Playing with water beads has always been pretty fun for me, even before Orbeez guns existed. I’d often put those colorful gel beads in glass bowls to use as decoration. However, I made a terrible mistake during my early days of using Orbeez – I poured the leftovers down the drain.
Long story short, I woke up the next morning to find water backing up in my sink. To my dismay, the Orbeez beads had clogged my drain. I had to learn my lesson the hard way, but thankfully, I managed to clear the clogged plumbings with some effort.
I’ve never made the mistake again, but surprisingly, my neighbor had a clogged bathtub outlet a few weeks ago. Guess what? His son was playing with Orbeez and had thrown them down the drain once he was done.
So, I came to the rescue with my old experience! I figured that there might be plenty of others accidentally jamming their drains while trying to get rid of their used Orbeez, so here’s everything you need to know about it.
Can Orbeez Go Down The Drain?
No, Orbeez should never be flushed down the drain. After all, these beads are quite small and should break and dissolve anyway, right? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. While they can physically fit through the conduit, they can cause clogs and plumbing issues. The issue lies in their ability to expand when coming into contact with water.
When Orbeez are flushed down the drain, they absorb water and swell in size, posing a significant risk of blockages in the plumbing system. When left in the conduit, gel balls grow to their maximum size by absorbing water constantly. Even if you poured some dry beads down the outlet, they would still grow large enough to cause a blockage.
These expanded beads can get lodged in the pipes, restricting water flow near the bends and bottlenecks, and potentially causing damage that requires expensive repairs. Although prolonged exposure to water makes the gel balls slowly break apart, they can take several years to biodegrade properly.
The shape and the flexibility of the gel beads allow them to effectively block the flow of water, barely leaving any gap. Small balls that break off don’t help either, filling up any vacant spaces. Being submerged in water all the time, the Orbeez do not shrink back to their original size. This leaves you stuck with a clogged drain.
To prevent these troublesome scenarios, I strongly advise disposing of Orbeez in the trash. Place them in a securely sealed bag or container before tossing them out. Following these instructions for proper Orbeez disposal is crucial for a mess-free experience. By taking these precautions, you can prevent clogs, safeguard your plumbing system, and maintain its smooth operation.
Also Read: Do Gel Blaster Leave A Mess?
Unlocking The Riddle: How To Get Orbeez Out Of Drain?
Now, what if it’s too late, and you’ve already gotten your drain clogged with Orbeez? Don’t worry; you can probably get it unblocked without having to pay a plumber. Try out these solutions – one of them should usually do the trick.
1. Dissolve The Orbeez
One of the easiest and most hassle-free solutions I have found is simply to dissolve the gel balls using a chemical cleaner. In my experience, bleach has been particularly effective at clearing clogs in the plumbing system, but it’s important to handle it carefully. I always make sure to follow all cautions and other instructions on the label carefully to avoid injuries.
Alternatively, I have also tried using a mixture of vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to dissolve Orbeez. When mixing them in an equal ratio, the two create a chemical reaction strong enough to loosen the Orbeez blockage. Regardless of what kind of cleaning agent, the process is pretty simple – you just need to pour it down the drain.
I have also used chemical drain cleaners formulated specifically to unclog blocked discharge lines, such as Drano Max Gel Drain Clog Remover. I find it to be extremely effective, but I always exercise caution while handling these chemical solutions and follow all instructions. Most importantly, you must make sure to keep drain cleaners like Drano out of reach of children and pets at all times.
Also Read: Are Orbeez Toxic To Dogs?
2. Clear The Blockage With A Plunger
A plunger is a handy tool for clearing clogged drains, toilets, and sinks. If you have Orbeez stuck in the pipeline, place the plunger over the conduit and push it up and down to dislodge the squishy balls using air pressure.
The same trick goes for a sink that’s clogged or has water backed up due to Orbeez causing a blockage down the drain. You might have to push and pull with the plunger several times before the line unblocks.
