Learn how to naturally unblock a drain without the use of harsh chemicals with this handy and sustainable guide.
The next time your kitchen or bathroom sink starts draining slowly, or worse, is just a pool of standing water, then rather than reaching for the bottle of chemically dubious drain unblocker, try these natural alternatives instead.
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Why You Shouldn’t Use Bicarbonate of Soda and Vinegar to Unclog Your Drain
It seems logical that using bicarbonate of soda and vinegar to unblock your drain naturally would be effective. All that fizzing and bubbling when you combine bicarbonate of soda and vinegar has to dislodge whatever is blocking your sink. Right?
Wrong! Cast your mind back to secondary school science lessons, when you learned about bases and acids. If you can remember that far back (it’s been a long time since I was in a school science lesson too!), then you might recall that when you combine a base and an acid, then the acid is neutralised.
In the case of bicarbonate of soda and vinegar, bicarbonate of soda is a base while vinegar is an acid. Their chemical reaction produces water with a tiny bit of salt in it. Unblocking a drain with salty water is rarely effective. This is because salty water doesn’t destroy fats that may be blocking your drain. You need something that will break down the fat, and tackle the oil and grease that is lodged in your drain.
What Should I Use To Naturally Unblock A Drain?
Instead, I would recommend using soda crystals* to help unblock your drain naturally. I use soda crystals all around my home for a variety of natural cleaning purposes. Soda crystals are a naturally occurring mineral salt, that is soluble in water. Soda crystals are naturally bleach-free. What’s more, they do not contain any enzymes or phosphates, palm oil, or anything else, other than soda crystals.
What makes soda crystals a great choice for this job, is that soda crystals have detergent properties, which help tackle dirt and grease. It’s these grease-fighting properties that make it great at dealing with fat-clogged drains.
How to Unblock a Slow Clearing Drain Using Soda Crystals
For sinks that are blocked by fats – for example, kitchen sinks that have been clogged by cooking fats. Or bathroom sinks that have clogged by soaps or oils, then soda crystals are a great option to naturally unblock your drain.
- First of all, boil a full kettle of water.
- Once boiled, slowly pour the kettle of water down your drain. This will help dissolve any fat blockages.
- Once the boiling water has finally drained away, next, pour a large cup of soda crystals down your drain.
- Leave the soda crystals to sit for 5 to 10 minutes in your drain to help break up fat and grease deposits.
- Next, boil another kettle full of water.
- Now, slowly pour the kettle of water down the drain to wash the soda crystals, and broken down fat and grease away. Take care, as you may get splashes of boiling water as the soda crystals get to work on the blockages.
- Repeat steps 1 to 6 until your drain is clear. You should be able to see an improvement every time your repeat these steps.
Remember to take care carrying kettles of boiling water. Check for any trip hazards, and try to do it when small children and pets aren’t underfoot.
What If Hair Is Blocking My Drain?
Bathtub or shower drains tend to be blocked by hair rather than fat, especially if people in your household have long hair.
Soda crystals aren’t effective at tackling hair blockages. You can buy bottles of drain cleaners that specifically tackle hair blockages. However, I have found that using a reusable drain-clearing brush* that I picked up inexpensively does the job. It naturally unblocks the drain without the use of expensive and harsh chemicals. And one brush can replace plastic bottle after plastic bottle of drain cleaner, making it a more eco-friendly option.
How to Unblock a Drain Blocked With Hair
It’s really easy to naturally unblock a drain blocked with hair. Just take your drain-clearing brush, stick it down the drain, and twist it until you have removed all the hair that is causing the blockage.
I’m not going to lie, it is a pretty disgusting job. You end with big blobs of black slime encrusted hair on your brush, which does make you feel a bit sick. But I promise the effort is worth it when your drain starts running freely again.
If, after removing hair, the drain is still slow draining, then do try the soda crystals method, in case there are further soap blockages.
I would say that, as in the case of all things, prevention is better than cure. As we are a household of four long-haired people, I use drain covers* in my showers that catch hair but allow the water to drain. These really help to minimise the need to bust out my drain brush to naturally unblock these drains.
Any other drain clearing tips? I’m all ears! You can also check out my natural cleaning products to DIY if you are after more natural cleaning inspiration.