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What Is Drain Cleaning (And How Do Drain Cleaners Work)

Clogged drains are one of the biggest household problems we have to deal with at some point in our lives. If you’re new to drain cleaning or have never had to fix a clogged drain before, then here’s everything you need to know about dealing with that problem once and for all. Let’s get started!

What is drain cleaning

What is drain cleaning?

Most of us would rather think about anything other than our drains. But the fact is that we have to think about them because we often neglect them until they clog and cause a mess.

So, what is drain cleaning? It clears stubborn clogs in sinks, bathtubs, showers, or any other drain using high-pressure water.

There are two main ways to do this: chemical drain cleaners (typically caustic chemicals such as sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide) and mechanical drain cleaners (hand-held augers) (1).


What is meant by drain cleaning?

using a natural drain cleaner

Drain cleaning is the process of removing obstructions from a drain or pipe. This can be done manually or with the help of a machine. If a clog does not go away, it may have to be removed by hand.

Depending on the severity of the clog, you may only need liquid cleaners or something more substantial like hydrochloric acid. The latter should only be used by trained professionals handling this chemical!


What do drain cleaners do?

There are many causes of clogged drains, but the most common culprits are food particles, hair, grease, and soap. When these items find their way into a drain, they can form a layer over the opening, preventing water from flowing.

This creates an environment for bacteria to grow, which will eventually cause the drain to become blocked entirely with sludge and debris. To fix this problem, this is where drain cleaners come in.

Related: Low Hot Water Pressure: 5 Causes and What To Do


Chemical drain cleaners, natural drain cleaners, or air burst drain cleaners?

There are many different types of drain cleaners on the market. Some work better than others. Here are the most popular types of drain cleaners and how they work.

strong chemical drain cleaner


Chemical drain cleaners

This drain cleaner is made from chemicals that create acidic reactions to organic debris, such as grease or soap scum. The reaction helps break down the build-up in the pipe so it can be flushed away easily without any extra effort on your part. The only downside to this type is that it can take up to six hours before it starts working, but once it does, it’s effective.

A chemical drain cleaner can come in solid and liquid forms. Between the two, the liquid drain cleaner is widely used.


Air Burst Drain Cleaners

This type uses accelerated gas, which creates a force on standing water and dislodges clogs. Professional drain cleaning service providers widely use this.


Natural Drain Cleaners

As the name suggests, a natural drain cleaner is a product meant to unclog drains. It is made from all-natural ingredients.

The most popular natural drain cleaners are water, baking soda, and liquid soap. All you need to do is pour in a mixture of hot water and baking soda, wait 15 minutes, then pour in boiling water. If that doesn’t work, try pouring a mixture of vinegar and baking soda down the drain. If these methods don’t work, call an expert plumber who will have more specialized tools at their disposal.

Related: Force of Nature Cleaner Review


How does a liquid drain cleaner work?

Drain cleaners break down dirt and gunk to dislodge it from the pipe. They are available in liquid and powder form and work by creating a slurry that can be poured down the drain. The slurry will then create suction as it moves through the pipe, which will help pull debris up.


How does a local plumber clean a drain?

local plumber or drain cleaner

A local plumber uses a camera, snake, and drain augers to clean a drain. First, he inserts the camera into the drain pipe to locate the clog. Next, he sends the snake through the pipe into the obstruction.

The drain auger is then attached to break up and remove any obstructions inside pipes. When that’s done, the debris can be flushed away with water.

In some cases, depending on the blockage or damage to a pipe, a plumber might have to do something more involved, like replace parts of a broken or leaking pipe. It takes time for these repairs, so be sure to call your local drain cleaning company as soon as possible if there is an issue!

Related: The Most Popular Types of Kitchen Sinks


How much does it cost to clean a drain?

Since there are a lot of different factors that can affect the price, it’s hard to give a definite answer. The drain cleaning cost can vary drastically depending on the job’s complexity and how much work needs to be done. Generally, residential drain cleaning jobs range from $50 to $350, while commercial jobs start at $150 and can go upwards of $1,000.


How to use a drain cleaner

It is worth noting that these products come in different types. When drain cleaning, you can use chemical drain cleaners that are made of drain cleaning chemicals. These drain cleaners can also come in powder or liquid form. Between the two, the liquid drain cleaner is easier to use. Just pour it into the clogged drain, and let it do its job.

Alternatively, you can use augers, which require you to exert effort to remove clogs (2).


Do drain cleaners actually work?

Yes, liquid drain cleaners work. But the results vary depending on what is causing the clog.


How long do drain cleaners take to work?

how do drain cleaners work

The efficiency of drain cleaners depends on the cause of the clog. Most of the time, a drain cleaner works right away. Sometimes, you may have to repeatedly use it or try different options until the clogged particles are removed.

For example, you can use a powdered chemical drain cleaner with liquid drain cleaners if you are dealing with stubborn clogs. Tools like snakes and augers can also be used if you are getting rid of hair strands and other solid materials.

When dealing with tree roots, the best option is to call professional plumbers!


Do drain cleaners dissolve hair?

Hair takes time to decompose. But a natural drain cleaner can still remove hair strands blocking the drains.

Drain snakes and an auger are the best tools to remove hair from a drain. A wire coat hanger bent into a different shape may also work. A plunger, on the other hand, won’t work.

Boiling water, salt, vinegar, and baking soda may also do the trick. Pour boiling water, half a cup of baking soda, and a cup of vinegar into the drain, and let the products sit for at least an hour. Then pour more boiling water down the drain to rinse.

Related: How to Clean a Bathtub with Bleach


When to call a professional drain cleaning service?

If you’ve noticed that your plumbing system or drains are clogged, it’s time for some drain cleaning work. And to do the job, it’s time to call a professional plumber.

Hiring a professional can save you money in the long run, as they can inspect pipes and catch any potential problems. Professional drain cleaners use hydro jetting equipment, chemicals, or high-powered water jets to clear the clogs.

When done, they should dry up any standing water, remove any debris left behind, and ensure all fixtures are in working order. For their work to be guaranteed, most professionals will offer warranties on their work.

When should you call a professional for drain cleaning

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