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Natural Ways to Unclog Drains without Chemicals

No one likes to deal with a clogged drain, but plumbing backups are a normal part of life no matter where you live. There are some common causes of clogs, depending on which type of drain you’re dealing with. For example, bathroom sinks and bathtubs often get clogged with hair and dirt. Toilets get clogged with feminine hygiene products, cotton swabs, and dental floss. And kitchen sinks are frequently clogged with grease and food particles that shouldn’t be down there.

When a drain clogs, many people are quick to reach for the nearest bottle of chemical drain cleaner. Liquid drain cleaner products are easy to find and inexpensive, but they can actually do damage to your pipes over time. The harsh chemicals they contain can also cause damage to your skin if it comes in contact with the cleaner, and inhaling those chemical fumes can harm your respiratory system.

As an alternative, try these natural ways to unclog your drains instead!

Photo credit: Adrian Black via Flickr

Manual Power Options

Oftentimes, a clogged drain can be solved without any cleaning products at all. Plungers aren’t just for toilets, and they work great on clogged sinks too. Cover the drain opening with your plunger, pump it up and down, and remove it periodically to see if water starts flowing down it better.

You can also use a straightened wire coat hanger with a small curve at one end to retrieve hair from a clogged drain. This is a great option for clogs near the surface of bathroom sinks and tubs. You can also purchase a drain snake that has a coil or auger at the end to achieve the same effect.

Baking Soda & Vinegar Natural Drain Cleaner

One of the most tried-and-true home remedies to unclog drains involves using plain vinegar and baking soda. These are ingredients in many natural cleaning recipes and should be staples in every home. For drains, they are great for loosening up grime and sludge.

Start with pouring a pot of boiling water down your clogged drain. Then pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda in your drain, and let that sit for a couple minutes. Finally, make a mixture of a cup of vinegar and a cup of hot water, and pour that down the drain as well. Put in the drain plug if the drain has one, allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes, and finish off the process with a final pour of boiling water.

Hydrogen Peroxide Drain Solution

Another idea is to make a solution with a cup of hydrogen peroxide and a quart of cold water to pour down the drain. This mixture should remain in the drain for about half an hour before rinsing it out with warm tap water. Just be careful not to let the hydrogen peroxide touch your skin, and don’t use this method if you already have baking soda down your drain from a previous unclogging attempt.

Dish Detergent Unclogging Method

If you’re dealing with a kitchen sink drain that’s clogged due to grease and grime, liquid dish detergent may help. Boil a large pot of water and stir in several tablespoons of natural dish detergent. Pour the mixture down your clogged drain slowly and flush out with hot water from the tap. This may help melt away the grease causing the clog, but you may have to do this process a couple times to see results.

Photo credit: Steve Shaner via Flickr

Natural cleaning products can make a huge difference in the longevity of your home’s fixtures and the health of your family. If you haven’t already made the switch from chemical versions, start with just a couple products that you use on a regular basis and see how those work for you. Even small changes in your cleaning routine can be beneficial for your health and the environment in the long run.

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