Thursday, October 4, 2012

How to Unclog a Drain Naturally & Prevent Future Clogs

You can unclog a sink or bathtub drain with baking soda and vinegar. These work, but I also highly recommend using a Zip-It. In fact, you should use it first.

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. You can also grab a Zip-It on Amazon. 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.
I've noticed that our drains cleaner so much longer once we removed the built-in drain stoppers from the tub and sinks. We replaced them with wire mesh hair traps (aka sink strainers). We've tried a few different kinds and the wire mesh are the absolute best. They also happen to be the cheapest!

Olivia Lane is a Blogger, Green Living Educator, and Health Coach trained at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She's also author of Baking Soda & Bliss: The Healthy & Happy Guide to Green Cleaning 

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1 comment:

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