Everyone’s pipes get dirty and clogged, lined with grease and grime, and they become less efficient. You may have thought about pipe cleaning and what you can do to increase the speed of your drains. You have a lot of options: everything from plumber’s helpers to commercial products that chemically flush your drains to at-home, DIY solutions to calling a drain cleaner. Let’s look at each one.

For pipe cleaning, a plumber’s helper may be the oldest trick we have. It works on suction, preventing air from entering the pipe while you exert pressure on whatever is already down there. If you have something stuck—soft waste, a wad of paper towels flushed by accident—a plumber’s helper is usually good enough. Potato peelings run through the sink disposal by mistake? Typically the suction of a plumber’s helper can clear it, and the process can remind you to never try that again!

Next, we have those commercial drain cleaners you can buy at any home store, including the home aisle of most grocery stores. The main ingredient in most of these products is sodium hydroxide (caustic soda or lye) or sulfuric acid.  Put some of that on an old rag and watch how it burns through. That is what it does to the waste matter clogging your drain, which is why it clears the drain. However, put an old spoon or fork in the solution, and you can see what it does to metal as well.  If you don’t want to damage your pipes, you avoid these products.

Your next option is using a home remedy. We have detailed this before, but the idea is to flush the drain with boiling water, then pour down one cup of baking soda, followed by vinegar and a lid to keep the reaction headed down the drain. Baking soda and vinegar don’t damage pipes.

When your drain needs more than this, give us a call.