“Clearing” and “cleaning” can be synonyms in some cases, but in the world of plumbing, these terms refer to two very different processes designed to meet differing needs.
Drain clearing is considered more of a “quick fix” for clogged pipes. During clearing, the plumber breaks up the clog with a rodding machine. Rodding machines consist of a heavy-duty cable and cutting blade attachments and are motor-powered. The blades are designed to spin and break up clogs when the motor is turned on. While normal flow can typically resume once the clog is broken up (cleared, not cleaned), remnants of past clogs are left behind, which makes it more likely that you’ll experience another clog.
Drain cleaning uses a machine called a hydro jetter which runs highly pressurized water through your pipes. Clogs and/or grease buildup is removed (cleaned) from the walls of your pipes. Drain cleaning solves existing problems and helps prevent future buildup, which will save you money in the long run.