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How To Detect And Fix A Clogged Drain?

The clogged drain should be solved before the problem takes a peak. Because with time, it would not only cause the sinks to overflow but also will invite misery.

So how to detect and fix a clogged drain? Bad odor, an overflow of drained water, and the bubbling sound in the drain indicate the drain is clogged. To solve this, you can apply manual, chemical methods, use a plunger, or drain snakes. For further help, consult plumbing services.

Weak clogs can be cleared out easily by home remedies. But tough clogs are difficult to handle. For an instant solution, you can follow the below section. Here the causes, detection, and fixes of drain clogs are discussed. Let’s get started.

Table: The Different Drainage Systems And Fixes

How To Detect And Fix A Clogged Drain

Problems faced in different drainage systems with solutions in order are described below.

Drain problemFixes
Bathroom1. Run hot water through the pipe
2. Use chemicals such as vinegar, salt, and baking soda to remove clogs
3. Otherwise, use a plunger but not immediately after using chemicals
Kitchen sink1. Remove the strainer and clean it
2. Run water through the hole
3. Use chemicals or a drain auger and wash away the debris after cleaning
Shower/ tub1. Pull out the strainer or filter and remove the clogs
2. Run hot water through the drain
3. Apply chemicals in the drain and let it rest and wash it away
4. Alternatively, use a plunger to remove clogs from the shower/tub

Common Reasons For Clogged Drains

how to detect and fix a clogged drain

Clogged drains occur mainly due to the indifferent behavior of people. Not maintaining proper sanitation and not cleaning the build-up immediately is the main reason behind the clog.

However, the common cause which initiates the clogged drains is given below.

1. Kitchen Sink

The clog is generally formed by grease and household trash. In the kitchen sink, oil, and peels of fruits and vegetables while washing can tumble. If it’s not cleaned immediately, the trash gets stuck in the pipe and causes a clog.

Kitchen Sink

2. Shower and Bathroom Drain

The shower and bathroom drain gets clogged when there is too much dirt and hair. Hairs are known to be stubborn and would even get stuck on the strainer sometime.

How To Detect Clogged Drains?

How To Detect Clogged Drains

Clogged drains show certain signs before the problem arises. To highlight, the signs related to the clogged drains which can be helpful to detect the clog are included below.

1. Disrupted Water Flow

Clogged drains can have materials accumulated in different places. This would slow down the water flow. Moreover, sometimes the water might even be stuck in a place for a long time.

2. Bad Odor

This indicates the materials piled up inside the pipe have begun to decompose. The microbes are doing their work to decompose the organic matter and exhibit bad odors.

3. Bubbling Sound

The bubbling sound occurs inside the drain because of the gas formation. As the matter accumulated in the pipe gets decomposed with time, it forms gas. Thus, the formed gas gets trapped inside the drain due to the clogs.

And the trapped gas not just exhibits a bubbling sound but also a gaseous smell. Apart from that, when there are clogs near the air vent, the air would get trapped inside the drain.

This confined air would result in a bubbling sound as it can not get out of place.

4. Water Backs Up

Water flows back when the drain gets clogged. Here, the clogs become an obstacle for the water to flow. As a result, the flow becomes obstructed and the water sometimes flows back.

How To Fix A Clogged Drain?

How To Fix A Clogged Drain

As time passes the dirt gets accumulated and the clogs can become more stubborn. To quickly fix the clogged drain, follow the below methods.

1. Manually Clean

The first attempt should be removing the clogged materials by hand.

  • Step 1: Identify the clog

First, treat the visible clog. Take a flashlight and observe any build-up. If the clog is visible and you can reach it by hand, then you can manually clean the clog.

  • Step 2: Use hand gloves

Put on hand gloves and pull out the clogged materials present in the strainer.

In the case of a shower, you can easily pull out the strainer and clean it. Remember to not put screws nearby as they can go into the pipe and clog the pipe again.

But this manual effort would not work in case of a clogged drain in the bathroom as it is not possible to handle it without any tools.

2. Run Hot Water Through The Drain

Run Hot Water Through The Drain

Well, after cleaning the clog, you should run water through the drain. There is a chance that the clog can occur in several places in the pipe.

