The Importance of Regular Drain Cleaning: Preventing Costly Clogs and Backups

San Rafael

(415) 942-6565

Santa Rosa

(707) 452-3464

A clogged drain can cause an assortment of unwanted issues aside from the mere inconvenience. Sewage backups can occur in the most extreme situations and can cause serious damage to your plumbing system as well as your home and personal items.

In order to avoid the stressful and sometimes costly inconvenience of clogged drains, regular drain cleaning maintenance is vital. There are various ways you can unclog a blocked drain yourself, as well as professional methods you can rely on for expert drain cleaning. But there are also ways you can perform regular maintenance on your drains yourself to ensure that regular clogged drains do not occur. In this article, we will go over maintenance tips you can apply to your home’s drain system in order to keep every drain functioning as best as they can, how you can unclog a drain before the buildup becomes a bigger problem, and the ways professionals in the drain cleaning business can service your drains so that you won’t have to worry about a clogged drain pipe anywhere in your plumbing.

Drain Maintenance Tips

Maintaining your drains is the most important step in preventing major drain and pipe issues. These are a few tips to keep in mind when it comes to your home’s drains and keeping them as free from buildup as possible.

  • Don’t pour grease down the kitchen drain
  • Throw large food items into the garbage or compost rather than down the garbage disposal
  • Any food that does go down the drain should be followed by water to help flush it along
  • Keep as much hair out of shower drains as possible, using a metal strainer over the drain
  • Keep non-decomposing paper products out of the drains
  • Don’t use harsh chemical drain cleaners regularly
  • Routinely flush out the drain system with a baking soda and vinegar solution and water

Following these tips as best you can will help to prevent any major problems with your drain system by keeping it as free of buildup as possible. Hard buildup over time from things like grease, food particles, paper products, and hair can result in massive clogs that can grow worse over time if left unchecked and lead to things like sewer backup.

How to Unclog a Drain

If you are experiencing a clogged drain, you may be hesitant to call a plumber right away. There are ways you can unclog a tub, shower, toilet, or bathroom/kitchen sink drain yourself using tools from around the house. However, it is important to be very careful when performing drain clearing or cleaning yourself, since you do not want to cause damage to your system or pipes. Follow these steps to unclog drains yourself.

Boiling Water

Pouring boiling water down the drain can be a great way to break down clogs and flush them all the way through the drain. Heat 12 cups of boiling water in a pot and carefully pour it down the clogged drain. You may have to repeat this a few times, and it is not a hundred percent certain way to clear a drain, but when you pour boiling water down a blocked drain, the hot water can oftentimes dissolve the clog. You can also try pouring a bit of dish soap down the drain before the hot water to help break down the clog.


You can use a sink plunger for clogs in the bathroom or kitchen sink drain, and a toilet plunger for clogs in the toilet drain. Place the plunger over the sink drain and fill the sink with a bit of water. Push down on the plunger, and then let it rise back up. Repeat this until the drain is clear. For a toilet plunger, let it fill the bell with as much water as you can before plunging the toilet drain, making sure you refill the bell every so often to push the clog through.

Drain Snake

For tougher clogs, snaking the drain may be required in order to break down the clog. Plastic drain snakes are available to buy at most local hardware stores; they are a flexible cable with a pattern of barbs along them that snag on the clog to help pull it out. Slowly push the plumbing snake down the drain, repeatedly pulling it back up and cleaning off the residue. Continue this until the entire snake is able to pass through the drain before running the water to flush out any remaining debris. For toilets, a closet auger is typically used for the same purpose.

Chemical Drain Cleaners

One common method for DIY drain cleaning is using chemical drain cleaners to break down clogs. While drain cleaners can be useful in helping to break down a clog in a bathroom sink or shower drain, using drain cleaners with harsh chemicals is not recommended as a repeated use for drain maintenance. The chemicals can be extremely harmful to your system if used regularly. They are often able to break down clogged drains, but their abrasive nature will also wear down your pipes over time. If you use a chemical drain cleaner, make sure it is used sparingly, and be sure to follow the proper safety measures since handling these materials can be hazardous to you and the space around you. For instance, there could be a brand of drain cleaner that requires cold water and another drain cleaner that works with warm water.

