Plumbing systems clog — all of them. It’s a fact of life. But a clogged tub, sink, or toilet doesn’t have to mean an expensive call to a plumber. In fact, most of you already have everything you need to handle almost any clog you could come across — without disassembling any plumbing. Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Plunge
Think your plunger is for your toilet only? Don’t let’s be ridiculous. If your kitchen or bathroom sink or even your tub is clogged:
This simple trick will clear up 90% of apartment plumbing clogs. The only potential problem is if your bathtub or bathroom sink is curved up too much in the immediate vicinity of the drain, a plunger might not be able to make a seal against the porcelain.
Step 2: Augur
This gets a bit more tricky, but can still be done with household items. If the plunger isn’t moving the clog, grab a wire hanger. Undo the wire hanger and straighten it out. Then take the end with the twisty-twisty bit (not the hook), and bend the last inch or so sharply back toward the main body, forming a barb.
If you break through, poke several more times and try to bust up as much of the clog as you can. If you hook something, gently attempt to pull it back out of the drain. (Be prepared with a bucket or something similar, because the clog will almost certainly be composed of something wet, gross, and probably full of hair.)
Step 3: Fizz
Drano is both expensive and highly toxic — but you have the alternatives in your kitchen already. Just like a middle school science fair, you’ll be playing with baking soda and vinegar! For a drain:
If you’re dealing with a toilet, instead:
Don’t pour Drano after vinegar. It’s not as dangerous as Drano and bleach, which will kill you dead, but it does form some nasty gasses that are not healthy to breathe. This means that you will, sadly, have to call a plumber if none of these work — but done correctly, that should be a vanishingly small part of the time.