Conquering the clog: tackling commercial building drain cleaning

When slow drains begin to drive your tenants crazy, they will certainly call on you to come to their aid with the solution.

In past blog stories, I have described the benefits of multiple chemical solutions to drain blockages. But today, I am going to be discussing the alternatives to harsh chemicals that are often given praise for being more effective and environmentally friendly.


Drain snakes are the most common tools used to clear clogs from drains—and for a good reason. Drain snakes are incredibly effective tools, especially in commercial buildings, and maintenance personnel can easily use them.

The types of drain snakes that are commonly used in commercial facilities have a long spring cable, fed by a motor, that is inserted into the pipe. At the end of the cable is a tool or cutter head that will snag and pull out the blockage from the pipe.

Hydro-jetting is an alternative that works by using a high-pressured flow of water to scour the inside surface of pipes. The hose of this machine can withstand high pressured water that is carried through the pipes.

Hydro-jetting machines work by having a hose connected to a tank of water inserted into the clogged pipe, then the hose delivers a high-pressure jet of water into the pipe. It is important to understand the kind of pressure that your pipes can handle before implementing this machine, otherwise it can create dangerous situations.


Routine inspections are an integral part of drain maintenance and cleaning. It does not have to involve a deep clean every time, but more potential issues can be resolved early-on before leading to real problems when inspections are completed regularly.

Routine checks of restroom drains and pipes often include a lime scale remover to eliminate mineral and calcium deposits. Stopping these buildups early allows maintenance workers to keep their pipes clear longer so they’re not breaking out the bigger machines as often.


Facility managers must keep their employees informed of proper use and maintenance of the machinery used on the job to ensure safe practices. When it is determined that powerful drain openers, such as sulfuric acid, should be used to clear a drain instead of a machine, protective gear needs to be worn to avoid harm that could be caused on contact.


At the end of each day, taking 10 minutes to clean and lubricate drain cleaning machinery will drastically increase its overall lifespan. Facility managers need to add the cleaning process into the drain cleaning schedules of their staff in order to see the highest return on the investment of these machines.

Cables should be checked regularly to ensure there is no bending or rusting which could lead to significant problems, including safety risks for maintenance personnel operating the equipment. The tool cutter heads need to be inspected as well to ensure they are in good condition.

Machines with nozzles will also wear over time without proper care. A worn nozzle will begin to lose pressure over time, which lessens the effectiveness of the cleaning process.

Catch major clogs in pipes early before it leads to a larger issue. Right now, after the shelves in virtually every supermarket have been emptied of toilet paper, people have needed urgent reminders that there are many items that cannot be substituted for toilet paper and flushed down the toilet.

It may be a good time to inspect the plumbing systems in your facility. Sending out a reminder to the tenants in your building can help you keep the pipes clear of clogs.  

Clearing drains is a necessity for any kind of business, large or small, even during completely regular circumstances. There is a wide variety of products to get the job done when it is time for the pipes in your facility to be inspected and cleaned. When considering the tool that is right for the job in your building, be sure to factor machine and tool maintenance into your cleaning schedule.

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