How to unblock a drain: a complete guide for landlords

When tenants move out of your rental property, they can leave all sorts of nasty surprises. One of the problems that may not be immediately evident is a blocked drain.

Our guide takes you step by step through the different methods of cleaning drains, including removing stagnant odors, and will help you get your property into tip-top condition again.

General cleaning tips

  1. When cleaning make sure you wear protective clothing, particularly if you’re using a chemical drain unblocker
  2. Ensure that you read and follow the directions on any chemical cleaning products you buy 3.Turn on the extractor fan or open a window to keep the area you’re cleaning well ventilated
  3. When you first use a new cleaning product, it’s best to test it on a small, inconspicuous area beforehand to check that it won’t cause discolouration or damage

Different drain unblocking methods

Depending on your own preference and sensitivities, you may want to use natural drain cleaners over chemical ones, or vice versa. All of the methods should work equally well in different parts of your house, whether you want to unblock a shower, unclog your sink, or clear your bath drain.

Natural drain cleaner

Natural drain cleaners are biodegradable, environmentally friendly and non-corrosive - they’re not going to damage you or your property. However, they tend to be slower-acting than most chemical drain cleaners, and may be less effective.

You can buy enzymatic drain cleaners at the supermarket, or, if you prefer, here’s a natural drain cleaner you can make at home.

How to make and use natural drain cleaner

  1. Pour a large cupful of bicarbonate of soda down the drain that needs clearing
  2. Follow this with half a kettle of boiling water
  3. Wait several minutes
  4. Add another cupful of bicarbonate of soda, followed by a cupful of distilled white vinegar
  5. Immediately plug or cover the drain and wait for the fizzing to subside
  6. When the fizzing has stopped, pour another half kettle full of boiling water down the drain
  7. If the problem persists, repeat the above steps or use an enzymatic drain cleaner

Chemical drain cleaner

Chemical drain cleaners tend to be faster acting than natural ones and may take only one application while natural drain cleaners may require several. However, as they often contain sodium hydroxide or sulfuric acid, they can corrode your pipes and might cause problems in the long run.

When using a chemical drain cleaner, make sure you read and follow the directions carefully to ensure the safety of your property and yourself.

How do you clean your property after tenants move out? Let us know your tips in the comments.

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