Drain Cleaning Frequently Asked Questions

Get those clogged drains flowing yourself or with a professional plumber

plumbing service Clogged drains are one of the most common plumbing services the Burt’s Reliable team handles. Bathroom sinks, showers, garbage disposals and utility rooms —drains constantly need to be cleaned somewhere.

There’s something incredibly frustrating about dealing with a stopped drain. Many homeowners want to try to clear it themselves, and there are instances where you can clean a drain on your own. However, many drain blockages are stubborn. You could seriously damage your home’s plumbing if you aren’t careful.

So, before you start jamming tools or pouring chemicals into your drains, allow us to answer some frequent drain cleaning questions.

Why do drains become clogged?

For the most part, when a sink or other receptacle starts draining slowly — or stops draining altogether — it’s because of the normal accumulation of substances in your drainpipes. In bathrooms, this could be because of hair, dirt, soap or other hygiene products. In the kitchen, it’s usually an accumulation of food and grease. For utility sinks, there are any number of potential culprits.

If you have a little one at home, the clog might also involve an object that shouldn’t have gone down the drain, like a toy or pull-up.

How do I know if I need to clean my drain?

A slow or standing drain typically requires cleaning. The same is true of a drain that emits strong odors or has drain flies. If multiple drains in your home drain slowly, the issue could be a main sewer clog. These are often caused by tree roots, wet wipes or other dense objects.

Can I clean a clogged drain myself?

Generally speaking, you can clean lightly clogged drains with simple, at-home methods. These include the following:

  1. Straighten a wire coat hanger and make a half-inch hook at the end. Push it to the bottom of the drain and twist it to remove hair or other obstructions.
  2. You can pour in a mixture of vinegar and baking soda to dissolve the obstruction.
  3. Pouring boiling water into the drain can loosen the obstruction, but only do this once. Boiling water can damage joints in PVC piping.

Be careful not to damage your pipes. Always err on the side of caution. Also, avoid caustic drain cleaners, which can severely corrode your pipes.

When should I call a professional to clean my drain?

You can try the at-home fixes listed above, but if they don’t resolve the issue, you should call a licensed plumber to clean your drain. In the case of a clog in your main line (causing multiple drains to be clogged), you should always call a professional. Luckily, cleaning drains is a quick and relatively inexpensive procedure that yields immediate benefits.

Households on Long Island’s North Fork and East End trust the Burt’s Reliable team for large and small plumbing jobs. We are a certified plumbing contractor and stand behind our work.

Need a drain cleaning? Request our services today!