Frugal Living 

How to Unclog a Drain the Green Natural Way

Email  Print Print  

Your Cat Clogging The SinkWhen I first started looking at green ways to unclog a drain, I didn’t have a green motive. It was around ten o’clock at night, I was brushing my teeth and noticing the sink wasn’t draining nearly as fast as it should’ve, and I wasn’t about to go out to the store to buy some batch of chemicals to clear the drain. So I sought an answer online, hoping that a green solution could made from ingredients we already had in the house. The internet came through.

So not only is this recipe “green,” it’s very cheap, comprised entirely of harmless products you probably already have (I did anyway), and saves you a trip to the store for caustic drain cleaner. As much as Drano would love you to believe their product is the only thing on the planet capable of cleaning out your clogged drains, it’s not.

Homemade Green Drain Unclogger & Cleaner

This is so simple you’ll slap your forehead for not thinking about this on your own.

  • Take a cup of baking soda and put it down your clogged drain.
  • Then pour a cup of vinegar down the drain (or as much as you can before it overflows from the clog) and plug the drain. Reader Rich points out that if you have an overflow drain (you’ll see holes near the lip of the sink), you need to plug those as well to get a solid seal.
  • The baking soda combines with the vinegar to form carbon dioxide (and sodium acetate), which equal bubbles.
  • Those bubbles will be forced down the drain, cleaning and clearing away the clog.
  • Afterwards, pour hot water down the drain to flush the loosened gunk away. Repeat as necessary.

This works best for full blockages because the CO forces the block out of the way. In cases where you only have a little blockage, it’s less effective since the bubbles will go to the point of least resistance. The places that do bubble will be very clean though. This is how my wife gets tea stains out of her stainless steel travel mugs.

If you have a particular vexing clog that this doesn’t fix, you’ll have to go to the store and get a sink drain snake. You can get gimmicky products like Turbo Snake but the idea is the same, you go down the sink, try to grab the clog, and pull it up. It’s green because it doesn’t use any chemicals, it’s a completely mechanical process.

Reader Rich also shares with us a cool tip – repurpose a metal hangar. Rich says: “many people will have a metal hanger lying around that they can repurpose. Simply unbend from it’s intended shape and can be used for all kinds of other purposes, like cleaning out minorly clogged drains. The wire gauge of the hanger will determine how aggressive you can be with your “rodding”, too thick, and it will be kinda stiff, making it difficult to go around the u-bend. Too thin, and you may not be able to effectively clear the clog (the tool can curl over on itself).”

Finally, regular maintenance and cleaning will help prevent clogs in the first place. Every week or two, pour a pitcher of boiling hot water down the drain to give it a good flush. You can also use the baking soda and vinegar trick to clean the gunk out as well, remember to flush with boiling hot water.

Green and clean!

(Photo: aprillynn77)

{ 22 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

Related Posts

RSS Subscribe Like this article? Get all the latest articles sent to your email for free every day. Enter your email address and click "Subscribe." Your email will only be used for this daily subscription and you can unsubscribe anytime.

22 Responses to “How to Unclog a Drain the Green Natural Way”

  1. I’m kind of surprised you didn’t know about that one. I have been doing that for years. I hate using those dangerous chemicals in the store-bought drain cleaners… plus, this way costs pennies to clear a drain.

  2. Great advice. My buddy is a plumber and he hates when people use Draino. One time he was working at a house where he had to remove a section of pipe and when he did there was some chemicals inside that burned his skin when it dripped on him. A natural solution is always better.

  3. moljacks says:

    I was just thinking that I had to go buy Drano, now I am just going to try this! Thanks!

  4. Martha says:

    I think it may take a little more effort than Drano because you may have to use multiple applications where as with Drano its one shot and go. But its much better for the environment so I’m willing to try it out before resorting to a nasty chemical version!

  5. Shirley says:

    Thank you! With a long haired teen in the house, this tip is worth its weight in gold. OK, worth her weight in gold… 😉

  6. freeby50 says:

    Good tip.

