What do you do when you get a clogged drain in the shower or sink? If you are like most people, you probably reach for a plunger or a chemical drain cleaner from the grocery store. While both of these methods can be effective, they also have their drawbacks. A plunger can take some solid upper body strength to use on tough clogs, and it may not help the most serious clogs. Chemical drain cleaners are effective, but put pollution into the environment. They can also cause chemical burns and rashes if you accidentally touch them.
There are better ways to clean a clogged drain. Here are three natural methods that can do the trick.
1. Use a Coat Hanger
When you call a plumber for a clogged drain, one of the first things they will try is a snake. This is a plumber's tool that reaches deep into the drain and grabs the source of the clog, then pulls it up and out. This results in a clear drain.
You can approximate the same thing yourself with a wire coat hanger. Straighten the hanger out, except for the hooked part at the top of it. Then, slide the hanger into your drain, hooked end first. You should be able to grab onto hair balls and other gunk with the hook and pull it up.
Always hook onto things to pull them up. Don't push anything down before you've hooked it. Keep sliding the hanger into the drain and pulling things up until you don't feel anything else down there. Then, run hot water through the drain to test it. If it flows freely through the drain, you're efforts were a success.
2. Make Your Own Liquid Drain Cleaner
You can make your own natural drain cleaner out of vinegar and baking soda. It is perfectly environmentally friendly and works as well as any chemical drain cleaner. You can make it by doing the following:
- Pour a cup of baking soda into your drain
- Pour a 1/2 cup of vinegar into the drain
- Cover the drain with a plate or something else that is flat to keep your homemade drain cleaner from coming out of the drain
- Let the drain cleaner sit for thirty minutes in the drain. This will give it time to dissolve anything clogging the drain.
- Uncover the drain and run hot water through it to clean out the residue from your homemade cleaner, and to see if the drain is now un-clogged.
With really tough clogs, you may have to repeat this process. Doing it twice in a row is usually sufficient to clean most clogs, though.
3. Use Boiling Water
Some drains can be un-clogged with simple boiling water. According to Networx.com, this method is effective on drain clogs caused by solidified fats and oils, such as bacon grease. Boiling water adds enough heat to these fats and oils to liquefy them again, thus clearing the drain. Just make sure to pour the water directly into the drain. If you splash it on plastic or ceramic surfaces, the hot water may crack them.
You don't have to have a lot of strength or use harsh chemicals to clean a drain. All you need are a few natural ingredients that won't harm the environment or you. The three methods listed above work quite well when it comes to unclogging drains.
Sometimes, however, even the best natural drain cleaner just won't do the trick. This usually happens when a clog is particularly dense or large, or if tree roots have gotten into your house's pipes. In these cases, you will need to call a professional plumber to take care of the clog for you.
Don't hesitate to call a professional, such as those at A Absolute Plumbing & Heating, if none of these natural solutions work. In cases of stubborn clogs, the longer you wait to call the plumber, the harder it will be to clean it and get your drain flowing freely again.