Whenever we notice a clog in our drains, we all want the problem to go away quickly and easily. However, more and more of us are questioning the safety of products like Drano and the dangerous chemicals used to make them. Chemical cleaning products may be convenient and readily available, but they have detrimental effects on your health, your plumbing drain pipes, and our environment.
What’s Wrong With Chemical Drain Cleaners Like Drano?
Drano and other cleaning products may claim to “destroy tough clogs”, but the truth is there are many reasons you should never put Drano down your sink or pipes. The chemicals used in these cleaning products are both dangerous for the health of you and your family, and can also cause serious damage to your pipes requiring extensive repairs to fix. They are also incredibly toxic for the environment, leaching dangerous chemicals into our groundwater and polluting our lakes, rivers, and oceans.
While these companies will try to convince you that only their product can successfully unclog your drain, there are many easy and simple ways to remove a clog using simple household products and a little elbow grease. These products are not only cheap and easy to use but are also safe and non-toxic. When in doubt, you should call a professional in to do the job. Drain clearing fees are not as high as you might think, and the small cost now can save you big on your health and your wallet in the end.
Here are 7 easy ways to successfully unclog your drain without harsh chemical cleaners.
Boiling Water And Dish Soap
The first and easiest method to unclogging a drain is to simply boil some hot water in the kettle or stove and get some dish soap ready. Start by pouring about half a cup of liquid dish soap down the drain and wait a few minutes for it to soak into the clog, then pour boiling water in slowly.
This method is best used for grease clogs as the boiling water should melt and loosen grease or fat just enough to flush it through the drain. If there is any boiling water left, congratulate yourself with a cup of tea!
Wire Coat Hanger
Another method to cleaning your drains with a common household product is using a good old fashioned wire coat hanger. Simply straighten out the hanger but leave the hook in place and put it down the drain. Fish around a bit with the hook end and try bringing up any clogged hair or food build-up. Remember, you want to bring clogged particles up, not push them further down.
After successfully bringing up as much as you can, flush any remaining particles down the drain with hot or boiling water.
Baking Soda And Vinegar
When you combine baking soda and vinegar, a chemical reaction occurs that can dissipate and unclog your drains. Pour about ⅓ cup of baking soda down the drain, then pour in ⅓ cup of vinegar. Immediately create a tight seal around the drain either with a plunger or sink plug.
Be careful as the chemical reaction of baking soda and vinegar creates a volcano-like eruption (think elementary school science project) that can rise up quickly through the drain if it’s not plugged. Wait 30-60 minutes then flush out with hot or boiling water.
Other substances that may work to dislodge a clog include salt, borax, or hydrogen peroxide.
Another great low-tech tool that everyone has in their home, a plunger can be an easy and effective way to de-clog a sink drain. Fill your sink half-way with water, then start plunging away. Start slow and gradually increase the pressure until you feel the blockage dissipate.
If the above unclogging methods haven’t worked, you may need to step it up and use a more involved tool. A drain snake is a long metal rope that you wind down your drain to grab or dislodge obstructions. Once the tip of the snake reaches the clog, the rotating action attaches to the clog to chop it up and spin it away.
Take The Drain Apart
If the drain snake doesn’t dislodge your clog or you don’t have access to one, you could try taking your drain apart and removing the clog by hand. If you’re going to try this method, it’s crucial to remember to turn off the water at the shutoff valve under the sink. Place a bucket under the sink to catch residual water and unscrew the bolts with an adjustable wrench.
Clean out the clog and then replace the pipe. Turn back on the shutoff valve and run the water to ensure there is no further blockage.
Pro Tip – Take pictures of your pipes before you take them apart to ensure you remember how to put them back together!
If you’re not comfortable taking apart the plumbing yourself and other methods have been unsuccessful, it’s time to call your local HVAC service provider.
A good plumbing service technician has the specialized knowledge and professional-grade tools to unclog your drains safely, effectively, and without the use of harsh polluting chemicals.
At Lynn’s HVAC, our company believes in sustainable and earth-friendly practices. That’s why our technicians only use non-toxic and natural products to unclog your drains, protecting your plumbing, and the environment. We use top of the line RIGID© equipment, including sink machines, hand tools, and cameras to get the job done right the first time.
Don’t let a clogged drain ruin your day. Call us today at 204-813-4074 or 204-817-1595.