5 Tips for the DIY Drain Pipe Cleaner

Perhaps you’re the type of person who takes it as a challenge when told that you cannot fix something yourself. Do you have more tools in your garage than the local hardware store? Maybe you’re the go-to for friends or neighbors when they’re in need of repairs.

If any of the above resonates with you, there’s a good chance you’re a “DIYer”. You grow excited at the possibility of something breaking. Expanding the back part of your house into a third garage is something you could do in your sleep.

Believe it or not, hiring an expert plumber may be a better route than buying liquid cleaner at your local store (or creating your own concoction at home). If you are strongly against doing that, then continue reading because presented below are the top 5 Tips for the DIY Drain Pipe Cleaner.

Preventing Clogs

Let’s first discuss a few preventative measures you can take:

  • Install mesh “catchers” at all sinks and bathtubs to catch objects from going down the drain (also great for catching long hairs which clog drains regularly).
  • Clean out your drains monthly.
  • Ensure a professional (who knows what to look for) puts their eyes on your pipes occasionally.

Basic Tools

Also, before we begin the 5 tips let’s start by covering a few basic tools you will need to tackle “de-clogging” tasks.

  • A Plunger (the most basic and go-to tool for any plumber) Cost: $5 to $10
  • Plumber’s Snake (long steel cable wound into a spool used for snaking into pipes to knock out clogs) Cost: $30
  • Channellocks (Tongue-and-Groove Pliers – used for grabbing, pulling, holding, tightening, etc…) Cost: $15 for 10-in and $25 for 12-in (one of each size recommended)
  • Hacksaw (for cutting things) Cost: $20
  • Pipe Wrench (used for tightening/loosening pipes) Cost: $15 for 10-in and $25 for 14-in (one of each size recommended)
  • Metal File (for smoothing out burrs and edges of pipes) Cost: $10
  • Copper Tubing Cutter (if you need to make repairs on copper tubing) Cost: $20

Ok maybe a few of the above tools are a little advanced, but if you are serious about taking on a “de-clogging” without calling a plumber, you may want to come prepared.

Lastly, although it’s not a “tool”, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to buy some Plumber’s Putty and PVC Cement (may come in handy with repairs).

The Top 5 DIY Tips

Now that we’ve covered a few of the basics, let’s dive into our tips.

1.  Avoid OTC Drain Cleaners

Although they are relatively low cost and effective (for the most part) these simple products can be dangerous to those using them and the environment. Most liquid drain pipe cleaners use acids to clean out your plumbing, and this is dangerous for the person pouring it and can play havoc on your pipes.

It would be better to create your own cleaning products (there are lots of articles online, but it’s recommended to stay away from the baking soda and vinegar mixture as well).

2.  Don’t be Afraid to Improvise

It goes without saying (especially to a crowd of DIYers), but you may need to create your own tools while on the job. A great example of this is improvising with a wire hanger if you don’t have a Plumber’s Snake nearby.

Straighten out the hanger with the top hook intact and use this to fish out any clogs in your drains. Always be sure to pull clogs out instead of pushing them further.

3.  Hot Water

A lot of plumbing companies will use jet blasters to push out clogged material in your pipes. Using hot water is one step under this (minus the immense amount of pressure), but it can be effective in kitchen sinks. Many people tend to forget about the “no grease down the sink” rule.

Pouring hot water down the sink can remedy this problem without the use of hazardous liquid drain pipe cleaners.

4.  Clean Out Your Trap (the U-shaped pipe under the sink)

Under your sink, you will find a U-shaped pipe that is intended to “trap” things before shucking them downline. Although it is great when catching things, you accidentally drop it can be nasty if uncleaned.

Using your plumber’s wrench (preferably both) loosen the nuts on both end and let down the pipe. We recommend that you keep a bucket underneath to prevent more cleaning afterward. Clean out the trap thoroughly and replace.

5) Exercise as Many Prevention Methods as Possible

Though it has been mentioned already, this tip is that important! If you implement as many prevention methods as possible, you will remove your need for unexpected drain pipe cleaners.

Keep Your Local Plumber on Speed Dial

This article may be a DIY article, but it’s not always a bad idea to bring in a professional occasionally to look over your plumbing and ensure everything works well. Many plumbers use cameras and can search into your pipes to catch cracking or broken pipes that you would otherwise miss. This simple procedure could be worth hiring the plumber if it prevents further damage.

Installing nets on your drains, not pouring grease down the drain, and routine cleanings are just a few of many other simple things you can do to ensure optimal functioning of your plumbing.

Wrapping Up

With all the tools and advice presented here, you have more than enough information to go forth and clean any clog that comes your way. Always remember to be safe while making repairs and if it gets too crazy don’t be afraid to call a plumber.

Most businesses can come out that same day (based on when you call) and assist with your plumbing problems. Unless you plan on buying a Plumber’s Snake camera, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to call them right now!