Clogged Drain? Here's How To Fix It (and How Not To)

3 Ways To Fix a Blocked Drain - A Comparison

When it comes to plumbing issues, few are as annoying and frustrating as a clogged drain. In some cases, it can end up being much more than just a nuisance, potentially causing leaks, water damage, or hazardous exposure to wastewater. And unfortunately, drain clogs are also one of the most common plumbing issues homeowners face.

That’s why both plumbers and hardware stores offer a range of different options for curing a blocked drain - but it’s not always clear which one to choose. So this article will lay out everything homeowners need to know about the three most widely-used methods for clearing drain blockages - and why one of them can end up making matters worse.

Drain Snake

A drain snake (also known as a drain auger or plumber’s snake) is a flexible cable made from coiled metal wire, with a wider “corkscrew” section at the end. The cable is fed down into the drainpipe, either by hand or with an electric motor. As it travels down the pipe, the cable rotates, allowing the corkscrew to drill through obstructions, capture hair or other debris, and scrape grease or other residues off the pipe walls.

Drain snakes come in various lengths and types (some can even reach down into the sewer line) and are a valuable tool for any homeowner to have on hand in case of a simple clog. However, if used incorrectly, a drain snake can damage the plumbing, become tangled, or even get stuck - especially the heavier-duty motorized versions. For deeper or more stubborn clogs, it’s best to be on the safe side and let a professional handle the drain snaking.


A hydro-jetter is a machine that professional plumbers commonly use for fixing clogged drain lines and preventative drain cleaning. The machine provides highly pressurized water to a long hose fed into the home’s drainage line via an access port called a cleanout. The hose nozzle shoots a powerful stream forward to break apart obstructions and several smaller streams backward to help propel the hose and wash away grime and debris.

Hydro-jetting is arguably the most effective and comprehensive method for curing drain clogs. Not only does it easily destroy blockages, but it also removes the everyday buildup that can cause future clogs, all the way from the drain to the main sewer line. Hydro-jetters are industrial-grade equipment, however - to avoid damaging the home’s plumbing system (not to mention spending a fortune to rent or buy one), they should only be used by a trained professional.

Liquid/Chemical Drain Cleaner

Store-bought chemical drain cleaners are marketed as a quick and easy fix for drain clogs. But while they can provide temporary relief in some cases, they have some serious downsides that homeowners shouldn’t ignore. These products contain harsh substances that produce a chemical reaction inside the drain to heat and dissolve the blockage.

The trouble is, this chemical reaction can also eat away at the pipes and fixtures and release harmful fumes into the air. Even worse, any contact with the chemicals themselves can cause severe burns. And if they fail to clear the blockage (which is often the case), homeowners may be left with a dangerous mess in their tub or sink.

In general, it’s best to avoid using liquid drain cleaners. But for a quick short-term fix, a safer and more environmentally friendly alternative is to pour equal parts baking soda and white vinegar in the drain, wait 15 minutes, then pour boiling water in after it.

About Miracle Plumbing Inc.
Miracle Plumbing Inc. is a BBB A+ rated local business with a passion for unbeatable service and community involvement. They offer up-front pricing, financing, and a rewarding membership plan. Their courteous experts are available 24/7, so call today for drain cleaning in San Jose, CA!

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