Sink Clog Removal: 2 Mistakes To Avoid

Most homeowners have to deal with minor home problems on occasion.  A clogged sink is one of these nuisance issues.  A drain cleaning completed by a professional can help to eliminate serious clog issues, but you may try to take care of some smaller clog problems on your own.  If this is the case, then try not to make one of the mistakes listed below.  Otherwise, you may ruin your sink and even hurt yourself in the process as well.

1. Using Drain Cleaning Chemicals

If you are like many other homeowners, then you may reach for a bottle of clog removal fluid to get rid of a drain clog.  Unfortunately, these chemicals can do more harm than good.  A few examples of these materials are:

  • Sulfuric acid - This strong acid is highly corrosive and water soluble, and it can eat through almost any material that is stuck within your drain.  Unfortunately, the acid, which has a pH value below 1, can eat through steel, copper, and PVC as well as the organic material in your sink.  Severe burns are also likely if you spill the material on yourself.
  • Hydrochloric acid - This material is another strong base with a pH value close to one or two.  This acid can be found in your stomach, and it can dissolve organic compounds as easily as sulfuric acid.  The acidic substance is not as strong, but it can still cause eye, lung, nose, and skin distress.  Also, drain damage is likely.
  • Sodium hydroxideSodium hydroxide or lye is a strong basic substance that can dissolve fat and grease that is stuck in your drain.  The chemical can release a strong and corrosive gas though.  This is especially true if it comes into contact with bleach or other cleaners you may have utilized to clean your sink.

Instead of using potentially dangerous chemicals to clean your drain, use vinegar, hot water, dish soap, or a drain snake.

2. Not Protecting Your Face

If you investigate your sink and notice a clog, then you may try to plunge the accumulated mass so if it will loosen.  When you do this, the pressure and stress can force dirty sink water, clog masses, and other debris into your face.  A quick wipe with a towel can wipe the mess away, but there is a potential hazard if the materials get into your nose, mouth, or eyes.

The damp and moist environment of your sink offers a perfect environment for bacteria and other microorganisms.  When the bacteria are also able to feed on organic materials like fat, grease, and food scraps, then there is likely to be a large colony living in your sink.  Salmonella, campylobacter, E-coli, and staphylococcus bacteria are all commonly found within sinks.  A salmonella infection can cause diarrhea, a fever, and abdominal cramps, and campylobacter bacteria can as well.  E-coli bacteria can cause some serious intestinal issues as well, and staphylococcus can cause skin and blood infections.

Protect Yourself Properly

To make sure that you do not get sick when you plunge your sink, make sure to hold your arms out in front of your body as you work.  Keep your head up and back from the sink opening.  Also, make sure to wear rubber gloves so you do not transfer bacteria to your face.  If you want to protect your face more thoroughly, then purchase a pair of plastic or polycarbonate safety goggles.  Ones with top and side shields offer the best eye protection.

A face mask can be worn as well.  Since you will not be breathing in any fumes and you will not be exposed to small airborne particles, a generic dust mask will work fine for this.  You can even tie a handkerchief around your nose and mouth to make sure that food bits and dirty water do not splash on your face.

As a homeowner, you will probably need to deal with at least one clogged sink.  If you want to unclog it yourself, then make sure to avoid the two mistakes in this article.  Click to find out more about drain cleaning and dealing with clogs.


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