Have you ever used anything unconventional to unclog a drain?

Apparently over the last month my roommate has been pouring grease and such down the drain instead of disposing of it properly. I learned this today trying to figure out why the sink is draining so slowly. I really don’t want to go the store and buy any drano right this second so I was wondering if there is anything less conventional that might be of help in declogging my drain. In my posession I have:

-half a bottle of vodka
-half a bottle of rum
-a weak bleach solution cleanser
-laundry detergent
-nail polish remover

I’m sure I have other things too, but those are the ones that come to mind immediately. Will any of these things reduce the built up grease in my drain? Any other suggestions of how to get rid of it?

Please, don’t. All those will do is make the job of the plumber who will eventually have to snake the drain more dangerous.

I’ve used a coat hanger… does that count?

Would a coat hanger work for this kind of thing? I could totally be down for that. I just work 12 hour days and the super is only available from like 10-11:30 in the morning and would like to avoid having to take time off work to fix this.

Is it a sink drain? Can you take it apart at the U? Do you have a pipe wrench? If not, try a coat hanger or a toilet plunger.

Don’t waste your booze!

The P trap under the sink exists to do two things - keep sewer gas from coming up your drain, and to “trap” grease. If you can use a pipe wrench or pair of parrot-nose pliers, you can take apart the trap and clean it out. Put a pan underneath the trap, because it will contain water. Oh, and you can also use the pipe wrench to brain your roommate.

By the way, there are non-caustic enzyme drain treatments that you can use to help keep your drains from clogging. My brother has already headed to bed, so I can’t check on the brand he recommends.

Four hours and counting, right, pbbth?

Boiling water helps sometimes (and is unlikely to do any harm, unlike pouring random stuff down the sink).

She is leaving in 2 and a half hours. I am really confused right now. I hate living with her but I don’t have a new roommate and I really don’t like living by myself. I am fucking scared out of my mind that now is when my cat is going to get really sick and rack up a huge vet bill or I am going to lose my job or whatever. I lived by myself before and I know I will survive but I thrive on the company of others and a household works so much better with more than one person in it. Without her here it is going to be so much harder to have someone here to wait for a plumber or feed the cats if I have to stay late at work. Granted, all the horrible shit that has gone on this year will be over and done as well so I am happy about that, but I just wish I didn’t have to be alone. I keep thinking about how much I will miss having someone here to joke with and watch The Simpsons with and help me with things I can’t do on my own, but then I go look at the giant pile of trash she is leaving for me to deal with after she is gone and the kitchen sink that is full of grease and gunk and I have trouble reconciling the desire to beg her not to go and the desire to punch her in the face.

I pour gallons of hot water down the sinks when I do hot water bath canning. It most certainly helps out drainage afterwards. The key here is I have gallons of hot recently boiling water I get rid of at once. Don’t try carrying gallons of hot water. Use a pan to carry 3 to 4 quarts at a time to the sink.

How do sinks get clogged? I’ve never experienced a clogged sink.

When I was doing maintenance the worst sink clog I ever dealt with was one that had a foot or two of solid grease in the pipes.

The best thing I found to deal with any clog (grease or otherwise) is to physically remove whatever it is. Coat hangers and needle-nose pliers for hair clogs. For that grease clog I had to clean up I took apart the pipes under the sink and just removed the grease. It’ll be gross but perfectly fine, unless the grease has also accumulated past where the pipes go into the wall.

For most things a pair of pliers (or two) are my best friend.

For grease, the best thing you can do is physically scrape it out, (Ick!) either by taking the pipes apart or using a “snake” with a scraper blade on the end instead of the usual coily tip.

If that’s beyond your abilities or desires, the next best thing is copious volumes of hot water to soften it and flush it along. Boiling water is great, but running the hot water until you’ve drained the water heater will also work.


The common drain cleaners sold at the grocery store are lye, or some other caustic agent. Mixing grease with lye will fill your pipes with the hardest soap you have ever seen, and it will then be easier to replace the pipes than to try chipping out the soap.

I used my hand and biy was I sorry! I pulled out the most thicky scabby clump of hair. I was almost sick and couldnt eat for a day. I thought it would only be a little bit of hair that was blocking the drain. What I picked out was enough hair to make 50 amy winehouse wigs!


This kind of information is one of the reasons I post here. I would have been at the store today buying drano if I hadn’t thought to ask here first!

A few more drain-taming ideas:

Baking soda followed by vinegar or lemon juice will fizz vigorously and loosen scunge.

My mother swears by salt followed by boiling water.

I can second that, having seen the results of tenants trying to clear a grease filled clog with Drano.

There’s a product called washing soda that is very akaline (14 point). It clears drains better than lye and doesn’t make soap. Get it in the laundry aisle, put a cup down the drain followed by lots of boiling water.

I’m pretty sure the blockage will magically disappear if you drink the vodka and/or the rum. After all, the world only exists in our minds, right?

This works for many other problems, too.


I found some really long and thing tweezers in my wife’s sewing supplies. They have a slite turn at the end. I have no idea what their original intent was, but its awesome at picking hair out of the bathtub/bathroom sink drain.

Wash them off and put them back before she kills you.

For hair clogs, there’s a gizmo called **Zip-It ** that works fabulously well. It’s a roughly two foot long plastic strip with barbs along the edges and costs about three bucks. It’s"da bomb" for bathroom sink drains as it can slide in even if the stopper is the kind that’s attached to the pop-up lever and won’t come out.

Just poke it in, zig it in and out a few times and prepare to be thoroughly grossed out at the clots of hair that come out.