You may have heard that chemical drain cleaners are terrible for your pipes. Harsh chemicals that dissolve clogs can also wreak havoc on your plumbing–particularly if your pipes are made of plastic or galvanized steel.
What you may not have heard is that many homeowners have been clearing their own clogs for years, without the use of harsh chemicals. These natural solutions will dissolve clogs, clean your pipes and keep them clog-free without the use of expensive drain cleaners.
Materials used to Clean Drains
There isn’t a single recipe for natural homemade drain cleaner. There are many recipes, and most of these recipes use the same household ingredients. Once you understand what the best ingredients are and why they work, you can make your own drain cleaner with these common products found in most kitchens.
- Vinegar: Vinegar is an acid that, when left in a pipe long enough, will eat through organic material.
- Baking soda: Baking soda is a natural cleaning agent as well as a deodorizer. Baking soda can be used for loosening grime and grease from the inside of your pipes.
- Boiling water: Like baking soda, boiling water loosens organic materials and helps flush clogs down the drain.
- Salt: Coarse salt is both abrasive and antiseptic. It can rub away sticky foods that have become trapped in pipes over time.
Here are just a few “recipes” for natural, homemade drain cleaners:
- Cleaning pipes of organic or food material: Pour a quart of boiling water into your drain and chase the water with a half cup of baking soda and a half cup of vinegar mixed with hot water. Let this mixture sit in your pipes for about twenty minutes, then flush this with hot water.
- Clearing grease clogs: Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda with 1/2 cup of salt. Pour this down the drain and chase it with a quart of boiling water. Allow the mixture to sit overnight, then flush it.
Other Non-Chemical Methods
These non-chemical methods for removing clogs use common plumbing tools that every homeowner should have on hand.
- Hand auger: A hand auger looks like a long, stiff cable with a corkscrew-like end. The tip of the cable is inserted into the drain and pushed down into the pipe until it encounters the clog. When it reaches the clog, the cable is pulled back out and the clog is pulled out with it.
- Plunger: A plunger is used to create a vacuum between a clog and the opening in a sink or bathtub. Use a plunger when there is standing water in the drain. To properly use a plunger, fill the tub or sink with approximately 1 inch of water, then insert the plunger into the drain. Pump the plunger several times to loosen the clog. For an effective video tutorial, check out this website.
Residents of the Pittsburgh area seeking more expert ideas and tips on clearing clogs out of drains can contact Terry’s Plumbing. With over 30 years in the business, we know how to clear your drains quickly and efficiently, without damaging your plumbing.