3. Open The Drain Pipes And Remove The Orbeez Manually
If the clog caused by Orbeez isn’t too deep into the drain and you can access it by opening up the pipes, manually removing the gel beads becomes a viable option. To do this, you have to carefully unscrew and remove the plumbing pipes that are blocked by the gel balls. It’s important to remember to turn off the water supply before proceeding with this method.
Removing the Orbeez manually can be quite effective, and it eliminates the concern of any residue remaining in the drain, which can be an issue with chemical cleaners or plungers. However, it’s worth noting that this method only works if the blockage isn’t too far into the pipes and can be accessed in the first place.
4. Use A Wet And Dry Vacuum Cleaner
If you prefer not to clean the Orbeez manually, a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment can come in handy for extracting them. It’s a relatively simple process, similar to using a plunger. You just need to position the mouth of the vacuum cleaner hose over the drain and turn it on.
As long as the Orbeez are within the range of the wet and dry vacuum cleaner’s suction, it can effectively suck them back out, removing the blockage in the process. It’s a convenient option that doesn’t require direct contact with the gel balls.
5. Unclog The Drain With A Wire Hanger
Here’s another simple solution to unclog drains from Orbeez without needing to contact a plumber. Grab a wire hanger and straighten it out, creating a hook at one end. Now, you can use this hooked hanger to poke and maneuver around the clog, helping to unblock it. To do this, insert the hanger into the conduit and carefully move it around, using the hook to grab and remove the Orbeez.
6. Pour Salt Into The Drain
While salt won’t dissolve the Orbeez, it can cause them to shrink down to a size that will allow them to flow down the drain without clogging. This is how I unclogged my sink the time I messed up.
Since the Orbeez balls had already gone too far into the drain, pouring the salt directly on them was impossible. Instead, I poured a high-concentration solution of one part of salt for three parts of water into the conduit. It took a while, but it was eventually unclogged.
I should mention that this method might have worked only because I had a small amount of Orbeez stuck in my drain. It might not be effective at clearing large clogs.
7. Use A Drain Auger
If you have a plumbing snake or drain auger and know how to use it properly, you should be able to clear the blockage of Orbeez without breaking a sweat. Simply insert the auger into the drain and keep pushing it in until you reach the clog.
Considering how soft these gel beads are, it won’t even take a minute to shred through them once you turn on the auger. This method allows you to swiftly and effectively get rid of the blockage without much effort or difficulty.
If you have never used a drain auger before, here, check it out on Amazon: Breezz Drain Auger.
8. Hire A Professional Plumber
If all else fails and none of the do-it-yourself remedies prove successful, it’s always a prudent option to seek the expertise of a professional plumber to get Orbeez out of the drain. While hiring a professional does come with a cost, they possess the necessary experience and specialized tools to handle the job effectively.
Personally, I’m inclined towards trying DIY solutions and would initially attempt to unclog the drain by myself. However, if the Orbeez balls have become deeply lodged, beyond the reach of a plunger or wire hanger, and other methods like dissolution haven’t worked either, I would opt to enlist the help of a professional.
It’s important to recognize that errors such as misusing a drain auger can lead to damage to your plumbing system, incurring higher expenses than simply engaging a plumber to clear the blockage. In such cases, relying on the expertise of a professional can provide peace of mind and save you from potentially costly mishaps.
Also Read: How To Clean Up Orbeez?
As I repeat, it’s never a good idea to pour Orbeez down the drain line. While a few gel balls may not do any harm, too many of them can easily clog the discharge conduit. Dispose of your used gel balls elsewhere, such as in the planter soil or trash bin. Especially if you have a garden or houseplants, burying the gel beads in the soil can help retain moisture for the plants.
You now know what to do in case you end up clogging your drain with Orbeez, too. Usually, simple home remedies like bleach, salt, or a plunger should do the trick. I wouldn’t advise using plumbing tools like a drain snake or opening up the pipes unless you really know what you’re doing. If you don’t feel confident about it, do not hesitate to call a professional.