DIY: How to Clear Drains the Green Way

Slow drains are one of the most common plumbing problems in homes today. Whether it’s a clog in the kitchen sink or the shower, homeowners are quick reach for a liquid drain cleaner as the cure. The challenge with cleaning your drains this way is two-fold: the cleaners are filled with dangerous chemicals and the liquid cleaners are not effective at removing the clog, just pushing it further into your plumbing system.

Dangers Of Liquid Drain Cleaner

There’s a reason liquid drain cleaners advise you to contact poison control and wash the area for 15 minutes if you spill the substance on your skin; it’s incredibly dangerous. While the cleaner is dangerous for you, it can also harm the inside of your pipes.

Unlike the work performed by a professional plumber, chemical-laden drain cleaners are unable to remove the clog from your pipes. In most cases, the liquid simply pushes the blockage further along, which causes recurring clogs. The cleaner is also a major hazard to the homeowner and the environment. If the chemicals are ingested or splashed into your eyes, severe burns are possible. The toxic ingredients can also contaminate the local water supply if unknown cracks or holes exist in your plumbing system. Constant use of a liquid drain cleaner can speed up the corrosion process in your pipes. The chemicals can eat away at the pipe material, making them more susceptible to cracks or breaks.

Clear Clogged Drains Safely

Not only do you not have to spend money on the dangerous liquid drain cleaners, you’re likely to already have drain cleaning ingredients in your home that are much safer for you and the environment. While you should avoid pouring any type of grease or fats down your drains, some fat-based clogs are unavoidable. If you suspect grease, fat or oils is the cause of your clog, bring a pot of water to a boil. Remove the water from the heat and let cool for two minutes, then pour the hot water down the affected drain. Repeat the boiling water method as needed until the grease clog dissipates.

For drains clogged by waste, food or other foreign objects, the hot water method won’t work. Try a plumbing auger to snake the clog out. If you’re having trouble removing the clog, call your local plumber. Making too many aggressive attempts with a plumbing auger could damage your pipes. The pros will have more adequate tools to gently remove the blockage without harming your system.

Routine Drain Cleaning

One of the best drain cleaning methods homeowners can use is to practice routine drain care. With green cleaning ingredients, you can regularly clean your drains and pipes and not have to worry about chemical fumes in your home or damaging your pipes. Some of the best green cleaning methods include:

  • Coca-Cola: The phosphoric acid in the carbonated beverage can eat away at buildup within your pipes. Allow a 2-liter of Coke to warm to room temperature, then pour the soda down your drain. Wait one to two hours before clearing with hot water.
  • Vinegar and baking soda: Pour one cup of baking soda down the affected drain and follow with two cups of white vinegar. The combination of the two ingredients will begin to eat away at residue and buildup.
  • Hot water: After washing pots and pans, allow the hot water to run down the drain for one to two minutes. It’s impossible to stop all grease and fat from making it to your drain, but the hot water can help eliminate buildup.

Use these green cleaning methods to clear your drains of clogs and maintain the pipes to extend the life of your plumbing system.

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