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How to Unclog a Drain: A Southern California Plumber Explains

By Your Advisor 10/26/20 1:18 PM Time to read:

Have you noticed water backing up in the sink or shower? Or a bad smell coming from a drain.

If so, chances are you have a clogged drain. Besides those unpleasant problems and smells, clogs can lead to other serious plumbing issues.

Needless to say, you’ll want to fix your clogged drain ASAP.

In this blog, we’ll share:

  1. How to safely unclog the drain yourself
  2. Signs you need a professional to unclog your drain

Let’s start by looking at some DIY ways to unclog your drain. 


If you've exhausted your DIY drain clogging efforts and are still having issues, call Burgeson's. Our licensed and respectful plumbers are ready to help!

Call 909-792-2222 or

Request appointment


How to unclog the drain yourself

We’ll share two safe methods you can try to unclog the drain:

Method #1: Use a plunger


Although plungers are typically used for toilets, you can also use them to clear clogged sinks or shower drains. 

To use a plunger, follow these steps:

Step #1: Make sure there is enough water in your sink or bathtub to cover the bottom of the plunger.

Step #2: Place the cup of the plunger over the clogged drain and start pumping the plunger. Repeat this for a few minutes until the clog clears. If the clog doesn’t clear, try method #2 below. 

Method #2: Baking soda and vinegar solution


If plunging doesn’t work, you can try using a baking soda and vinegar solution to clear the clog.

Here’s what to do:

Step #1: Pour half a box of baking soda into the sink or drain in the bathtub.

Step #2: After you’ve poured baking soda down the drain, pour ½ cup of vinegar into the drain.

Step #3: Wait 30 minutes to let the solution eat away at the clog. 

Step #4: After 30 minutes, pour a few cups of hot water (does not have to be boiling water) down the drain. If the clog is mild, this should clear it.

If you’ve tried the steps above but the clog persists, contact a professional plumber to clear the clog.

What NOT to do


We highly recommend that you avoid using chemical cleaners to clear the clog. Using chemical cleaners can corrode your pipes from the inside, eventually causing leaks. Plus, chemical cleaners can be harmful to you and your pets if they are handled improperly.

We also recommend that you avoid using homemade tools to try and dislodge a clog. Often, crude tools (like a stretched-out hanger) can make the clog worse or even get stuck in the pipe. It’s best to leave manual drain clearing to professionals who have the right tools.

How to prevent future clogs


Below are some ways to prevent clogged drains in the future:

  • Avoid putting the following food items in your kitchen sink:
    • Grease
    • Cooking oil
    • Coffee grounds
    • Bones
    • Fruit pits
    • Eggshells
    • Food fat
    • Raw meat
  • Turn on the garbage disposal and run cold water while you’re grinding up food scraps
  • Use a mesh screen or drain gate in your shower to catch soap and hair
  • Avoid brushing your hair over the bathroom sink

Signs you need a professional to unclog your drain

If you’ve tried the DIY steps above and the clog persists, or multiple drains are clogged, it’s time to call a professional for help.

Having multiple clogged drains is a sign your main sewer line is clogged.  If your clog is deep in the plumbing system, a professional plumber can use a drain snake to clear the clog and then use a sewer camera to make sure the clog is gone for good..

Need a professional to unclog your drain?

Call 909-792-2222 or

Request appointment

At Burgeson’s, our certified plumbers can handle even the most complicated drain clogs. When you hire us to clear your clog, you can rest assured your clog will be cleared correctly—the first time. Learn more about the other drain and sewer services we offer by visiting our plumbing service page.