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Clearing a Clogged Drain Naturally

Updated on April 30, 2014

Commercial Drain Cleaners

Slow drains are the bane of almost every home at one time or another. The grocery store shelves are full of solutions to clear a slow drain and avoid a call to the plumber. However, these drain clearing products are full of chemicals that are hazardous to your health, your pipes, the environment and your wallet. There are other solutions to get a clogged drain moving that are cheap, safe and effective.

Plunging a Sink

Physically Clearing the Drain of Clogs

Remove the drain plug and clear out the hair. The very first thing you should try is remove the drain plug and start pulling out any hair and gunk clinging to entrance of your pipe. A small claw tool that is typically sold to retrieve dropped screws from small places such as computers can be a great tool to reach into the narrow opening and retrieve a surface clog. Even a wire hanger with a small tight hook on the end can be a good solution.

A small plunger can also be used help clear away clog in the drain. Fill the sink with a few inches of water to help form a seal around the plunger. It is also necessary to block the overflow hole in order to get suction. Duct tape or a damp rag is a good choice to temporarily plug that hole.

If your clog has been caused by grease or wax, wrap a heating pad around the drain pipe or blow with a hair dryer until the pipe is hot. This will liquefy the grease or wax so that it can be flushed down the drain with ample hot water.

Natural Products to Clean a Slow Drain

Once any obvious obstructions are removed, try one of these options to clean the clogged drain and dissolve blockages further.

Warning: Do not try all solutions at once. If you are going to try more than one, flush the drain with lots of water to clear away products that could interact with each other. If you have already tried a chemical drain unclogging product, again make sure that the drain has been thoroughly flushed with water first. While none of the solutions below should produce toxic fumes on their own, reactions with any other products or chemicals that are stuck in the drain cannot be predicted, so use caution and be sure to ventilate the area thoroughly.

  • Pour a solution of ½ cup of salt for every quart of hot water down the pipe.
  • Pour 1/2 a cup of baking soda then 1/2 a cup of vinegar down the drain. Let sit for 5 minutes then flush with boiling water.
  • Pour 1 cup of enzyme cleaner down the drain. Let sit for 30 minutes, and then flush with boiling water.
  • Drop four Alka-Seltzer tablets down the drain, followed by a cup of white vinegar and allow to stand for about ten minutes. Flush with a pot of boiling water.
  • Mix together 1 cup of baking soda, 1 cup of salt and 1/4 cup of cream of tartar. Measure about a quarter cup of the mixed powder and pour into your clogged drain. Pour two cups of boiling water into the drain, and let stand for about an hour, then run fresh water from the tap

    If drain is still a little slow, repeat.

Other Drain Solutions and Maintenance

Keep your garbage disposal clean and fresh by periodically dropping a few lemon or orange peels down and run.

The baking soda and vinegar drain solution above is also good for removing odors in pipes, drains and garbage disposals.

Ultimately, being careful of what you put down the drain in the first place and performing periodic maintenance are the best ways avoid a clog in the first place, but when those clogs do occur, you need not run to the expensive chemical cleaners and plumbers right away. Safe, natural options can do the job just as well.


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    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 

      6 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      I try not to use chemicals when I can avoid it. These are some great solutions. I will give them a try. Thanjks for sharing these ideas! Voted up, useful and pinning! :)

    • sadie423 profile image


      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Great ways to avoid using the harsh chemicals usually found in chemical drain cleaners!


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