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Residential Drain Cleaning Methods

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Homeowners depend on their drain pipes to transport water waste to the local water treatment center or their personal septic system. When a drain experiences a clog, homeowners need residential drain cleaning services. Depending on the severity and location of the clog, plumbers use multiple different drain cleaning methods. Learn more about professional residential drain cleaning methods.

Enzymatic Drain Cleaners

Enzymatic drain cleaners use all-natural enzymes and bacteria to eat at organic material causing a blockage in your drain. Enzymatic drain cleaners work best as part of residential drain maintenance before a stubborn clog develops. Furthermore, enzymatic drain cleaners only dissolve organic material, such as food waste and human waste. They won't dissolve synthetic materials.

Chemical Drain Cleaners

Chemical drain cleaners use harsh chemicals to dissolve a drain clog. 

Some of the common chemicals used in chemical drain cleaners include:

  • Hydrochloric acid
  • Lye
  • Sodium hypochlorite
  • Sodium nitrate
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Trichlorobenzene
  • Trichloroethane

While effective, plumbers know to use chemical drain cleaners sparingly. The chemicals can corrode metal pipes. Furthermore, toxic chemicals found in the cleaner can irritate the skin or respiratory system. If the chemicals come into contact with other chemicals, such as ammonia, the reaction can even become deadly.   

Manual Drain Snake

A manual drain snake contains a narrow wire with a hook or point at the end. It is inexpensive and easy to use. Plumbers feed the snake into a drain and turn the crank to dissolve a local clog. Most manual snakes aren't strong enough or long enough for deep sewer line clogs.

Powered Drain Auger

For deep clogs, plumbers may use a powered drain auger. A powered drain auger has a cable that feeds into your drain. Most cables are quite long, allowing them to reach deep into your plumbing system. Instead of cranking the machine manually, power rotates the head at high speeds for optimal results. 

While powerful and effective, a powered auger may cause damage if not used properly. 


For the most extreme cases, plumbers will force water through your drain at high-pressure levels through a process known as hydrojetting. The water will clean everything in your drains. However, the high pressure can put too much strain on old pipes. 

Whether you have a simple drain clog that only impacts a single fixture or a deep sewer line clog that affects every drain in your house, there is a solution to your drain clog. Contact your local plumber to learn more.