Paul's Plumbing Tips

Common Mistakes Made When It Comes to Clearing Blocked Drains

If your home has a blocked or clogged drain or toilet, you want to be very careful about how you address this problem; in many cases, having a plumber clear a persistent clog can be the best option so that you know the clog will be cleared properly and your pipes protected from damage. However, if you want to try to tackle this yourself, note a few common mistakes that many people make when it comes to clearing blocked drains. This will enable you to avoid these yourself, and ensure your home's plumbing is always in good repair.

Baking soda and vinegar

When you mix baking soda and vinegar, this creates a thick foam that can help clear a clogged drain. While this is a safe and natural way of addressing a clog, remember that you're probably not a chemist by trade, and that too much of these materials can mean too much interaction and too much foam! That foam will help loosen a clog, but it will also expand out the entrance of the drain or toilet, and take some of that clogged material with it. Your bathroom could then get covered with dirty foam that creates a mess. Use only a small amount of these substances at first, noting how much foam is produced, and then increase the amount slowly as needed.

Running water

When you address a clog, you don't want to run water until you know it's clear; wait until standing water starts to drain before turning on the taps. If you start running water too soon, assuming that the pressure will push the clog through, that water may just back up and create a mess. On the other hand, once a clog is gone, running hot water at a high pressure can help move through any residual grease, soap scum, food residue, and other debris that caused the clog, so be sure to do this after it is clear.


While running hot water at a high pressure is good for when a clog is clear, never assume that a garden hose or pressure washer can clear a clog in the home. Even if the pressure of these tools could clear a clog, they're likely to damage the connectors to pipes and may even cause one to burst, so you would then have a flood and also need to replace those pipes. If the clog is so severe that nothing else is working, allow a plumber to use forced air or other such means to clear it.