How to Clear a Clog with Drain Cleaner

What You'll Need
Drain cleaner
Safety goggles

A clogged drain can be a serious problem for any household, so having drain cleaner available is a good idea. This common problem can be caused by hair, grease, dirt, and other materials that often end up in your drain and can block it up easily. These things could cause a complete blockage or a slow draining pipe. Here are some steps and techniques you can use to clear a clog in your drain and prevent it from clogging in the future. 

Step 1 - Setting Up

Before you do anything, you will have to select a drain cleaner and make a plan to use it. If you have a septic tank, read the label on the drain cleaners you are considering buying beforehand. Some drain cleaners do not mix well with septic tanks and can damage them.

After purchasing your drain cleaner, open all of the windows in the area you are going to work. Drain cleaner can produce harmful fumes, and it is a bad idea to use them in an enclosed area with no ventilation.

Step 2 - Using Drain Cleaner

  • Put on your safety goggles and gloves before you proceed. Drain cleaner, no matter the type, is formulated to dissolve organic matter, and can cause injury to people.
  • Carefully pour the required amount down your drain. Don't use more than the instructions call for, as you may need to repeat the process.
  • Wait about 20 minutes. You can wait longer if your drain is still clogged.
  • If your drain seems to work properly, run hot water down it continuously. This serves two purposes — it checks to see if the drain is fully unclogged, and it washes away any half-dissolved debris before it hardens again.
  • If the hot water builds up at all, you know that your drain is still clogged or slow. At this point, you have to use the drain cleaner again.

Step 3 - Staying Safe

  • Never mix two different drain cleaners. Doing this can damage your pipes and release very dangerous fumes.
  • While your drain is unclogging, be sure to keep your children and pets out of the area. For this reason, you should be careful not to spill drain cleaner.
  • If you get drain cleaner on yourself, or someone swallows any drain cleaner, get emergency medical help immediately, as it can cause severe internal burns.

Step 4 - Finishing Up

Here's how you can ensure your drain remains clog-free in the future:

  • Once a month, you can pour baking soda and cold water down your drains.
  • Combining this with regular use of your plunger at the first sign of trouble should usually keep your drains clear and free of any clogs.