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Funky Smell and Standing Water: How to Clear a Clogged Drain


how to clear a clogged drain
Did your shower turn more into a bath . . . but only a bath for your feet? That’s a gross feeling and it can take slow clogged drains hours to clear.

There are some instances where a clogged or backed up drain is indicative of a more intense problem, like damaged pipes, but most of the time the drain is just blocked.

We’ll look at the most common reasons drains get blocked and when/if you should try to fix it at home.

1. Hair

We all shed. If you have long hair or thick hair, you’ll notice it at the bottom of the shower when you wash your hair. That hair doesn’t seem like much (or maybe it does) when you wash your hair.

But given that you probably wash your hair four or more times a week, that hair adds up. You’ll lose more hair around the changes of the seasons and if you’re stressed. Pregnant women lose more hair during and after their pregnancy too.

All that hair gets built up in your drain and wrapped around other small particles, which wouldn’t clog the drain on their own. That could be something like a chunk of soap, a string, or anything else that accidentally got washed down the shower drain.

If you suspect a buildup of hair as the cause of your slow or backed up drain, you can try to DIY the fix. You’ll need a drain snake, which will come with directions for use.

You can use the same drain snake twice, maybe three times, but then it’s time to throw it away.

2. Food Particles or Oil Buildup

If your blocked drain is in the kitchen and the disposal doesn’t seem to be helping, it’s probably a larger block down the line.

You should never put food down your sink, even if it just seems like scraps. The sink is for liquids only, or at least food that is like 90% liquid.

Liquids except for oil and grease, which should never be put down the drain. They solidify and block pipes, just like too much oil and grease will do in your veins.

To dispose of oil and grease, pour it in an old empty can and let it cool. Then throw it away once it’s solidified.

Since your sink has a more complex line (and disposal) than your shower, you can’t DIY this one. Call a plumber to come and help you.

Don’t try to fix the problem with any drain cleaner liquids. They generally do more harm than good.

3. Offset Pipes

Finally, we have a bigger problem at hand, which happens in houses with older plumbing systems. The ground moves underneath your house, though you’d never notice it.

Older pipes can get shifted out of place over time, and pushed upwards. That can change the flow of the drain you’re having issues with and even cause drained fluids to bubble back up.

If you have this issue and you don’t think it’s from any sort of blockage, call a plumber to come to look at your old pipes. If the problems are being called by offset pipes, you’re looking at a partial or full replacement.

Call for a Clogged Drain

Unless you can fix the problem by snaking your shower drain, you should call a plumber for a clogged drain. They can usually fix the issue in 20 minutes or so – so you won’t be paying for multiple hours.

Calling and asking doesn’t hurt – so pick up the phone and dial this number.

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  1. glani kalikutty

    Hey guys I have been having this problem with my sink in the basement. It gets clogged almost on a weekly basis. The p-trap doesn’t look like anything i have seen before.

    A friend of mine recommended this: https://buyhomespirit.com/sani-sticks/ … What are your opinion on this? Has anyone used it? Still wondering if I should purchase this.

  2. Darrien Hansen

    It’s good to know that you can remove hair from your drain with a drain snake. My wife and I have noticed that our drain is starting to get clogged more frequently. Maybe we should hire a plumber with the tools needed to help us.

  3. Michaela Hemsley

    My kitchen sink has been getting clogged pretty often lately and I don’t know what to do. I appreciate that you mentioned that it’s smart to call a plumber to help fix blocked drains. I’ll have to do that so that it can finally get fixed and I can stop worrying about it.


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