clogged shower drainWhether it’s in your sink, shower, or toilet no one likes dealing with a clogged drain. While calling a professional plumber for a clogged drain is the most convenient or necessary step to take, often you can correct small clogs in a few simple steps.

Cover it up: First, cover the overflow opening with a wet cloth. Since most kitchen sinks do not have an overflow vent, plug the other of two sink basins if you have them while you work on one. If you have two adjacent rooms with bathrooms, they may be connected by the same drain. In this case, block the other basin at its drain.

Fill with water: Be sure the clogged basin is filled with enough water to cover the head of the plunger. To create the best seal possible, coat the lip of the plunger with petroleum jelly. Take your plunger’s cup and insert it over the drain cover, then rapidly plunge up and down. Water should move in and out of the drain and the back-and-forth pressure created should build up enough energy to dislodge what is blocking your drain. After 10-12 plunges, pull plunger up quickly. Water should rush out. If not, try the above at least two more times before considering another option.

Auger it: Plunging is your best line of defense, but if that fails, you may look into a chemical drain opener. Remember, however, that drains that are completely clogged should not be fixed with chemicals, as many caustic agents actually harm fixtures. In this case, try the drain-and-trap auger. Remove the popup stopper or strainer from your clogged drain and insert the auger wire into the opening. Feed the wire in and crank the handle of the device to loosen and then tighten the thumbscrew as the wire moves deeper. If the wire meets something along the way, toggle it back and forth and tighten the thumbscrew on the handle as you continue to move the wire forward. Turn the handle and slowly withdraw the auger.

Remove the clean-out plug: If the auger fails, remove the clean-out plug from under the sink and catch water from the trap in a bucket. Grab a wire hanger twisted into a hook shape to reach the clog. Work this wire toward the basin to dislodge the blockage.

Unclogging any drain is dirty business. Keep it simple by following the above tips and look forward to success. If you encounter any problems, consult a reliable plumber for over-the-phone advice or to schedule a house call to get your pipes flowing smoothly again.

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