If you are left dealing with a tough drain clog early in the morning or after regular business hours, it might not be feasible to call your favorite plumber or run to the hardware store for supplies. Fortunately, you might be able to clear that plumbing fixture with a few things that you already own. Here are a few household items that you can use to unclog your drains.

1: Tea Kettle

Believe it or not, you can use that shiny red teakettle for more than helping you to prepare your nightly cup of cocoa. Over time, substances like grease, conditioner, and soap residue can build on the inside of your drains, which can cause clogs.  Commercially available chemical drain cleaners work by combining sodium hydroxide and aluminum shavings, which react to create heat, boil standing water, and melt away grime.  

However, you can achieve the same result by using your teakettle to flood those pipes with boiling water. To remove greasy clogs easily, heat water in a teakettle until it boils. Working carefully, pour the hot water down your drains and simply wait for the heat to work on the clog. After the clog has cleared, run some additional water down the drain to thoroughly clean the area. 

2: Plunger

Although you might think that your clog is a solid, impossible-to-remove mass cemented to the inside of your pipes, some clogs just need a little encouragement to move into the main drainage lines and clear the area. If you have a toilet plunger sitting around, you might be able to push those clogs out of your drains in a few minutes.

Plungers work by pushing air into your toilet, but the same concept holds true when they are used for other plumbing fixtures. Here is a step-by-step guide for plunging your sink or bathtub.

Step 1: Fill the shower or sink basin with a few inches of additional water. This water will help the plunger to create a better seal around the drain entrance, and allow you see when air is escaping the plunger cup.

Step 2: Use a small piece of duct tape to seal off drain vent holes to keep air from escaping.

Step 3: Push the plunger carefully into the water to cover the drain entrance. Make sure to move the plunger straight down so that you don't allow the air trapped in the cup to escape.

Step 4: Working carefully but quickly, sharply work the plunger back and forth to move air into the drain.

If your clog wasn't firmly set, it might move into main drain lines, where it can be whisked away into the sewer system.

3: Shop Vacuum

Unfortunately, some clogs contain tiny objects that are difficult to push through those pipes. Bobby pins, small children's toys, and dropped razor cartridges are just a few of the things that can become lodged in drains, collect hair and other debris, and lead to massive clogs.

Fortunately, you might be able to suck those objects right out of your drain entrances by using that shop vacuum sitting around your garage. Most shop vacuums are designed to collect both wet and dry objects, so you won't have to worry about getting electrocuted while you work. However, before you get started, take a few minutes to check the labeling on your vacuum to make sure that your device is safe to use around water.

To remove clogs using your shop vacuum, fit the hose with the round wand attachment that probably came with your system.  Remove any sink stoppers to expose the open end of your drain. Place the wand directly over your drain entrance, and try to create as tight of a seal as possible. Use the vacuum to suck debris out of the drain until you stop hearing things fly into the collection chamber.

In addition to removing loads of debris, your shop vacuum will also remove standing water blocking your view of your drain. After you have cleared the clog, you can look inside of your vacuum chamber to see what was causing the problem so that you can avoid similar issues in the future.  

Being resourceful with the things that you already own might help you to avoid bothering your plumber in the middle of the night, or dealing with frustrating clogs over the weekend. For more tips, check out plumbers' sites like http://www.bodes.biz.

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