How to Repair Slow Running Drains

Updated February 21, 2017

Slow drains can be extremely annoying, especially when you need to wait for what seems like ages before you can drain the sink after washing dishes or even just washing your hands. Or perhaps you find yourself standing ankle deep in water when you're taking a shower, not running a bath. Who needs this? One of the best reasons to treat a slow drain problem right way, though, is that slow drains can easily become clogged ones, at which point they are much harder to treat.

Use a plunger, also known as a plumber's helper, to plunge out your slow drain in case it's just a simple clog that's stopping up the works. If this method does not work, you can go even deeper by using a plumber's snake.

Pour 1 cup of baking soda, 1 cup of salt and 3/4 cup of white vinegar down your slow drain. Follow this up by rinsing the drain with 1 gallon of water

Mix 1/2 of powdered washing powder with 1/2 cup of baking soda and pour it into the drain. Follow this with 1 cup of white vinegar, and let this sit for a few minutes before rinsing.

Measure 1 cup of washing soda into your drain and let it set for 20 minutes. Rinse with 1 gallon of boiling water.

Squirt some dishwashing liquid into your slow drain. Use the kind that contains some type of degreasing agent, and use a lot of it--about 1 cup (or half a bottle) should do it. Rinse it with 1 gallon of very hot water.

Use a commercial drain cleaning product that uses bacteria and enzymes to eat away clogs. These types of cleaners usually need at least 1 day to work, and you'll need to let them sit overnight before you can run any water down that drain or flush the toilet.

Call a plumber if neither manual nor chemical methods work to clear out your drains. The problem may be in the pipes themselves, and it's best to hire a professional to deal with anything that might get complicated.


Slow drains can indicate serious problems with a septic system, should you be on one, so in this case you may need to call a plumber before trying any home remedies.

Things You'll Need

  • Plunger
  • Plumber's snake
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • White vinegar
  • Washing soda
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Commercial drain cleaner
  • Phone number of good plumber
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