Call a Professional Service

If you have exhausted all of the DIY methods and are still experiencing slow drains, it is likely the problem is a bit bigger and will require larger drain cleaning equipment and mechanical means to unclog. Drain clearing can be done at home to remove a clog, but drain cleaning usually requires a professional plumbing and drain service that uses tools such as rooter machines, hydro jetters, and flex-shaft machines. These methods will not only rid your drain of a clog but also clean the walls of your pipe from built-up grease and hard debris so that another clog does not happen for a while.

Baking Soda and Vinegar Solution for Clogged Drains

Though chemical drain cleaners are not a viable long-term solution for drains, there is a method involving baking soda and vinegar that you can make into a drain cleaner at home. This DIY solution is much safer for your drains than the abrasive chemicals in other drain cleaners. Though this material, such as sulfuric acid, can be useful in breaking down tough clogs from things like toilet paper and other organic matter, there are other less abrasive solutions that will not cause as much damage to plumbing systems. Baking soda and vinegar are natural remedies that can have the same or even better effect on clogs than chemical cleaners have.

Start with pouring a pot of boiling water down the drain, and then follow it with a solution made up of one cup of baking soda, a cup of water, and a half cup of vinegar. Cover the drain with a plug and wait 5 to 10 minutes for the mixture to loosen the clog. Then pour more boiling water down the drain to wash away the loosened organic matter. You might want to wait a few hours before checking to see if the clog is gone.

This method is so useful for stubborn blockages because of the reaction that happens when you combine a cup of baking soda and vinegar. The combination bubbles within the pipe and breaks up the clog into loose material. There is usually no pressure within the drain, but when you pour boiling water down before the baking soda and vinegar, it will add pressure to the pipes, which can help move all of the loose debris along to unclog drains. Things like water, baking soda, and white vinegar are natural remedies that are able to effectively break down clogs in things like sinks and showers, and they will not cause significant damage to your system if used regularly for drain maintenance. However, this is not a method that is guaranteed to clear blockages from your pipes if the buildup from hair, grease, or other debris is severe enough. Your best bet at this point would be to get in touch with professional drain cleaning experts to effectively clear the drain.

Professional Drain Service for any Shower, Toilet, or Kitchen/Bathroom Sink Drain

Professional drain cleaning is the best means possible for making sure your drains are one hundred percent free of clogs and will remain that way for a long time. When you call a company like John Owens Services, one of our trained customer service representatives will send out an experienced drain technician to assess the problem and, oftentimes, resolve your drain issue on the same day! This is because the multiple drain cleaning trucks we use contain high-tech drain cleaning equipment that can be used for any drain job we are sent to.

Hydrojetting is the most popular method of drain cleaning. This requires a cable to be inserted into the drain hole, which will then force water shooting through the pipe, leaving you with clean drains as well as blasting away any cloggage.

Rooter services are vital if you have roots growing in your drain pipes. When roots enter the pipes, that means there are holes in your pipes that the roots have created in order to access the moisture from your drain system. Using rooter machines, John Owens can get rid of the roots in your pipes, and our sewer line repair and replacement services can provide you with brand new, durable pipes that can better function against root invasion.

Flex-shaft sewer machines are another valuable method for deep drain cleaning. Similarly to a hydrojetter, it involves a long coil inserted into the drain. With a flex-shaft machine, however, the coil spins rapidly to break apart clogs in the drain as well as clean the walls of the drain pipe.

Drain snaking is also a method a professional plumber will sometimes use to break apart a tough drain. Allowing an experienced, licensed plumber to do the job can be safer, since improper use of a plumbing snake can result in damage to your drain because of the barbs along the cable.

Regular drain cleaning can save you from the trials of severe and continuous drain problems in the future. Sewage backup can happen in floor drains, laundry drains, sink drains, and more. If you have any kind of drain clog, it should be taken care of right away, either through DIY drain clearing, like the baking soda and vinegar method, or hiring a professional drain cleaning service that will use the above methods to clean drains and unclog tough blockages in toilets, showers, kitchen sinks, etc. The best way to unclog a drain in any kitchen sink or other indoor and outdoor drains is to call John Owens Services. We have almost forty years of experience in the drain and rooter business and can make sure your drain, pipes, and sewer are in the best condition possible so that you don’t have to worry about backups in any sink or drain!

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San Rafael
(415) 942-6565
Santa Rosa
(707) 452-3464



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San Rafael
(415) 942-6565
Santa Rosa
(707) 452-3464