Monday, December 30, 2013

How to unclog a drain (best kept secret)

Our house was built in 1966...and with that in mind, we know our plumbing is not the best.
On occasion we get a clogged drain. 
Most of the times we can get the drain unclogged with plunger, baking soda+vinegar, liquid plumber chemicals as a last resort.
On more than one occasion we had to call the plumber to do their magic.
So what's their secret?
Back in March our faithful plumbers came out to fix a few things that needed some attention.
One of them was working on the kitchen sink, and you know that it was a nasty job.
Corroded pipes and clogged up drain. 
A mess for sure.
This older gentleman told me he
only used Dawn dish soap liquid. The blue kind.
***Keep in mind I am no way getting paid to say this, although it would be nice if they did :)***
He said that it is the only one that will cut grease.
Ever seen the pictures of those birds covered in grease after an oil spill?
No detergent other than Dawn would clean the grease and be gentle on their feathers.
So did I buy Dawn detergent after this conversation?
No, I did not.

Fast forward last week.
Our shower in our master bath was clogged up...bad.
No plunger, no baking soda+vinegar, no chemicals would do anything.
The smell was bad, I called the plumber who told me to call some other people who specialize in drain cleaning.
The guy came over with a "snake" and...
you guessed it, 
a giant bottle of Dawn.
I am a visual learner, so I always like to "look over the shoulder" when any kind of professional does their work.
What I noticed is that the snake came back with a very small amount of hair...I believe that was not enough to clog up a shower drain THAT bad.

***keep in mind that our lower level bathroom ties in with the main pipe that comes from the upstairs kitchen, so grease was the culprit of the clog, not hair. If your problem is hair clog, buying a snake would be your first step***

Then he poured some Dawn in the drain and ran hot water.
That was it.
In less than 5 minutes, from the time he walked inside the house to the time he left,
we were clog free.
$105 later to have him do that.
I immediately got on Amazon, 
purchased a snake for $25,
(if your clog is in a bathroom, chances are there will be some hair in the drain
then went to the grocery store and bought this!
$8 for a "refill" bottle (=6 bottles), 
which is concentrate, so you add 2/3 of water to 1/3 of detergent.
And this is what I have been using in my kitchen since then.
The drain cleaner guy never said a word about the Dawn detergent,
but the secret is out.
I have seen it with my own eyes.
Do yourself a favor and use this detergent.
It will save you some extra cash for sure.

For me, lesson learned.

ps. for slow/clogged drains, pour 1/2 cup of dawn in there, then bring water to boil on a stove. When ready, slowly pour the water down the drain. 

***our bathroom is right under our kitchen, meaning that if there is a slow drain/grease situation up there, it will eventually move down to the drain and hit the point where our shower drain connects to the drain pipe.
Usually a slow/clogged bathroom drain is due to hair, but in our case it was a grease problem due to our upstairs kitchen. Hence Dawn to the rescue. For a clogged hair situation, try first a plumber snake***

Stay Frugal,


Something Nice and Pretty said...

I always, always use the blue Dawn but didn't know about it opening clogged drains. My bathroom sink always acts up so I'll be using the
Dawn on it as soon as all Christmas guests leave for their travel home.
Thanks so much!

Unknown said...

I love the blue Dawn and I am a big believer in what this product can do. I have never heard of using it as a "unclogger", but I will be trying it from now on. Thanks for posting this!

Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder said...

Dearest Daniela,
Wow this is a great tip indeed. We have to start using this for de-greasing our sewage ejector pump. That can avoid a lot of trouble for such little money! In any household we have lots of grease build up.
You are clever and so generous for sharing this!

Revi said...

Totally wonderful! I have old plumbing, too. Thanks so much for sharing! I use Dawn, but never considered pouring a whole bottle down the drain to open it up!

Colleen said...

Actually I have been doing this for some years now. I have a bottle of Dawn under my kitchen sink and under each of the bathroom sinks along with a measure cup for each. Always handy if needed.

Sonny G said...

I'll be getting the blue dawn refill at the store tommorrow. thanks bunches for this great tip.

Kelly said...

Glad that you learned their secret! I heard Dawn is great on stains too. I have a recipe for getting stains out that uses Dawn, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. So that stuff seems to be a miracle worker. I use Dawn on my dishes now as a result. It's a great de-greaser. I'm sure that's why it works so well on clogged drains.

Butterfly 8)(8 Bungalow said...

That's good you shared this!

My dad is a plumber, but he doesn't live here, however he taught us how to do a lot!

Unknown said...

This is such good information Dani!! Wishing you a wonderful & blessed New Year friend :)

xo, Tanya

Sew a Fine Seam said...

