Whether you’ve been living in the same house for many years or are a first-time homeowner, it’s not an exaggeration to say that a clogged sewer line can be one of the most unpleasant experiences you can have. Aside from the unsanitary nature of having sewage seep back into your home, failure to respond to the first signs of congestion can severely damage your home and its value. Hearing the pipes rattle and noticing poor or slow drainage should be a warning sign of a drainage problem.   

Fortunately, there are several ways to respond when the time comes to decongest your drainage line. While calling a professional plumber will always be the best option for projects like these, you can take measures to act on this issue preemptively.  

In most cases, they can be enough to address the blockage. Additionally, they can also make regular maintenance a breeze, saving you from spending money on a large-scale plumbing project.  

Continue reading to learn some tried and tested methods when it’s time to clean out your mainline pipes and everything else in between.

1. Apply A Baking Soda And Vinegar Solution

If the drainage clog doesn’t seem too egregious yet, a simple and budget-friendly solution can go a long way. Before committing resources to tools and professional help, applying a solution made of items readily available in your household can be enough to address benign clogs. 

Combining one part vinegar to one part baking soda will constitute this mixture. Afterward, you can then pour it into pipe entrances around your home along with boiling water. The best places to apply the solution include:

  • Kitchen sinks
  • Bathtubs
  • Shower drains
  • Bathroom sinks
  • Garage floor drains
  • Toilets      

It’s important to remember that caution must always be exercised whenever chemicals are involved. The mixture will bubble and react the moment they contact each other. Furthermore, fumes will also be produced from the chemical reaction. Only mix them within the immediate vicinity of the pipe entrances. Finally, protective equipment like gloves, masks, and glasses should be worn when opting for this method.  

2. Use Chemical Drain Cleaners

Commercial chemical drain cleaners can provide some well-needed punch whenever a clogged pipe at home occurs. Unlike other types of cleaners, chemical drain cleaners are specifically designed to clear out a pipe from the mouth of the drain, all the way into your septic tank or sewer line. 

Their acidic nature is excellent at removing sludge and other materials that prove to be resilient to weaker cleaning mixtures. The strength of the chemicals doesn’t weaken as it travels deeper into your drainage system. Additionally, using these chemicals can address one cause of were line clogging that could arguably be the most difficult one to deal with—tree roots. 

Should your mainline pipes be located in an area with many trees, especially large ones, chances are their roots may burrow their way into them as they search for moisture. They inevitably cause the most damage by creating holes in your pipes and becoming a living blockage as well.

That being said, extreme caution must be exercised when employing these powerful chemicals. Not only are they hazardous should they come into contact with any part of your body, but they could also end up damaging the pipes themselves in the long run. 

Strict adherence to product guidelines must be observed when using these products. This will help avoid damage to your property and minimize the chances of burns and other accidents occurring during the cleanup. Finally, proper storage away from pets, children, and heat should also be considered after employing its use. 

3. Try Out A Drain Snake

When chemicals fail to move along particles or debris clogging your sewer line, it may be time to employ proper plumbing tools. But while a plunger can be used to move the blockage out, a drain snake may provide better results overall.

A drain snake is a long and flexible auger used to dislodge or even pull out build-up inside your pipes. Its length makes turning corners and reaching deep into your pipeline a smooth process. Additionally, its design allows effective cleanup for even first-time users.

Simply insert the drain snake into the pipe opening and keep going until you reach the area where the blockage occurs or when the augur meets resistance. After which, it becomes a simple matter of rotating the handle to break the blockage down or pull it out.

It’s important to note that sludge and other materials inside the pipe may end up getting expelled from the opening you placed the drain snake into. Aside from the extremely unpleasant odor it will give off, and it will also bring plenty of germs back along with it. 

Always be prepared for this possibility by wearing protective equipment while cleaning. Furthermore, areas of the body that come into contact with materials from the pipe must be washed and disinfected immediately.

4. Call A Professional Plumber

When all else fails to free your pipes from the scourge of blockage, it may be time to let an expert in your home address the issue. While it may seem daunting at first, spending the money on professional work will most likely end up saving you money in the long run.

The best example for this case is pipeline inspection and maintenance. While it’s great to have the clog removed, professional plumbers may spot signs of possible pipe degradation and suggest replacing the pipe entirely. This is especially relevant to homes made over 30 years ago, where rust and damage are more likely to have occurred. 

Addressing issues like these ahead of time keeps your family safe from possible dangers while saving you the hassle of a flooded and malodorous home. Additionally, upkeep like this is typically guaranteed to improve your home’s value.  

While trying a DIY in mainline pipe cleaning is commendable, it’s also essential to know when a task is best handled by a professional—calling a professional plumber to unclog your sewer line is never a bad investment.


For as long as civilization has indoor plumbing, so too has pipe clogging been present. It’s reassuring to know that several methods of dealing with this are readily available to the modern homeowner. Furthermore, dealing with this is a task you won’t have to answer alone. The plethora of professionals around can help ease your mind should a DIY project prove a bit too difficult.