A gurgling drain is the first sign of an impending pipe clog. In the kitchen sink in particular, the pipes are always clogged. But the bath or shower tray is not immune to clogging either. Murphy’s Law usually drops such a mishap on a Sunday or a public holiday. Especially on these days there is either no professional help at all or only with increased financial outlay. You can now find out how you can free yourself from a blocked drain if necessary.
Clogged bathroom sink
The most common causes of clogging in the bathroom are hair and soap scum. However, this fact also makes it relatively easy to remedy most problems with washbasins that do not drain properly. First you should check whether hair has already collected on the stopper of the sink. Furthermore, they also collect and tangle in the locking mechanism and lead to a narrowing of the pipe. After removal, in many cases the work is already done and the water drains off well.
If this is not the case, hair and soap residue could still have collected in the siphon. Often these are also partly attached to the locking mechanism and can only be accessed after the siphon has been removed. But do not worry; this work can also be carried out relatively easily if you trust yourself, more on that later.
Clogged drain in shower or bathtub
Hair is also the main constipation problem in the shower or bathtub. Again, it is advisable to first remove the stopper in order to remove any hair that may be present. In many newer shower trays there is a lint filter that can simply be pulled out upwards. This is where foreign bodies usually get caught and are relatively easy to remove.
In bathtubs, the hair collects directly under the stopper and often ensures that the bath water drains off slowly. Here, too, you pull out the stopper and remove everything that doesn’t belong there. In the case of a shower or bathtub, the siphon can usually only be dismantled via an inspection flap. However, for reasons of safety and the risk of unnoticed water damage, I would consult a specialist here.
What to do if the kitchen drain is blocked
Blockages in the sink and kitchen drain are mostly caused by fats, oils and leftovers. But here, too, the first step is to remove the plug in order to remove any foreign bodies that may be present. If that doesn’t help, you can try using a wooden skewer to push any leftover food through the drain grate. It is better, however, not to push the leftovers into the pipelines, but to transport them outside. Sometimes there is no other way.
The best way to dissolve solidified fats is with washing-up liquid and hot water. You can definitely try to pour boiling water down the drain along with detergent. But that only works if the water does not drain properly. If nothing happens, this method won’t do much either.
Ideally, you dismantle the siphon in order to clean it and remove foreign objects. The procedure is no different from the sink in the bathroom.
Dismantle the siphon
The siphon is an odor trap that is installed either as a U or S-shaped pipe under the washstand or sink. In the case of a shower or bath, this is often behind an inspection flap. But sometimes this is also missing. The siphon is filled with water and prevents unpleasant smells from entering the living space from the sewer system or downpipes. Before dismantling, you should therefore place a bucket under the siphon to catch any water that may leak out.
The odor trap itself is mounted on the wash basin with large screw connections including seals and can ideally be removed by hand. Depending on the version, it is either made of metal or plastic. If it is older, or if it was tightened too tightly during assembly, a towel or something similar could be used. wrap around the screw connection to achieve greater power transmission. If the siphon is not released in this way, a pipe wrench is required. But be careful, the pipes are often sensitive and can be damaged, especially if they are made of plastic.
In most cases, the waste pipe of the siphon is simply plugged into the wall and sealed with a seal. This can be carefully pulled out if necessary.
Be careful not to lose any seals.
Once the blockages are cleared, everything is reassembled. After completing the work, the siphon and the drain pipe should be checked for leaks. The best thing to do is to leave the bucket in place until you are sure that everything is tight.
Clean the drain pipe with water pressure or a plunger (household suction cup)
- The siphon will be free,
- Disassembly in the shower or bathtub will not be possible,
Cleaning with water pressure and a plunger or household suction cup may be the solution.
I personally advise cleaning the siphon before using this method, if possible, because under certain circumstances you push the blockage into the transition to the downpipe, although you could have simply removed the foreign body from the odor trap.
The household suction cup is pressed onto the drain. It must be completely covered with water to achieve the desired effect. Any overflows that may be present must also be closed. A wet rag or cloth is suitable for this. A helping hand can also be helpful and facilitate the procedure. Now move the plunger with up and down movements on the drain and thus loosen the blockage. The rubber must never be lifted, but must always sit directly on the drain.
How often you have to move the household suction cup depends on how clogged the drain is.
Another option is to use a hose and water pressure from the pipe. The hose is placed directly on the drainage grid and also sealed with a wet cloth. The same applies to the overflows, as with the Pümpel method. Then you open the tap. I have already been able to put an end to some constipation.
Be careful with pipe cleaning spirals
If nothing helps and you own a pipe cleaning spiral, this helpful tool could still be a solution. It should be noted, however, that this spiral should not be led through the siphon. Under certain circumstances it can become so obscured that it can no longer be removed. Usually this tool is inserted directly into the wall in the downpipe after the siphon has been removed.
Professionals work with an electric pipe cleaning spiral and use it to remove most of the blockages in the house. But you should really only let the specialist work with this, as these can also get stuck in the drain pipe.
Home remedies for clogged drains
Personally, I am not entirely comfortable pouring other solids such as menthos, salt, baking soda or baking powder into a clogged drain pipe. It is more effective to use the cleaning methods described above. However, trying baking soda in combination with vinegar can sometimes be helpful. Baking powder is poured into the sink and rinsed off with a cup of vinegar. The baking powder reacts with the vinegar and releases CO². The resulting gas could loosen a minor blockage. However, it takes a certain amount of time to take effect.
Prevent clogged drains
Clogging of pipes or siphons can hardly be prevented. However, it can be very helpful if you work with small sieves. These ensure that large bits of food, too much hair, etc. cannot even get into the drain and clog it. Accordingly, everyone should get such small screens to minimize the chance of clogging a drain.