Never tried dawn but I'll have to remember to try it! i alway use Draino which works most of the time
have a wonderful new year!

andi filante said...

My daughter has more hair than Sasquatch, and my husband was constantly tearing the tub drain apart and pulling out the most disgusting-looking creatures. Now that she's flown the coop, the Dawn solution might be all we need. I have reasonable hair and Phil has, well, not much. Happy New Year!


Unknown said...

This solution has saved me countless times when my sink unexpectedly decided to clog itself. A clogged sink truly hampers one's kitchen functionality, that's why dealing with it the right away is must. However, there are times when simple solutions won't do the job, that is when experts' help comes in handy.

Lovella Cushman

Unknown said...

This is very cool. I have a clogged drain in my bathroom. I will try to use your method to unclog it. If it doesn't work, I will have to call a plumber to fix it for me. I need my bathroom sink to work again.

Cedric said...

Thanks Daniela!! Dawn & a plunger (plus boiling water for good measure) did the trick on our oatmeal-clogged drain when Liquid Plumbr did nothing! You're a life (and money) saver!

Unknown said...

I was so happy to see this again. I guess I never thought about using it on my clogged sink drain, but a few weeks back we were having trouble with our toilet nothing would get that thing I did a little internet surfing & tried everything you could think of when I stumbled upon 'Dawn' a miracle it was! All it took was a good squirt down the toilet & ten minutes later, no plunging and she was free & clear. Thanks again for the share, take care!


Unknown said...

I never would have guessed that dish soap could unclog drains so well! It makes sense, it is able to get rid of the grease on pots and pans, so why would it not clean off the grease in your pipes. Our kitchen sink has gotten clogged before, so I will be sure to keep this in mind. Next time it happens, I will be so prepared!

Unknown said...

Used the Dawn today to try and clear a pesky clog that I kept getting in the pipe leading from my washing machine. IT WORKED!

This was after a day and a half of trying to pour vinegar through a baking soda mixture that I was trying that I had also looked up on google!

A friend of mine who works at Home Depot told me about pouring Dawn Detergent and hot water down the pipes and then snaking. I had tried drain bladders, drain cleaners, and the baking soda mixture -- which I think loosened things up -- but I really think the Dawn is what won the day. Did NOT have to call an expensive plumber! It (Dawn) will be part of my arsenal for the rest of my days!

*Hair Album* said...

I don't know if you are still reading these comments, but thank you so much for 'the reveal'.
Also, this inspires me to be more of a hands on type of gal (opposite what I am now) to save money when we purchase our new home.
I'm keeping this one!!!

Nancy McManus said...

I found this when I googled "Dawn Down the Drain Cleaner." I have a stubbornly sluggish kitchen drain. It's fine when I use my little plunger, but slows down again quickly. Draino type cleaners did NOTHING. So I reasoned, "Dawn cuts grease. There's probably grease down there." Then I poured about 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of Dawn down there at night, and flushed it with whaling hot water in the morning. Bingo!

Now that my son is home from school, he's frying bacon, chicken, etc. often, so I'm doing this every third night or so. Wonderful how well it works. (He dumps the grease in the garbage, but there's always some left when you wash the pan.)

By the way, in this home, using Dawn just to wash dishes wasn't quite enough. It's all I use.

I'm not getting paid for this either, but I would gladly accept their compensation. :)

Unknown said...

Don't think we can buy 'Dawn' in the UK. I wonder if any of our dishwashing liquid will work. Our shower is very slow to run away. We have used the snake and got all the hair out. Thanks for the tip

Diane Bielawa said...

All I can say is o...m...g!! I am so happy I came across this blog! I don't know if it's active anymore because the last comment was two years ago, but I just had to pipe in because I am so ecstatic about this! I have been dealing with a ridiculously slow bathroom sink drain seems like forever now. I don'tknow know why, but I just hate calling for maintenance so I have been grumbling about this for some time. Well, when I came upon this through Google a couple of days ago, I decided what could it hurt, since I already use Dawn in the kitchen, and everything else I've tried on the bathroom sink was a bust?! O...m...g! I started by using an old plastic strap that I cut off of a package I received as a makeshift drain snake, instead of buying one, that I read about somewhere (maybe here!) -i cut a few notches on each side like it said, and I snaked drain for the first ever! Lol! Up came some slushy yuck, but not as much as I expected for how slow the drain was. Did the dippity doo a few times, then I poured about a cup of Dawn into the drain and let it sit for about ten minutes, then slowly poured down some almost boiling water and, Ouila!!! A free running sink drain once again!!! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! So easy. I am so happy! Took all of maybe 20 minutes and my life is now a little better because of it! So, what are you waiting for? Try it! Peace a love all!!