Having a blocked drain is the worst. It can start with a bit of pooling water, and then progress to foul odors. Finally, your drain wind up being completely blocked, so you can’t wash your hands without adding to the ever rising water level. Don’t panic yet! Here are three things you should keep in mind when this happens.

Liquid Can Take a While
Liquid-Plumr and Drano are two common liquids that can clean your drain. They are specifically formulated to get at grease, proteins, paper, oil and more — all things that may have gone accidentally down the drain at one point and are difficult to get rid of. While it’s tempting to expect an immediate result, it’s best to leave the solution for half an hour before flushing it with hot water.

For Toilets: Dish Detergent
Believe it or not, many solutions for small drain clogs can be found in your home already. If your toilet clogs, dish detergent could potentially help. It works as a lubricant and breaks up residue, while preventing it from sticking. Follow it up by pouring in some hot water and using the plunger. Similarly, baking soda and vinegar solutions can sometimes be used to break up clumps in drains and toilets.

The Problem May be With Your Sewer
Unfortunately, not all drain cleaning can be done with just a bent wire hanger or a chemical soup. Sewer pipes don’t last forever (25% of Angie’s List members reported having had to replace sewers), and obstructions can get in the way and affect how well they work. Luckily, you have options. Professionals can actually use water — specifically, a high-pressure water jet — to blast obstructions and roots out of your sewer line. And although many homeowners haven’t heard of trenchless sewer methods, they’re an option worth exploring since they can save your yard from being torn up in the process. About 73% of homeowners agree they’d pay more for sewer line replacement if it meant saving their yard.

Drain cleaning isn’t fun, but luckily there are a wide range of home and professional options available to you if and when the occasion arises.