In that case, running hot water would melt down the clog. Consequently, the materials would get loosened and the flow of water would clean them. Moreover, the temperature of the hot water should not be close to the boiling temperature.

But the problem can arise if the pipe is made of PVC.

You can only apply hot water to metal pipes. But in the case of PVC pipes, running hot water would lead to damage. The damage would not be much at first. But with time, the pipe will become loose, and at last, it will get torn apart.

3. Use Chemicals To remove clogs

After applying water in the drain, if still the flow does not become clear, use chemicals.

Chemicals would soften the clogs and would put them away. To use the chemicals, you would need a mixture of vinegar and baking soda.

Use Chemicals To remove clogs

Well, it is the common remedy used in the household. Then follow the steps below.

  • Step 1: Pour hot water

Firstly, you should pour hot water through the drain. It will clear out the slightly adhered debris.

  • Step 2: Apply chemicals

Apply half a cup of baking soda. Then wait for 10 minutes, and pour ½ cup of white vinegar. This will cause a chemical reaction between the two substances.

You can also find chemical cleaners in the market which have more advantages than this chemical mixture. That’s because this chemical mixture can slightly have a bad impact on health and the environment.

If you do not have baking soda, use salt and water. As an alternative to clear out the weak clogs, a salt and water mixture can also do a great job. In this case, leave ½ cup of salt overnight in the drain and the next day pour hot water.

You can also use dish liquid and rest it in the drain. Afterward, wash away the liquid with water.

  • Step 3: Allow to rest

After allowing the reaction for 10-15 minutes, run the hot water through the drain. Resting the chemicals would facilitate the dissolving of the materials.

Well, this would certainly unclog the weak clogs. But might not be effective for stubborn clogs.

4. Use Drain Snakes And Plunger

If none of the above solutions work, use the drain snakes and plungers to clear out the trashes. But do not use the below methods immediately after using chemical substances in the drain. You should rather wait for at least 5 days after cleaning the chemicals. And then follow one of the below.

Drain Snakes

Drain snakes are also named drain augers. They are metal cables with a corkscrew spring on top which are used by plumbers to remove the clog.

You can certainly use it to remove the clogs which are at 15-25 feet distance. It is generally used in kitchen sinks where you might need to remove the clog from the pipeline. Now follow the steps below for action.

  • Step 1: Insert the drain auger and extend

First, put the drain snake in the sink and extend it. Extend the cable unless the clogs are found.

  • Step 2: Pull out the clog

After finding the clog, slowly pull out the cable and clean it. Continue this until the drain becomes clear.

  • Step 3: Run water

Afterward, run water through the drain and it would clear out the remaining debris.

Using Plunger

Plunger helps to suction the clog and remove it by gravitational force. It is suitable for all types of drainage. Here is how to use the plunger in step by step.

  • Step 1: Pull out filters

To clear out the clogs in the drain, pull out the strainer or stopper first.

  • Step 2: Put the plunger

Then, put the plunger on the top opening of the sink. Push down the plunger with force and keep on doing it.

  • Step 3: Continue plunging

Continuing the plunge 10-15 times may clear the clog. If it still does not, you better contact the professionals.

For further ideas on treating the drain clogs, try watching the below youtube video.


Let’s go through some of the frequently asked questions by you guys.

Q: Can I pour a soft drink down a drain to unclog it?

Yes, pouring soft drinks can solve the weak clogs. But it is not effective enough for stubborn clogs at all.

Q: Can I use baking soda to unclog the drain?

Baking soda can rather work on the bad odor of the drain. If you want to use baking soda for the unclogged drain, use it along with vinegar. Still, it would rather work on a weak clogged drain.

Q: Can I pour boiling water down the drain?

It is highly prohibited to pour boiling water down the drain. Instead of being effective, it would rather melt the PVC pipes or pipe substances.


Overall, a clogged drain is a headache that should be treated as soon as possible. Otherwise, the clogs can become more extensive and you would not have any other option than to call plumbers.

Now, how to detect and fix a clogged drain? The detection is easier by smell and observing water flow. However, adopting DIY methods is not much effective if the clog has been present in the drain for a long time.