Sluggish drains can be an agitating problem. Taking a few
precautions when using sinks or tubs can keep the problem
sinks or tubs where hair is washed, use a plastic or metal
"hair catcher" or screen to catch hair before it gets into
not pour grease down kitchen drains; pour liquid grease from
cooking into empty tin cans and set in refrigerator until
solidified; put can into tightly closed plastic bag, wrap
in newspapers, and put into trash bag.
keep kitchen drains clear, flush daily with scalding water.
For grease buildup, dissolve 1 pound washing soda in 3 gallons
of boiling water and pour down the drain. To avoid burns from
boiling water, hold water container close to drain and pour
slowly and directly into drain. For heavy grease buildup,
use a commercial drain opener.
use of a drain cleaner will prevent accumulations in the pipe.
Be sure to read and follow directions on the container. Do
not have your head over the drain when you pour the cleaner
into the drain. The violent reaction of the cleaner in water
can blow up in your face.
cleaners are very hazardous so be very careful in using them.
you have a slow emptying drain problem, many times the problem
is hair and soap curds caught in the stopper. Check first
to be sure all the other drains in the house are working.
If a regular stopper is used, the hair is probably caught
in the drain pipe just below the stopper. Take the stopper
out and clean it.
use a plunger which applies first pressure and then suction
to the plugged drain. To provide the suction and pressure,
smear a good layer of petroleum jelly on the edge of the rubber
stopper. Then plug the overflow with a wet rag so the air
will not short circuit through the overflow pipe. Pump the
plunger to loosen the stoppage. If this loosens the plug,
rinse the drain with hot soapy water
a piece of wire (a regular hair pin, bobby pin, or thin coat
hanger), put a very short bend on one end, maybe 1/4" or less.
If the piece of wire is very short, bend the other end so
you can hold onto the wire and turn it without dropping it.
Work the hair back out of the drain. This may take patience
until it is all out.
all the hair has been removed, flush several cups of hot water
down the drain. This should allow the bowl to empty.
Plugged Sink or Lavatory Drains
all other sink and toilet drains are open, the blockage is
the stopper for accumulations of hair, soap and other
foreign material. If a plain rubber stopper is used the
accumulation is probably on the grate in the drainpipe
just below the stopper. Proceed as described for slow
mechanical stoppers can just be pulled out, others can
be lifted, turned and raised, still others require disassembling
the unit. Take the stopper out and remove all hair and
the stopper will not come out you have a more difficult
problem. Remove the trap below the sink as described in
Step 4. Also remove as much of the pipe to the bowl as
possible. Now with a wire with a short hook, clean the
hair out by working both from below and above the sink.
the bowl drain is free, remove the bottom of the trap
below the lavatory by turning the two large nuts. The
nuts are on the pipes too so turn them counter-clockwise
as you look at them from the pipes. Be sure to put a bucket
under the trap to catch the water which accumulates in
the trap. Clean out the trap with hot soapy water.
Insert a plumber's "spring snake" into the drain pipe
and turn it as it goes into the pipe. There is usually
a hook on the tip which will catch on whatever is in the
pipe. If and when you feel it catch, pull it back out.
Do not try to push it through. Usually a plumbing fixture
is within 5 or 6 feet from a vertical pipe so if the snake
goes through to this pipe you can feel it on the snake
and the system should drain.