Best Ways to Unclog a Drain

A Young Woman Using Plunger In Clogged Kitchen Sink

Clogged drain got you feeling down? Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to resolve the clog yourself. At HEB Plumbing & Sprinkler, our experts know the ins and outs of a clogged drain, and following these tips may help save you from investing in a clog repair. Here are our best practices to beat the clog!

Wire Hanger

Wire hangers make great DIY plumber’s snakes. Straighten it out before you try to insert it into the drain and push through the clog, then retract the wire hanger. It should slowly begin digging out the clog.

When doing this technique, you might notice your sink is taking on a foul smell. To keep this smell at bay, pour equal parts (half cups) vinegar and baking soda regularly throughout the process. Allow the baking soda and vinegar to sit in the sink for a few minutes before chasing it with hot water. If you do not have vinegar, lemon juice is a good substitute.

Clean Out the Stopper

If you are working with a sink drain, pull out the stopper before you do anything else. Often, a clog isn’t causing the problem, but rather the hair, gunk, and debris stuck to the stopper are preventing the water from flowing down the drain. Clean off the stopper and then test your sink to see if water will run freely down the drain. If not, continue on to our other techniques.

Boiling Water

Boiling water has a great way of literally burning through and breaking down clogs. To use this approach, simply boil a pot or kettle of water. As the water is boiling, try to remove as much of the original standing water as possible. Pour the hot water into the sink, and the boiling water will slowly begin to eat away at the clog. As the water cools down, you may notice it going down the drain. This means it’s working. It may take repeating this process one or two times to completely remove the clog.

Use a Plunger

Did you know that toilets aren’t the only ones with a plunger? Sink’s have them too! These nifty little tools are specifically designed to fit over the mouth of your drain. The push and pull of the plunger can cause that clog to move just enough to loosen the clog and allow the water to do the rest!

Run Your Disposal to Ensure It Isn’t the Problem

When cleaning dishes, we don’t realize how much we are piling on our disposal. Make sure you run it frequently while cleaning the dishes to avoid clogging. If the disposal runs and then the water passes through, you are good to go. If not, inspect with a flashlight to see if any larger items like food are blocking your disposal from working properly. If the disposal is clogged, use a fork to fish some of the gunk out. (NEVER place your hand inside the drain near the garbage disposal.) If the disposal is showing signs of overheating, you may need to flip the switch found on the bottom or side of the sink.

Shop Vacuum

A wet/dry vacuum with good suction may be strong enough to remove the clog (e.g., hair) and other smaller debris clogging your sink. However, never try to use a conventional vacuum cleaner for this purpose. The water poses a risk of electrocution or harm to your vacuum.

A Drain Snake

This tool can be found at any hardware store. A flexible metal drain snake has a special spiral at the end which works to clear away a clog. It is one of the most effective tools on the market and can reach further than the wire hanger can.


Drano is a very helpful liquid drain-clearing product that effectively breaks up clogs. These products are widely available and affordable, making them great for every homeowner.

Dishwashing Soap

If you’re dealing with a stubborn sink drain, it may be because the grease has built up over time. Pour a generous amount of dish soap down the drain, then wash it with hot water. The soap will break down the grease and allow the water to pass.

Have a Clog That Refuses to Leave?

Have a clog that just won’t leave? It may be time to call in backup. Your trusted plumbers at HEB Plumbing & Sprinkler are more than happy to help you beat the clog and allow your water flow! Contact our team today for more information on our plumbing services and remember, if you see the Plumbing Lady, Kathryn Smith, then you know it’s the real HEB.