Eco-Friendly Ways to Unclog a Drain

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Eco-Friendly Ways to Unclog a Drain

A clogged drain is a hassle no matter when and where it occurs. While stores have plenty of chemical drain cleaners on the shelves for homeowners to purchase, these solutions usually contain corrosive liquids that can damage the pipes and result in serious health problems if spilled, ingested or inhaled. These ecologically friendly ways to unclog drains are just as effective as chemical drain cleaners and easy for any homeowner to use.


Reasons for Choosing Eco-Friendly Ways to Unclog Drains

There are many reasons why a homeowner might consider environmentally friendly drain cleaners. Some of these reasons include:


Safety is a considerable concern with commercial drain cleaners that contain corrosive chemicals. Especially in homes with children or pets, drain cleaners pose a serious hazard to health. The chemicals can splash, generate fumes or be accidentally spilled or drank by a child or pet.


Commercial drain cleaners cost much more than natural solutions to the problem of a clogged drain. If the chemical cleaner damages the pipe, which is not uncommon in homes with PVC pipes, the cost of using chemicals to clear out a clog could be much more.


Drain cleaners with chemicals get washed into the sewer system and eventually, the local waterways. These chemicals can damage plant and animal habitats and cause genetic mutations in their offspring. The chemicals can outright kill sensitive species.

Hot Water

A simple, inexpensive and effective solution for many drain clogs is simply running hot water down the drain. This can be done when a clog occurs or as a preventive measure to rid the drain of thickened debris such as soap scum and grease. Just turn on the hot water at the affected drain and let it run for several minutes. For prevention of drain clogs, do this at least once per week.

Better Pipes Through Chemistry

Baking soda is a base, while white vinegar is an acid. When combined, these two substances react and create bubbles. The resultant release of energy is often enough to push out a basic clog in a drain. To unclog a drain with the power of chemistry, first remove any visible debris from the drain opening. Then pour 3 tablespoons of baking soda into the drain opening. Next, pour 1/2 cup of white vinegar into the drain. If you do not like its smell, use lemon juice instead. Let this bubble in the drain for 30 minutes without running any water. When the time is up, flush out the drain with several minutes of steaming water.


A drain plunger can be used by itself to release a clog or in conjunction with the water or chemical methods. First, bail as much water out of the drain as possible to avoid creating a big mess. Then place the plunger over the opening of the drain. Vigorously plunge for at least one minute. The pressure of the plunging can release stubborn clogs.

Drain Snakes

Drain snakes can be manually operated or mechanically operated with the assistance of a motor. The snake has blades that rotate and cut up any clogs caused by hair, fibrous food material and tree roots. The blades come in different sizes, so be sure to select the appropriate size of snake for the drain that has the clog. The snake can also be used with the water and vinegar and baking soda methods. Plumbers have professional grade drain snakes for the most stubborn clogs.

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Minneapolis has a team of plumbers in Fridley, MN who specialize in drain cleaning and other plumbing repair services.

Greener Ideal is an independent environmental news and lifestyle publication that has been curating content since 2008 to further the green movement. The views expressed by contributing authors are their own and may not reflect those of Greener Ideal.

  • Jacy Elsesser

    For slow bath drains, a great eco friendly tool is The Drain Claw.