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How to Unclog a Drain the Green Natural Way

Posted By Jim On 06/29/2010 @ 7:40 am In Frugal Living | 22 Comments

When 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 [3] 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 [4])


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[3] Turbo Snake: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/r/amazon.php?asin=B002JA5R7U

[4] aprillynn77: http://www.flickr.com/photos/aprillynn77/8818200/sizes/m/

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