Most homeowners automatically reach for that bottle of drain cleaner when dealing with a clogged kitchen or bathroom sink. Unfortunately, most drain cleaners contain a brew of toxic chemicals that are not only harsh on kitchen and bathroom surfaces, but they're also not healthy to handle without considerable care.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can bust up stubborn clogs without resorting to harsh chemical fixes.
Sometimes, all it takes to break up a clog is plenty of boiling hot water. This is especially true for clogs largely consisting of coagulated fats and oils. Simply pour a few cups of water in a pot and let it come to a boil. Using a teapot, if you have one, is a much faster way of bringing your water to a boil.
Why use boiling hot water? Because the hot water that comes out of the tap might not be hot enough to sufficiently melt away the clog. Besides, most hot water heaters are set to avoid scalding users, which is why you should take extra care when handling the pot.
Carefully and slowly pour the boiling hot water down the drain. Doing so will give the hot water enough time to melt away the fatty deposits and break up the clog enough to open up the drain. Unfortunately, many clogs take much more than a simple pot of boiling water to deal with. For those cases, you'll need to add something extra to the equation.
Baking Soda and White Vinegar
By combining baking soda and white vinegar, you can make a pretty powerful drain cleaner from just two mundane household items:
- Start by pouring a 1/2-cup of baking soda into the clogged drain. Don't hesitate to push and nudge the baking soda past the grates and into the drain itself, as it needs to get in deep.
- Next, pour a cup of white distilled vinegar into the drain. The vinegar will interact with the baking soda, causing the mix to foam up. You'll need to put a stopper or some other object over the drain to keep the foam from spilling out.
- Allow the mixture to work its magic for up to 30 minutes. During this time, you can get your boiling hot water ready for the next step.
- Uncover the drain and slowly pour the boiling water inside. With any luck, the clog should gradually break apart.
For stubborn clogs, you may have to repeat the process two to three times before getting the desired results. Nevertheless, this natural remedy for busting clogs is highly effective.
Borax, a distant relative of boric acid, is commonly used as a laundry booster. In powdered form, this convenient mineral can also be used to bust up stubborn clogs. If the baking soda and vinegar trick hasn't worked, you can do the following:
Pour a 1/2-cup of borax into the drain. Be careful handling this stuff, as it can irritate your skin and lungs if you're not paying attention.
Pour 2 cups of boiling water into the drain and wait for approximately 30 minutes. This will give the borax enough time to eat away at the clog in question.
Flush the solution away with running tap water. Repeat the above steps as necessary.
Enzymatic drain cleaners offer a reasonable alternative to the typical chemical drain cleaning. These cleaners rely on powerful bacteria and enzymes that naturally break down organic material, including hair, oils and other food waste. Enzymatic drain cleaners are generally safe for most septic tank systems and they leave behind no harmful byproducts.
Unfortunately, enzymatic drain cleaners trade their speed for Eco-friendliness. The enzymes can take hours to work their way through a clog, making patience a virtue for anyone using these green drain cleaners.