How to clear a blocked drain

Water turning into a pool in your sink? Driving you mad? It sounds like you might have a blocked drain. There’s every chance you’ll need to call a plumber. But, in the mean time, you can have a go at clearing it yourself, with this simple procedure.

What to do

Before getting started, assemble your equipment. You’ll need a kettle (or some other appliance for boiling water), bicarbonate soda, salt, cream of tartar, a glass, a jar or jug, some water and a strainer that fits your sink.

First of all, place the strainer over the sink. Next, boil the kettle. After that, grab a jar or jug and, in it, combine the following: four tablespoons of bicarbonate soda, four tablespoons of salt and one tablespoon of cream of tartar. Once this mixture is well-blended, tip it down the drain. And straight after it, pour a litre of boiling water, directly from the kettle.

The next step is to place a glass over the sink hole. You should notice some serious bubbling go on. Let it happen for a minute, then pour another slug of boiling water down the sink. Your drain should now be in good working order again. If it’s not, run through the whole process one more time.

Still not working? Bad luck! It’s time to move onto the next step.

When should you call a plumber?

If the process doesn’t work, it could mean there’s something more seriously wrong with your blocked drain. You could grab a spanner and have a look at it. But, do keep in mind that this is probably a job best left to an expert. What’s more, some procedures are actually illegal to undertake if you’re not a registered plumber. So, seek advice before proceeding. Not sure who to call? Try a reliable, trustworthy plumber.

How can you avoid drain blockages?

The single easiest way to avoid a blocked drain is to be vigilant about what you send down your plug hole. Drains are for water – not oil, coffee grounds, tea leaves, packaging or vegetable bits and pieces. Try to keep a strainer across your plug hole at all times, so that water can get through, but debris can’t. It’s also a good idea to wash your drain often. From time to time when you use the sink, pour boiling hot water through the plug hole afterwards and occasionally toss a fistful of baking soda down it first.