Unclogging the sink

Nobody tells you just how much of adulthood revolves around plumbing. Is there some sort of plumbers’ lobby that has conspired to keep us all in the dark? Honestly, Plumbing 101 ought to be a required high school course, or maybe one of those 8th grade electives. The course would include such topics as how to plunge a toilet and unclog the drain in a sink or shower, the difference between a septic system and the city sewer, and what not to put down the garbage disposal. Without this knowledge, you buy your first house, and shortly thereafter, the shower drain stops up, leaving you standing in three inches of water with shampoo in your eyes and no clue how to fix it.

In case this has ever happened to you, I’ll share the few tricks I have learned (from You Tube, the guy at my local hardware store and Heloise) for remedying that slow drain.

Here’s the handy little tool that the hardware store man recommended:

It’s cheap and it works, assuming your drain is just clogged with hair, soap scum, and other mysterious gunk. Oh, and it’s green! No need to pour Drano or other harsh chemicals down the drain.

So here’s what you do. Get some paper towels or rags, a bottle of white vinegar, a box of baking soda, and put the kettle on to boil. If you have rubber gloves, this is a good time to wear them. Slide the Zip-It down the drain as far as you can (don’t let go of the little handle, of course) and jiggle it around. Slowly pull it out and wipe the nasty hairballs and black stuff on the paper towels. Repeat from every angle, until you aren’t pulling anything out of the drain anymore. Shudder dramatically, wad up the disgusting paper towels and throw them away.

Next, shake some baking soda down the drain (maybe 1/2 cup) and chase it with a cup of white vinegar. Finally, pour the kettle of boiling water down the drain. Chances are, your drain will be clear at this point and you will feel like a home improvement hero.

If not, I guess you’d better call a real plumber.


3 responses

  1. This is hilarious…I was just trying to figure out the difference between septic system and city sewer yesterday (we just sold our house)! Thanks for the laugh and the great tips…even though the thought of pulling hairballs out of my drain gives me the willies, I will keep the Zip-It in mind for that occasion 🙂

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