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Clear Your Clogged Drain without Chemicals

A clogged drain is a common household issueA clogged drain leads to a number of problems, some of them costly and damaging. The most obvious is the inability to use the sink, shower, bath or toilet that's blocked. A chronic clog may result in, backed up water overflowing and spilling into the surrounding area can cause damage to your property.

One of the most common methods of clearing a clogged drain is to use a chemical mixture purchased from a supermarket or hardware store. However, chemical drain openers are caustic and have some drawbacks. Some can damage certain types of pipes. The chemicals are dangerous if they come in contact with eyes or bare skin and the fumes can cause respiratory irritation. More seriously, accidental ingestion, by a pet or child can be fatal. For these reasons, many people try to avoid chemicals.

Let's review 3 chemical-free ways for opening clogged drains with materials you probably already have around your house:

  • Plunger

  • Wire clothes hanger
  • Baking soda + vinegar

Plunger

There are two types of plungers.

Sink and toilet plunger
The red plunger is for sinks and the black one is for toilets

The kind with a steep black cup is a toilet plunger. The red plungers with a shallow cup are designed for opening sink and tub drains. In order to work, there should be water covering the drain. Place the plunger cup over the drain and push down until the plunger makes a good vacuum seal over the drain. Then grasp the handle and pump the plunger cup up and down quickly five or six times. Pull backward and see if the drain opens. Repeat the process until the clog is forced out and the drain opens.

Video: How to Plunge a Toilet like a Plumber

Video: How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink

VIdeo: How to Unclog a Bathroom Sink

A wire clothes hanger

Wire hangers are a common method of clearing drain clogs, especially shower drains. Wire hangers are very inexpensive, disposable and readily available in most homes. Using one to clear a clog is simple: Straighten the hanger out by untwisting the entwined wire at the hook and flattening the curves, then bend the hook to make it more narrow and shallow so that it will fit inside the drain. Remove the drain cover or stopper and push the wire hook down into the drain until you feel resistance. Remember to not apply too much force and be mindful of catching the hook on a piece of the sink or attached plumbing. Twist the wire in a circle a few times then slowly pull it back from the drain. With luck, you will have captures a hair clog or foreign object that was blocking the drain. Repeat as necessary.

Video: How to Unclog a Shower Drain with a Wire Hanger

Baking soda and vinegar

While baking soda and vinegar are chemicals, they aren't the caustic, potentially dangerous kind commonly used to clean drains. This method works best when the drain isn't totally clogged but is clearly draining slowly. To clear the drain, slowly pour a pot of boiling water down the drain, saving about one cup for later. Right after, follow the water with 1/2 cup of baking soda and leave for 5 minutes. Then, pour a cup of vinegar into the drain and let sit for 20 minutes. You hear a fizzing sound because mixing the two ingredients creates a noticeable chemical reaction. This method works best on bathroom sink drains but is also effective on tub and shower drains. However, it is less effective on kitchen drains. If you don’t have baking soda, salt is a useful substitute.

These three home remedy methods can resolve a number of common drain clogs. If your attempts to clear your clogged drain don't give you a positive result, it’s time to call in a professional drain cleaner from Roto-Rooter.

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