How To Clean Your Drains Without Harsh Chemicals
With all the stress that comes with a clogged drain, the quickest and easiest way to clear it is the best solution… right?
While chemical-based drain-clearing products you find at any of your local grocers are easy to use, there are some costs. But there are plenty of eco-friendly, homemade DIY drain clearing solutions you can easily try before having to call in the professionals for help.
Reasons for Choosing Eco-Friendly Ways to Unclog Drains
Using chemical-based drain cleaning products may pose their own set of problems you might altogether like to avoid. These include:
- Reaction of some drain clearing products with aluminum, giving off unhealthy gases from out your drain
- Solidification further down your piping that can’t be easily removed
- Mixture with other household cleaners causing pipe bursting
- Liquid, foam, and gel cleaners aren’t as effective while also potentially damaging your piping
The hazards that come with using chemical-based cleaners can be prevented if you use snaking, hydro jetting, or more eco-friendly DIY methods of drain clearing and cleaning instead.
Ways to Unclog A Drain Without Harmful Chemicals
Dish Soap & Hot Water
Make drain clearing simple by using what’s already available at your sink!
Run piping hot water down your drain to start softening the blockage. Then, add some degreasing dish soap to start the dissolving process. If this isn’t quite working, use a sink plunger and repeat the dish soap method until your sink drain is cleared of clogging.
Boiling water is a great way to soften and flush out scum build-up from the likes of soap and grease along the walls of your piping. This is more of a temporary solution as it’ll likely give you enough of a pathway for your wastewater to drain, but won’t remove all debris such as hair.
If it doesn’t work at first, do it again a few times more to see if it’ll work. If not, then you’ll have to try another method alongside this one to get your drain cleared.
Baking Soda and Vinegar
If boiling water doesn’t work, you may find yourself requiring a chemical solution to dissolve build-up of hair and other bathroom debris. Baking soda and vinegar are a great addition to your boiling water, creating an even more effective solution for drain clearing.
Before using any chemical solution, remove any visible debris and standing water that will otherwise dilute it before it reaches your clog. Use a bucket or cup for water removal.
Now to create your solution! Prepare 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup vinegar (any will work, including white vinegar).
With both of your cups of baking soda and vinegar ready at hand, pour half a cup of baking soda down your drain. Take a long stick and coat as much of the interior of your drain as possible, and push it down as far as your stick will allow.
Next, slowly pour half of your cup of vinegar into the drain. You should start to hear fizzing – the chemical reaction between your baking soda and vinegar. Once you hear it, cover your drain with a rag to trap the fumes.
When you hear the fizzing stop, repeat the process with the rest of your baking soda and vinegar you’ve prepared.
After you’ve used all your solution, prepare boiling water. After 30 minutes, slowly pour your hot water down the drain. This will clear up and remove any remaining solution and debris softened by your chemical treatment.
Baking Soda and Salt
Another quick home remedy for clearing your clogged drain is salt and baking soda.
Mix half a cup of salt and half a cup of baking soda together and pour it down your drain. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes (or overnight, depending on the severity of your clog).
Finally, prepare boiling water and pour it slowly down your drain to clear away your solution and any loose debris.
There’s plenty of versatility when it comes to your plunging options for fending off different types of clogging. The most common plungers available are the standard, flange, accordion, and beehive plungers.
Whether you’re tackling a clog in your tub, sink, or shower, here are simply ways to ensure there’s less air leakage as you’re plunging:
- Sealing your overflow drain in your sink with a wet towel
- Plugging nearby drains
- Coating the rim of your plunger with some petroleum jelly to tighten your seal
When plunging a toilet:
- If you think you’ve got a clog, DO NOT continue to flush it. Let it sit for 10 minutes to slowly drain back down.
- Close the water supply hose on the wall behind your toilet by turning the valve clockwise, preventing water overflow.
- Make sure the bowl is about halfway full; this aids with suction while plunging (add or remove water as needed).
When plunging to remove a clog, submerge the rubber bell entirely in standing water and create a perfect seal over your drain (if there’s too much, making it difficult and messy to plunge, remove some of the water). Push down gently on your plunger to push out the trapped air remaining. Then, plunge with quick thrusts, directing the pressure down into your drain for about 20 seconds. This should be enough to clear a typical clog.
Hydro jetting is a plumbing technique using highly-pressurized water to remove blockage resulting from grease, mineral scale, debris, and tree roots which disrupt the flow of your drain line.
Here are some of the pros for using hydro jetting:
- Hydro jetting gives your pipes a thorough cleaning removing waste that easily clings and builds up along the wall of your piping, such as silt, sand, and hair. And it’s a more efficient method than snaking, which simply punctures and pushes through a clog in your pipe.
- Since hydro jetting uses water, it’s chemical-free! Much different than store-bought chemical decloggers which can eat away at your piping, costing you more in the long run.
- It’s quick and clean! No digging and little clean-up is required after servicing your clog.
What To Do After The Clog Is Gone
When you’ve gone through the hassle of clearing a drain – especially more severe ones – you know how important it is to be proactive in keeping your drains clean and clear.
First and foremost, know what not to put down your precious drain!
Do all you can to avoid flushing the following waste down your drain and toss it in your compost or waste bin instead:
- Coffee grounds
- Egg shells
- Starchy foods (pastas, breads, rice, etc.)
- Fruit peels or pits
- Food wrappers
Use your favorite homemade drain cleaning and clearing mixture regularly after using your sink (especially when more heavily used). This will only help in preventing any lodging of waste in your drain line and keep you from overloading your garbage disposal.
Drain covers are also another simple and effective way to catch any non-drainable debris from becoming a problem for your kitchen sink or shower drains.
Hydro Jetting and Other Drain Clearing Services at Deer Valley Plumbing
Hydro jetting is an effective, long-lasting solution for getting your home plumbing back in tip-top shape. Whether you’ve got a completely clogged sewer line, or slow-draining sinks, showers, and tubs, it’s a long-lasting solution for getting your pipes freely flowing again.
At Deer Valley Plumbing, we provide top-quality, same-day services for commercial and residential plumbing emergencies. Our plumbing technicians are experienced and certified to handle those stressful hard-to-reach clogs. Whether you’ve got an emergency on your hands, or would like to prevent one, call us at 602-832-8418 and we’ll make sure your pipes are clear and ready to flow.