Guide to Unclogging Drains Without Harsh Chemicals

Unclogging your drains without using harsh chemicals is not just better for the earth but also kinder to your pipes. Here’s a thorough guide on how to do this effectively, detailing each method step by step:

Baking Soda and Vinegar

This method is a favorite for those who like to fix things themselves. It works because of the natural reaction between baking soda, which is a simple alkali, and vinegar, which is a gentle acid. Start by pouring boiling water down the drain to soften the clog. Then add a cup of baking soda right into the drain. Next, mix one cup of vinegar with one cup of hot water and pour this into the drain too. Quickly cover the drain to keep the fizzing action inside the pipes, which helps break down the grease and dirt more effectively. After waiting about 15 minutes, pour another pot of boiling water down to rinse away the debris. This method is great for both kitchen and bathroom sinks as it efficiently clears out food remains, soap scum, and other organic buildup.

Dish Soap and Hot Water

For clogs mainly made of grease, which are common in kitchen sinks, a combination of dish soap and boiling water works well. Dish soap is designed to cut through grease and oil, making it perfect for this job. First, boil a pot of water and add a few squirts of dish soap. Slowly pour this soapy water down the drain to dissolve and wash away the grease. You might need to repeat this process, especially after meals that involve a lot of oils or if there’s a significant buildup in the drain.

Salt, Baking Soda, and Boiling Water

This mixture combines the scrubbing power of salt with the cleaning abilities of baking soda, boosted by the force of boiling water. Mix half a cup of table salt with half a cup of baking soda and pour it into the drain while it’s dry. Let it sit and work through the blockage for a few hours, or overnight for optimal results. Then, pour boiling water down the drain to flush out the mixture and any debris it has loosened. This method is particularly effective for stubborn clogs deep within the plumbing.

Wire Hanger

Sometimes, you need to physically remove blockages, especially if they are made of hair and other fibrous materials. Take a wire coat hanger and straighten it out, but leave one end bent into a small hook. Carefully insert this hook into the drain and use it to pull out hair and other debris. Be careful to avoid pushing the clog deeper or scratching the pipes. This method is especially useful in bathroom sinks and showers where hair is often the main cause of blockages.

Enzyme Drain Cleaners

For those who prefer a less direct approach and want a long-term solution, enzyme-based drain cleaners are a great choice. These products use natural bacteria and enzymes to break down organic matter in the drains. Safe for all plumbing types, they can be used regularly without risking damage to the pipes. They are particularly effective in kitchen sinks where food waste tends to accumulate.

Boiling Water

Regularly pouring boiling water down the drain is a simple but effective way to prevent the buildup of oils and grease that often cause clogs. This method is quick, easy, and economical, though it should be used cautiously on PVC pipes to avoid damage from the heat.

Cream of Tartar, Baking Soda, and Salt

This trio leverages the cleaning and freshening properties of each ingredient. Mix a quarter cup of cream of tartar with a quarter cup of baking soda and a quarter cup of salt. Pour this dry mixture down the drain, followed by boiling water. The heat activates the ingredients, helping to break down the buildup in the pipes. This solution not only clears out clogs but also leaves your drains smelling clean and fresh.

If you need assistance for minor or major issues, we got you covered, contact AO Dowd Plumbing, Plumber in Fontana any time at 909-684-1915 or at