    I haven’t used the chemical drain cleaners myself since I’ve heard they can ruin your pipes. I’ve had some clogs and just opened the pipes and used a standard drain snake. You can get a snake at the hardware store for $10-20. Its ‘green’ too.

    • Nick Bounds says:

      Well, I rather just do whatever works the fastest. I try to be green and all. But this is alot of extra work. But I will try it out I think. How about a teenage girl that likes to use alot of hair spray? That gets the drain clogged fast…

  7. billsnider says:

    You are overlooking two better solutions.

    1) Try using your toilet bowl plunger. This really works.

    2) The nuts holding the U-Tube below the sink are hand tighhtened. Put a bowl below and open it up.

    Both these solutions are cheap, non-polluting and realy work.

    Good luck.

    Bill Snider

    • Vic says:

      Listen to this man! Been using the plunger for years without fail. 🙂

      Have to try the U-Tube trick if things get particularly dicey but so far no need to yet.

  8. otipoby says:

    For sinks, I always take the P trap off and clean it out manually. I currently have a standup shower drain that slowly drains. I tried “snaking” without much luck because of a sharp turn my snake has problems with. I think I will try the banking soda bomb tonight. Thanks for the timely tip!!

  9. lee says:

    Billsnider knows what he is talking about. I have a plunger just for bathtubs and sinks. It works every time.

  10. Frugal says:

    I just had someone remove the clog from my bathroom sink. I had tried all of the above (plunger, baking soda & vinegar, manual snake etc) and still the clog did not clear out. I did run out of vinegar though!!!

    It did not cost me anything as it was part of the contract that I have. I still hope to have better luck next time and will try a pitcher of hot water every two weeks or so.

  11. cdiver says:

    I have to snake my tub every now and then because of my dogs. I’ll try the baking soda and vinegar to clean up after my next snaking.

  12. Kelly says:

    I used this policy last night when some lentil soup clogged the pipe past the P-trap after I put it down the disposal. I drained the water(WAY more than I was prepared for!) and put two doses of BS and Vinegar down the pipe, and held the plug down on the sink to try to force the gas to push the plug down. It didn’t work. Then I tried about two more quarts of vinegar…. still no joy. I flushed it with boiling water, no help! So I put in some leftover Palmolive Eco, which is a horrid dishwashing detergent but was ok at cleaning the disposal and sink, so I kept it around, and ran the disposal, let it sit for 10 minutes. Still no draining. Then poured more boiling water into the DISHWASHER, started then cancelled a cycle, which forces water down the pipe with a pump. I held down the stopper with all my weight in the sink, kneeling on the counter, and it cleared after about a minute! I wore gloves the whole time to give me a layer for the boiling water incase it came up too fast, just for safety. I probably wouldn’t have done this if my dishwasher wasn’t already broken in 8 different ways, but it worked and saved me a trip to buy a snake.

  13. This is such a great method to clear out drains. I have been using this for some time because of how easy and effective it is.

  14. Master Allan says:

    2nd what billsnider said – the toilet plunger has worked for me several times. Between using either a wire hanger or the plunger no clog has lasted long. A solution as vinegar & baking soda is not a product I have in my home often.

  15. Wilma says:

    As a preventitive measure I boil pots of water once a month and pour a pot down the drain of each sink and my tub. Keeps things moving. =)

  16. eric says:

    We always used to use those chemical cleaners. This sounds a lot better!

  17. Sandy L says:

    We have an old tub that clogs often thanks to old plumbing and long hair.

    Draino for hair works the best for me.

    I’ve tried the baking soda/vinegar trick. It works ok and it definitely takes multiple iterations to unclog. I’m not sure it’s cheaper. The green way is probably ~$1/application if you use a whole container of baking soda. A giant thing of drano is $9.

    My compromise is to flush the drain with boiling water periodically. This dramatically increases the time between treatments.

Please Leave a Reply
Bargaineering Comment Policy

Previous Article: «
Next Article: »
Advertising Disclosure: Bargaineering may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website.
About | Contact Me | Privacy Policy/Your California Privacy Rights | Terms of Use | Press
Copyright © 2016 by All rights reserved.