Zip-It is a long, thin piece of plastic that has tiny hooks on its sides and a thumb grip on the top. You can purchase it at your hardware store for about $3. To use, you just slide it deep into your drain then pull it up. Try not to puke when you see all the hair and grime that comes up. The Zip-It packaging suggests throwing it away when you're done. I don't. I remove the gunk and clean the Zip-It by first rinsing it under warm water then spraying it with a vinegar-based cleaner.
Sometimes the Zip-It is enough. Other times the drain needs more help. In those instances, I make a drain volcano with baking soda and white vinegar.
To make a drain volcano:
- Pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain. This is a great use for baking soda once its tour of duty in the fridge is through.
- Chase it with 1/2 cup of vinegar and quickly cover the drain with a stopper.
- After 30 minutes pass, flush the drain with a kettle full of boiling water.
Usually, the drain is clean after this. If it isn't, I suggest calling a plumber. I've used this method many times with success. Twice it failed and I resorted to using commercial cleaners. Both times I tried the natural kind (Earthworm) and the block remained so I resorted to nasty chemical solutions (Liquid Plumr or Draino) and guess what? The drain was still blocked. In each instance that the natural way failed, only a plumber was able to clean the drain using a snake. I've concluded that the drain volcano is at least as powerful as commercial drain cleaners, so it's better to save your money for a plumber instead of tossing it (and your commitment to the environment) down the drain if this natural solution doesn't work.
|Image via EnviroMom. Read her praises of the wire mesh sink strainer.|
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