Everything Drain Cleaning | What is it, How it Works, & When You Need it Smiley Drain Cleaning

Clogged drains are a common problem in plumbing. In some cases, you can solve the problem yourself with DIY tools and techniques. If your drain is blocked more severely, a licensed plumber can help you clean it. Here are some important facts about drain cleaning, including how they work and when you need to clean your drains.

Drain Snaking

Snaking is a method that removes stubborn clogs that won’t respond to plunging. It uses a long, thin cable, which is inserted into the drain to hook the clog or to break it up using a pointed attachment at one end. You can either use a snake to remove clogs by hand or use a motor drain cleaning machine depending on how long and wide your drain is and what type you have.

Your plumber can also recommend professional pipe repair if your plumbing is damaged due to a clog or the invasion of tree roots into your sewer line.

Drain Auger

Both handheld drain snakes and machine augers can be described as flexible cables that work similarly. The drum can hold anywhere from a few feet up to 100+ feet of cables depending on how large the device is. To pierce or grab the blockage, you simply insert the line into your drain.

These tools can go in different directions depending on the size of the drain they are designed to clear. Drain snakes can be used to clear smaller drains like a bathroom or kitchen sink. Drain augers can be used to access larger pipes such as your toilet and shower drain. The snake can be used for lines between 1 1/4″ and 2″. An auger may also be used for lines between 1 1/2″ and 3″. The tool that is needed will be determined by your plumber.

Hydro Jetting: What is it?

Hydro jetting is another method of cleaning pipes. This uses a specialized pipe that pushes high-pressure water through your home’s plumbing system. A plumber will first insert a camera into the pipes to check for damage. This is done before the hydro jetting process. A plumber then inserts the hose in your drain through a cleanout. The hose is connected to a pressurized tank of water.

After the water has been turned on, the hose will move through the drain and clean the inside of your pipe. The hose’s nozzle shoots powerful water jets in multiple directions at once. The debris is washed down the plumbing system by gravity, so it can eventually be flushed out. It removes all clogs from your pipes and makes them look brand new. Hydro jetting can remove years of mineral scale deposits and grease as well as tree roots and other build-ups.

What is the Difference Between Hydro Jetting and Cabling?

Cabling will only break down or remove a blockage. Hydro jetting can blast clogs apart, and remove stubborn buildup that’s shrinking pipes’ diameter. For occasional blockages, cabling is the best choice. The best way to prevent future blockages is with hydro jetting. Hydro jetting is not like cabling and must be done by a professional plumber.

How to Tell if Your Home Needs Drain Cleaning

You will usually see one or more of these warning signs if your drains need to be cleaned.

  • Slow-draining sinks. When you start to see that water takes forever to go down the drain or that your sink gurgles as water drains, there may be a blockage in your pipes.
  • Frequent toilet overflows. Sewer line problems may cause frequent toilet overflows and clogs. To resolve the problem, it is best to contact a professional plumber.
  • Water backs up. This can lead to water damage and unsanitary conditions.
  • Bad smell. If a foul odor is coming from your sink or drains, there may be something blocking a drain, most likely grease or food particles if coming from the kitchen.

Different types of chemical drain cleaners

Many chemical drain cleaners can be used in different situations. A caustic or oxidizing cleaner is sufficient for a small blockage, while an acidic cleaner may be required for larger blockages.

Everything Drain Cleaning | What is it, How it Works, & When You Need it Smiley Drain Cleaning


Caustic drain cleaners include ingredients like lye, which give electrons to the material that causes the clog. This chemical reaction produces heat, making grease easier to dissolve and thinner.

These are especially useful for drains that have become clogged by greases, such as grease traps or kitchen sinks.


Although oxidizing drain cleaners look similar to caustic ones there is one important difference. They do not give electrons but instead take electrons out of organic matter through a process called “oxidation”.

These liquid drain cleaners are popular because they contain nitrates and bleach. They combine with water to create heat and dissolve the clogged material. They are good for organic matter and can be used in shower drains, toilets or bathroom sinks to remove hair and other debris that could cause a blockage.


Acidic drain cleaners, which are the harshest type, are rarely used. These cleaners contain hydrochloric or sulphuric acid. They create hydronium ions by chemically reacting with the clogged material.

This cleaner should not be used in the direst situations. These cleaners can cause damage to your plumbing and your health.

Problems with Chemical Drain Cleaners

Chemical drain cleaners can cause damage to your plumbing system because they generate heat through chemical reactions. Modern pipes are made from PVC plastic, which can melt or warp with excessive heat.

Even if your pipes don’t contain PVC, metal pipes can bulge due to too much heat. Metal pipes can crack or burst from heat and pressure over time.

Everything Drain Cleaning | What is it, How it Works, & When You Need it Smiley Drain Cleaning
damage caused by chemical drain cleaners

Chemical drain cleaners should not be used if your plumbing system has a septic tank. Although septic tanks are made up of bacteria that break down organic material, harsh chemicals can make them ineffective.

Chemical drain cleaners can cause damage to your plumbing and be dangerous to your health. You can inhale a lot of chemical fumes from them when you use them. If the space in which you are working is poorly ventilated, such as your bathroom, these harsh chemical fumes can make things worse. Your respiratory system can be damaged if you inhale the chemicals for prolonged periods of time or in large quantities.

Brain damage can be caused by repeated exposure to harmful chemicals over time.

The chemicals in drain cleaners may cause respiratory problems and damage your skin and eyes. Most of them should react with organic matter so they shouldn’t have any problem interacting with your organs.

If used incorrectly, they can cause blindness or chemical burns. When handling chemicals, it is essential to use gloves. To protect your eyes from severe damage, it is a good idea for you to use eye protection or a mask.

Smiley Drain offers Professional Drain Cleaning

Everything Drain Cleaning | What is it, How it Works, & When You Need it Smiley Drain Cleaning
Smiley Drain Residential and Commercial Drain Service

For a home that is healthy, comfortable, and efficient, it is essential to have clean, efficient drains. Our experienced plumbers can provide professional drain cleaning services at a quick rate and appointments on time. This will allow you to continue with your day without interruption.

Clogs are not something that can be fixed by themselves. Don’t delay in calling a professional if you suspect that your drains are blocked. Smiley Drain will evaluate your problem and offer you the best solutions. Call us or schedule an appointment online!

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