Most drains will slow or clog over time but clearing the clogged drain is quite easy in many cases without with use of chemicals. Common sources of clogs in kitchen drains are crumbs, fat, oil and grease. In bathrooms, debris build up from hair and personal products typically cause clogs. Chemical treatments don’t guarantee drain cleaning results, and may only move the debris further down the pipes. Even more, chemicals often contain elements that are harmful to skin and can cause corrosion to your plumbing. Before you reach for a bottle of chemicals to clean your drains, try one of these natural home remedies.
Hot Water Works
A first line of defense, hot water is a simple home remedy for drain cleaning. Water heated to a boiling temperature is most effective at dissolving debris in your drains. The hot water that comes from your tap will not reach a temperature high enough to dissolve debris successfully. If you have PVC pipes or a porcelain sink, avoid using boiling water as it will lead to additional problems like cracking or leaks at the plumbing joints.
Baking Soda for Drain Cleaning
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a multi-purpose household item that you probably already own. You may have used baking soda to remove odors in your refrigerator or perhaps in recipes for baked goods. Did you know it’s a great natural way to clear clogged drains? The alkalinity of baking soda allows it to dissolve mineral deposits that can cause a slow drain and even breaks down grease.
Follow these steps for drain cleaning with baking soda:
- Pour one cup of baking soda in the drain
- Add one cup of distilled white vinegar
- Wait about 5 minutes or until the fizzing sound subsides
- Flush the drain with boiling hot water (about 2 cups)
- Repeat as necessary
An alternative solution adds salt to the process. Salt is added (about ½ cup) to the drain with the baking soda, and sets 4-5 hours or overnight. After that, flush the drain with boiling hot water (about 2 cups). Repeat as necessary.
Try A Plunger
A plunger is useful for sinks that are completely blocked and is a useful tool that all homeowners should have available. Simply fill the sink part way with water and use a cup shaped plunger to make a complete seal around the drain. Plunge until the blockage is clear and you notice the water in the sink is draining. Did you know there are 4 types of plungers? A cup and a flange plunger are the most commonly used in homes. Having both types on hand is highly recommended to address common plumbing issues.
Keep A Drain Snake Handy
A handheld drain snake can help clear a clog without breaking the bank. Drain snakes are available for purchase for less than $10 at most hardware or home improvement stores. You’ll have options for plastic and stainless steel tools, depending on the job ahead. A plastic tool will be able to bend more easily in different shapes of pipes. This option is less expensive and better for the environment than using a chemical drain cleaner.
An Ounce Of Prevention
Regular drain cleaning can prevent clogged and slow drains. Weekly flushing a drain with hot water and a grease fighting dish soap is a good preventative measure to keep your kitchen drain clear. Other preventative measures include using drain covers and keeping grease out of drains.
When all else fails, contact a licensed plumber. A plumber has the professional knowledge to further diagnose and clear your problem drain. It’s a good idea to have your home’s plumbing inspected regularly to avoid emergencies that could lead to costly repairs.