My Toilet and Clogged Drains. The Plumbing Basics

All Options For Cleaning My Own Clogged Drains

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If you’re a homeowner, you’ll agree we’re always trying to save a few bucks on home repairs. Unfortunately, some of us pull the trigger on even minor clogged drains and call the plumber right away. Some prefer pulling out every gadget and chemical before they throw in the towel. Fortunately, most of us know our limits when it comes to unclogging a drain. Though the internet can almost answer all our questions on drain cleaning, the problem is much of the information is conflicting. Remember, nothing can take the place of an experienced drain cleaning expert. 

For example, how many of us were told drain cleaners would eat our pipes away? It drives many homeowners crazy trying to keep information straight on whether Drano, Liquid Plumr, or other similar products are safe to pour down those slow-moving drains. Information is always changing, and I’m still searching for the best answers. 

What are my options when it comes to drain cleaning?

  • When do I use a drain cleaner, and on what drains do I use them?
  • Should I rent a plumber’s snake and try to clear the drain myself?
  • What drains are easy for the average homeowner to clear?
  • Can I prevent my slow-moving bathroom drains from returning?
  • Is it best to buy my own plumber’s snake, or should I just rent one?

High-Quality Branded Drain Cleaners Work Well On Small Bathroom Clogs

Let’s address the first question. A high-quality branded drain cleaner is a perfect choice for minor bathroom clogs. Now we know you’re not going to hear many plumbing companies giving props to drain cleaners, but the fact is, they are scientifically tested and have been unclogging minor bathroom drains for over 60 years. Have you ever had someone tell you their Draino ate through their pipes? NO, and you never will. There are excellent eco-friendly cleaners as well. 

The product you’re searching for can seem overwhelming because there are so many options. For example, you can purchase maximum strength, deep cleaning foam, gel removing system, industrial strength, and more. Your choices can be confusing, so check with an attendant, thoroughly read the labels, and always make safety first. NEVER EVER try replacing the expertise of a plumbing expert with a liquid drain cleaner. 

clogged drain remover

Here is the best advice: 

  1. Stick to branded well, known cleansers and never use an off-brand.
  2. Never use drain cleaner on anything more than a minor bathroom clog.
  3. Never put any drain cleaner down your toilet. They are only safe/good on sinks and tubs. 
  4. Clearly follow the directions on the labeling.
  5. Take all safety precautions seriously.

Here’s how I handled my slow-moving drains

First, if the water in your sink or bathtub is slowly draining, try removing all the black gunk, commonly referred to as black slime. The black slime is a living bacteria that feeds off human waste such as skin cells, hair, saliva, phlegm, and other bathroom products. The bathroom products will stick to the stopper, and, over time, hair gets stuck to the stopper, clogging the drain. These slow-moving drains are very common in heavily used bathroom drains, especially in jack and jill bathrooms.

With a little patience, any homeowner can save a few bucks and clear their own slow-moving drains. 

  1. Loosen the pivot nut under the sink
  2. Remove the spring clip from the clevis strap
  3. Then remove the pop-up stopper
Faucet Parts
Courtesy of Delta Faucets

Once this is complete, you’ll have access to the drain and the P-Trap if the obstruction happens to be further down. 

Next Step:

  1. Use a wire with a hook at the end to fish out the obstruction. A coat hanger usually works fine.
  2. Once the obstruction gets removed, clean the drain using an old toothbrush and a household cleaner, then pour a gallon or two of boiling water down the drain. This usually does the trick every time.
  3. Replace the spring clip and the pop-up stopper the same way you removed it.  
black slime

You Can Try This Home Remedy For Regular Maintenance

Pour half of a cup of baking soda drizzled with vinegar down your drain once or twice every 30 days. Let it do its thing for about 15-20 minutes. After that, pour a half-gallon of boiling water into the drain. This will stop the slime from building in your drain and kill any of the bacteria from growing. However, this is not a remedy for clearing a drain, only one for maintaining it. You can also use an eco-friendly drain maintenance product, especially for those bathrooms that get heavily used by teenagers.

Should I Rent A Plumber’s Snake?

How about those deep clogs? Should I rent a plumber’s snake and do it myself? In most cases, if you have to rent a plumber’s snake, then it’s time to call your plumber. There are two great reasons to call your plumbing company; first, most plumbing companies have drain cleaning specials. For example, Big B’s Plumbing will clear any conventional drain for just $99. Second, if you’re renting a snake and it cannot clear the drain, you’re out all that time and money. 

You can consider a small snake for bathroom drains. For instance, all home centers, including Amazon, carry small drain snakes, also referred to as drain augers. They cost less than twenty bucks and are excellent for having around the house for those bathroom drain obstructions. In addition, you can have an advanced version that hooks right up to your drill for around forty dollars.

Plumber’s Snake


  1. Branded drain cleaners such as Liquid Plumber and Draino have been used on minor clogs in the bathroom drains for the last sixty years. They work well on small bathroom clogs but never use the products on a clogged toilet.
  2. Minor monthly maintenance on heavily used drains will prevent future clogs.
  3. If you need to rent a plumber’s snake to clear a drain, you would be better off using Big B’s Plumbing’s $99 drain cleaning service.
  4. Purchasing a small plumber’s snake for your home’s toolbox is wise. 

Are you ready to do it yourself? That’s great! If things don’t go as planned, Big B’s Plumbing is ready to step in and lend the hand you need. We have an emergency plumbing specialist for any service, and we’re on call 24/7. So call today, and you’ll get the service you deserve.

Brandon and Family, Licensed plumbing contractor

Family Owned & Operated

My name is Brandon Mageno. I'm the founder, President, and CEO of Big B's Plumbing Company. As the founder, I never thought about being average or good. My passion for being the best plumbing company in Southern California has always been the same. Providing plumbing services to this great county is simply in my DNA. Nothing makes me happier than to see a satisfied customer. Learn More About Us

2 thoughts on “All Options For Cleaning My Own Clogged Drains”

  1. Thank you for explaining about using baking soda and vinegar. We just had our drains professionally cleaned this morning. I’ll have to try this out to see how it works with keeping the drains cleaned.

  2. Thank you for explaining that you shouldn’t use drain cleaner for major problems. We’ve been wondering if the drain problem we’re experiencing in our kitchen could be addressed with drain cleaner. I’ll be sure to make some calls instead to see if they can help us with resolving this.

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