the business of drain cleaning, no matter how many times your friends and/or family have used the boiled water trick.
How To Clear A Clogged Drain
There are several tried-and-true methods for unclogging a drain. In our experience, the best ways to unclog a drain include the following:
- Using a plunger. Yep, sometimes the oldest trick in the book is still the best trick in the book. (That’s probably why it’s been around for so long.) Quick note: For super tough clogs, it’s often helpful to cover overflow drains (in bathroom sinks, for example) or the other drain in a double-basin kitchen or utility room sink. Covering these drains helps create a stronger vacuum in the pipe to remove the clog.
- Pouring a chemical cleaner down the drain. Chemical drain cleaners can be effective at removing even the toughest clogs. They come in liquid, gel, and powder forms, so be sure to use the one that’s right for your particular situation. Should you even use a chemical clog remover? We discussed that topic here.
- Cleaning the trap. The P-trap is the curved pipe beneath your sink. Grease and debris can block this section of your pipe. Here’s how to unclog a kitchen sink by cleaning out the trap.
- Augering that thing! This takes some disassembly and might be a job for a professional. But if you’re the adventurous type, we go over the details of “cranking the auger” here.
Meticulous Plumbing in Portland, Oregon
If you have any questions, Meticulous Plumbing probably has the answers. We’ve been providing expert plumbing services in Portland, Oregon, for many years. We’re ready and able to work on drain clogs or any number of plumbing-related problems.
At Meticulous Plumbing, we work hard to provide our customers with only the highest quality service. Best of all, we provide up-front pricing, so you know exactly what you’re getting and how much it will cost.
We look forward to serving you!