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Urinals in male bathrooms

Knowing how to unclog a urinal is essential knowledge for a commercial property owner. Since urinals are common fixtures of both male and unisex restrooms, a clogged urinal is inevitable. Though it is not a pleasant experience, a malfunctioning urinal in a commercial property needs to be addressed as soon as possible. The blockage and ensuing mess from a clogged urinal not only smells, but also reflects poorly on your company or property. 

Fixing a clogged urinal is not too difficult once you take the appropriate steps, though it depends on how severe the blockage is.  

Common Causes of Clogged Urinals

Before understanding how to unclog a urinal, the source of the clog must be examined. If there is not an obvious blockage, most urinals become clogged due to high concentrations of uric acids, uric salt crystals, and calcium. These minerals come from urine or from the water used in the urinal.

After long usage, uric acids and sediments can build up in the urinals p-trap, causing a blockage. This can be relatively easier to fix. If mineral buildup is not the cause, urinals can become clogged by debris such as paper or cigarette butts as well. 

How to Clean Calcium Buildup in Urinals

If the source of your clogged urinals is calcium or uric acid buildup, it’s a relatively easy process to clear the blockage. Traditional cleaning methods, such as detergents and soaps, are useless against uric and minerals. The best options for removing mineral buildup are urinal cleaner products, which are enzyme-based and are designed to both break down the uric crystals and remove the smell. A urinal drain cleaner also removes rust and lime deposits, further cleaning your urinals. However, some urinal cleaner products can be toxic and damaging to your property, health, and the environment. You want to be careful when choosing a urinal drain cleaner or use safer, alternative methods. 

To clean calcium buildups in urinals from hard water, a urinal descaler is necessary. You can make an all-natural urinal descaler by mixing vinegar, lemon, and a small amount of water together into a solution. Either let a rag soak in this mixture overnight until it is saturated and then use it to scrub the urinal, or pour vinegar into the affected urinal and let it sit for a few hours. After a few hours, it should soften the calcium deposits enough that they can be scrubbed off.  

How To Unclog A Urinal With a Plunger

If the cause of a clogged urinal looks to be a simple blockage, a plunger may be the best option. If the urinal has a cake or a plastic insert over the drain, remove it and any other debris that should not be in the urinal. Screw off the drain cover and remove it from the drain hole.

Afterward, place a plunger over the drain. After pumping the plunger several times, you should be able to hear the drain pipe making some noise. Test to see if you’ve successfully fixed the clogged urinal by flushing. If the water goes all the way down, you have fixed your urinal!

However, some urinals are blocked by debris that cannot be cleared by a plunger. In these circumstances, using tools such as a urinal auger may be necessary. 

How to Unclog a Urinal Without a Plunger

Sometimes, a clogged or slow draining urinal is the result of debris, such as hair and other thick materials, that cannot be fixed with a plunger. In this case, a urinal auger will be needed to snake the drain to break blockages up. This tool is outfitted with a drum and strong cable that fits through a drain to break apart the obstruction. The snake’s coils at the end catch any hair or debris to prevent them from dislodging and then blocking the drain further down.

How to Snake a Urinal

You can either have snaking professionally done or on your own with a store-bought urinal auger. Pull out the coil sticking out the bottom of the drum and hold the handle of the urinal auger with your non-dominant hand. Start with a few feet of coil and insert the end into the drain. 

Next, insert the cable into the drain opening and turn the handle. Crank the handle to start feeding the coil down the pipe. The snake’s coils will travel further down the pipes as you crank the handle until it encounters debris. If you feel the blockage, keep cranking the handle so the snake punctures through.

Stop cranking the handle after you’ve reached the last few feet of your urinal auger. Start slowly turning the handle in the opposite direction to bring the coil back towards you. Once the coil comes back, remove any debris from the top of the cable. 

If the urinal auger brought any debris back up with it, it’s likely that it did not gather all of it. Repeat the process several times to be sure to completely remove the hair and other thick material. Additionally, your snake may not have brought up anything depending on the blockage. This does not mean there is no blockage, however. A serious obstruction will need professional help.

How to Unclog a Urinal With Professional Help

If you are certain that the clogged urinal can’t be solved on your own with the plumbing tools you already own, calling a professional plumber should be your next priority. Clogged urinals are not something you want to just sit around at your commercial property. At Express Sewer and Drain, we offer an extensive range of plumbing services, including unclogging urinals. Our experienced specialist can handle all commercial building plumbing matters, all at an affordable price. Contact us today to get a quick quote!

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Topics: Commercial Plumbing, DIY