5 Easy Fixes When Drano Isn’t Working

When your drain backs up, turning to Drano is common as it breaks up residue and offers quick results after treatment. However, what is a person to do when a Drano treatment isn’t working? Do you need to call in a professional? Professionals can cost a pretty hefty sum sometimes, so it’s helpful to know what your options are before making the call.

If you find a Drano treatment isn’t adequately working, there are a few easy fixes you can try. For starters, it’s possible you just didn’t use enough of the product and you can try a second treatment. Before using more Drano, it’s important to make sure you haven’t done multiple treatments over the last few weeks. Using too much product can lead to pipe damage.

In this article, we’ll explain exactly what happens when Drano sits in your pipes and what to do when you find Drano isn’t working. We’ll also leave you with an alternative treatment option to try.

What Happens When Drano Sits?

It’s natural for Drano to sit for a short amount of time as it melts through any organic matter stuck in your drain. With that said, it’s important not to leave the product sitting overnight because it can crack through porcelain and can even melt your drain pipes. This typically happens to pipes made from plastic or metal.

Drano is a mixture of various compounds that work to build enough heat to dissolve organic matter. Although it’s safe for use in pipes, allowing it to sit for too long, especially in older pipes, can cause damage to the piping system.

Does Drano expire? Find out and read our “Does Drano Expire” article here!

Avoid Mixing Other Drain Cleaners With Drano

Mixing other drain cleaners with Drano is a recipe for disaster and can do an immense amount of damage to the inner workings of your home. Although drain cleaners serve the same overall purpose, the way they do their job varies. Some cleaners are bases, while others are acidic. When two drain cleaners with opposing composition mix, it generates an intense amount of heat.

The heat generated will then melt through far more than the soap scum and hair lodged in your pipes.

What to Do if Drano Isn’t Working?

If you use a little more product and find that the Drano still isn’t working, there’s no need to give up hope quite yet. There are still a few more at-home remedies you can try before dialing a professional. In fact, sometimes all you need is a little boiling water and a plunger to get the job done right.

1. Add Boiling Water After Drano Treatment

boil water in kettle for drano

While Drano works to dissolve the residue stuck in your pipes, it’s not always 100% effective at getting rid of it. For that reason, using boiling water is helpful. When the hot water makes contact with the leftover residue in your pipes, it works to soften the clog more. The softening process then makes it easier to clean out your pipes.

With that said, it’s not recommended to use this trick with plastic pipes. Unlike metal, plastic pipes are more likely to melt when in contact with bubbling hot water. You should also wait 5-15 minutes after the treatment sets in before you flush out the pipes with hot water.

2. Use a Plunger

Luigi's Sink and Drain Plunger for Bathrooms, Kitchens, Sinks, Baths and Showers. Small and Powerful, Commercial Style 'Plumbers Plunger' with Large Bellows

Plungers work by creating push force to dislodge something that’s stuck. If you find that Drano isn’t working for your drains, consider using a well-fitted plunger to try and get any leftover residue loose and moving.

With that said, if you’re trying to plunge out a sink, it’s important to make sure the overflow hole is sealed. If the overflow hole is exposed, the plunger won’t work and you’ll be stuck with a clogged drain.

3. Remove and Unclog the P-Trap

Remove and Unclog the P Trap

When it comes to unclogging a sink drain, you may need to disassemble your sink’s P-trap to unclog your sink pipes. It’s important to do this correctly to avoid any further issues with your pipes due to incorrect reassembly. To properly remove and unclog your sink’s P-trap, follow these steps:

  1. Set up a bucket. To avoid water damage to your cabinets, make sure you place a bucket directly underneath the P-trap area.
  2. Remove the trap. Use a pair of pliers to disconnect the coupling nuts that keep the trap attached to the sink and wall fitting.
  3. Clean the trap’s interior. Do this with a wire coat hanger or a large nylon bottle brush. Clean everything thoroughly.
  4. Inspect the area. Make sure nothing is lodged between the pipe and a washer in order to avoid any leaks.
  5. Replace the trap. Reattach each piece and tighten securely.

If you notice the trap is clean and there’s nothing in there that could block water flow, you’ll need to snake the line.

4. Snake the Line

6+1 Drain Clog Remover Tool, Sink Snake Cleaner Drain Auger Sewer toilet dredge, for Drain Hair Remover Tool For Sewer, Toilet, Kitchen Sink, Bathroom Tub (Drain augers 39 in)

Snaking a drain line sounds like it could be complicated, however, it’s anything but. You can find drain snakes at just about any hardware or home store for incredibly cheap, but here is a great snake tool deal on Amazon, the entire snaking process takes a half-hour or less.

To snake your drain, make sure you remove any P-traps (for a sink) and your access drain. Then, you’ll extend the cable of the drain snake into your access point. You should continue to feed the cable through your pipes until you hit an obstruction.

Once you’ve hit an obstruction, you lock the corkscrew end in place and turn a handle a few times to dislodge the obstruction. After you’re confident you have a hold on the obstruction, you can retract the cable and clean off the end. Continue doing this until you feel you’ve adequately found and removed each obstruction.

5. Call a Plumber

When worst comes to worst, you may need to call in a professional. As much as you may not want to hire the job out, it may make the difference between a never-ending fight with your drain and getting the job done in one go.

Additionally, plumbers are professionals who know exactly what to look for when it comes to issues with drain pipes. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere between $100-$275 for a plumber to come and snake your drains. However, some companies may charge up to $500 depending on the service needed.

Alternative to Drano?

If you don’t want to mess with the potential dangers of Drano, there’s a more “eco-friendly” option you can try out: baking soda and vinegar! To do this, make sure you remove all standing water from the area before starting the process.

Once all standing water is out of the way, pour in equal parts of baking soda and vinegar into your drain. Generally, it’s recommended to use one cup of each to avoid adding too much to your drain. Allow the mixture to set in your drain for 20-30 minutes and then run warm water down the drain.

Final Thoughts

Pouring Drano down your drain only to find that it hasn’t worked can be incredibly frustrating. Instead of jumping on the phone right away to call a plumber, consider using any of the methods we’ve listed above. You may find that they bring you success.

With that said, it’s important to know when to give in. Sometimes a professional is needed for a job and that’s okay.