When your drain clogs or slows down, what do you do? If you reach for a bottle of chemical drain cleaner and pour half down the drain, you're not alone. Plenty of people take this approach, and it does often work to clear the drain. However, chemical drain cleaners are not without their faults. They can be dangerous if they splash back at you, and they can also damage your drain if left to linger in there for too long. As such, you might want to try one of these more natural drain cleaning alternatives instead.
There's a good chance you can clear your drain clog without putting anything down the drain. Plunging is surprisingly effective at freeing and removing clogs. You do, however, have to go about it in the right way. Follow these tips to effectively plunge a blocked sink or tub drain.
- Use a bowl or dish-style plunger and not the kind with a flange on the end. (Those are for toilets.)
- Put enough water in the sink or tub to cover the head of the plunger.
- Keep the plunger straight up and down when plunging.
Be patient when plunging, too. Sometimes it will take a few rounds of pumping to get things moving.
If plunging does not work, you can instead try pouring some hot water down the drain. First, make sure you remove any water that is currently sitting in the drain. You don't want it to dilute the hot water and cool it off. Then, heat a pot of water until it boils. Let it cool off and drop just below the boiling point; this should only take a couple of minutes, at most. Then, pour the hot water down the drain. When grease is causing the clog or making it worse, hot water will melt the grease and get things moving again.
Vinegar and Baking Soda
If hot water does not work, you can instead try vinegar and baking soda. When combined, these ingredients will bubble up and foam away a lot of the grime that clogs a sink or tub. Use about a cup of baking soda, and follow it up with a cup of vinegar. Let the mixture sit and do its thing for at least a half hour before you rinse it away with water.
In many cases, one of these safe drain cleaning methods will do the trick. And they are all safer than chemical drain cleaners. Contact a plumber for more information about clogged drain cleaning.