Are you or your kids in standing water when you take a shower in the tub/shower combination? Is it taking longer and longer for a sink to drain? It can be aggravating, we know. Over time, soap scum, grease, and hair can build up in your drain pipes, leading to a slow drain or a full-on clogged drain. The good news is, in general, you can take care of the problem yourself. We’ve pulled together tips on how to clear a slow drain. You may need to repeat one or more methods until the water is draining as it should; but with patience, these methods will do the job.

If you’re comfortable doing so, for a bathroom sink with a drain stopper, you can remove the stopper by disconnecting it under the sink. It’s not crucial that you remove the stopper, but it can help you clean the stopper separately. Reconnect the stopper once you have cleared the drain.

How to Clear a Slow Drain with Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar are common household products you can use to clean a lot of things. You can also clear a slow drain with baking soda and vinegar, with the help of hot water. You’ll want to pre-measure the baking soda and put them in the bathroom or kitchen where you will be clearing the drain. Here’s how to clear a slow drain with baking soda and vinegar:

  1. Put a kettle of water on the stove and bring it to boiling. Once it starts whistling, remove it and carefully carry the kettle to whichever drain you are trying to clear. Pour most of the hot water down the drain, being careful not to splash yourself.
  2. Pour ½ cup of baking soda down the drain. If this is a bathroom sink with a stopper, make sure the stopper is as high as it will go, and use a skewer, utensil, or Q-tip® to help push the baking soda down the drain.
  3. Add 1 cup of white vinegar to 1 cup of hot water, and then pour this mixture over the drain, onto the baking soda. The reaction of the vinegar with baking soda will cause bubbling. This reaction will help loosen the sludge that has collected in the drain pipe.
  4. Cover the drain with a plug, or close the stopper. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
  5. During the 10 minutes, bring another kettle of water to boiling. When the 10 minutes are up, pour the boiling water slowly down the drain, again being careful not to splash yourself.
  6. Run the hot water. If it drains as you would like, you’re done. If it’s still slow, repeat the steps, or try one of the methods below.

How to Clear a Slow Drain with Dish Detergent

Did you know you can clear a slow drain with dish detergent? Yep, it’s true. We particularly like Dawn® dish detergent for this, as it’s a great degreaser. You can measure the detergent, but you can also just squeeze it directly into the bathroom sink drain if you’re working around a stopper. So here’s how to clear a slow drain with dish detergent:

  1. Pour or squeeze ½ cup of Dawn® dish detergent down the drain. For a tougher clog, use 1 full cup.
  2. Let the detergent work its way down the drain for 30 minutes. This allows it to coat the drain pipe.
  3. Bring a kettle of water to a boil while during the end of the 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the kettle from the stove and carefully carry it to the room with the drain you are trying to clear. Slowly pour the kettle of water down the drain, being careful not to splash yourself.
  5. Run the hot water to completely flush the drain, and if the water is draining properly, you’re done. It’s still slow, repeat steps 1 through 5.

Why We Don’t Recommend Chemical Drain Cleaners

At Plumbing by Jake, we would never use products like Drano® or Liquid-Plumr® in our own pipes, and we don’t recommend using harsh chemicals in general in your plumbing system. Products like these are designed to eat away at whatever is clogging your pipes or causing a slow drain. The chemical reaction and heat they produce can damage your plastic or even metal pipes in the process.

In addition, these products are dangerous if they splash on your skin or into your eyes, and they’re bad for the environment. Our advice: try the methods above to clear a slow drain, and if you’re still having issues, call a plumber.

Call Plumbing By Jake for Drain Cleaning, Plumbing Repair & More

Call Plumbing By Jake at 928-377-5910 for drain cleaning, plumbing repair and plumbing installation. Need an emergency plumber? No problem. We’re available 24/7 to handle any plumbing emergency. You can also fill out our contact form and we’ll get back to you quickly. We serve both residential and commercial clients in Kingman, Bullhead City, Golden Valley, Lake Havasu,  and surrounding areas of Arizona.