Plumbers are trained to use a variety of products to clear out blockages and clogging. The use of these products depends on the situation, like the type and severity of the clogging, the pipes themselves, and the item that needs to be unclogged, e.g. a sink, a toilet, or a shower drain. Most of the time, pros opt for tools first and only use chemicals if needed. Common tools used by plumbers include:
Plungers are the most commonly used tool of any professional plumber. It's affordable, easy to wield, and poses a minimal risk of damaging ceramic or porcelain surfaces. They are effective in clearing out clogs in sinks, toilets, and tubs.
Often called a drain snake, augers are made of tightly coiled cables that clear out blockages. They come with convenient handles that make it easy to move it around and are available in both manual and automated versions.
Sewer tapes are a simple and convenient tool, designed with a hook on one end. It is used to remove clogs from inside the drain with the help of the hook.
If these tools don’t fix the problem, the next step is to use chemical cleaners. Common ones include:
Alkaline drain cleaners
These cleaners contain potassium hydroxide and sodium hydroxide as their main ingredients. Potassium hydroxide transforms grease and soap scum into soft soap for easy drain cleaning. Sodium hydroxide, also called lye, is the most corrosive base and can dissolve most proteins, including hair.
Acidic drain cleaners
Acidic cleaners are most commonly formulated with sulfuric acid which is a very destructive acid. They may also contain thioglycolic acid to dissolve hair. These cleaners need to be used with extreme caution as they may cause burns to the skin and eyes and should only be used as a last resort.