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natural cleaning

Home and Garden, Natural Cleaning

How to Naturally Unblock a Drain Without Harsh Chemicals

how to naturally unblock a drain

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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how to naturally unblock a drain without the use of harsh chemicals

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.

  1. First of all, boil a full kettle of water.
  2. Once boiled, slowly pour the kettle of water down your drain. This will help dissolve any fat blockages.
  3. Once the boiling water has finally drained away, next, pour a large cup of soda crystals down your drain.
  4. Leave the soda crystals to sit for 5 to 10 minutes in your drain to help break up fat and grease deposits.
  5. Next, boil another kettle full of water.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Home and Garden, Natural Cleaning

Homemade Cleaning Wipes Solution For Speedy Cleaning

Want to know how to make a homemade cleaning wipes solution? Read on!

What household chore do you hate the most? Cleaning the bathroom is the least favoured task in our house. My partner and I split the household chores, and that works well for us. That is until it comes to cleaning the bathroom. Specifically, our upstairs bathroom frequented by our children. Honestly, the state they leave it in would make you weep sometimes. Weep, I tell you!

I’ve been thinking about how we can make cleaning the bathroom easier. But also give my children greater autonomy. And I thought cleaning wipes. I could make a non-toxic homemade cleaning wipes solution, and leave a jar in the bathroom. This means anyone in the house (including my kids) can wipe down the surfaces in between big cleans. That’s the dream, anyway!

The wipes turned out to be so useful, that I made an extra jar for the kitchen. And so useful, that I wanted to share the recipe for my homemade cleaning wipes solution with you today. Sharing is caring, after all!

homemade cleaning wipes solution uk

What’s Wrong With Conventional Cleaning Wipes?

Why I am not just buying a packet of wipes from the supermarket?

For a start, I’m trying to reduce the single-use plastic we use in our house. Many conventional cleaning wipes are made of non-biodegradable plastic. Even the wipes marketed as biodegradable and flushable shouldn’t actually be flushed. These flushed wipes are behind 93% of blockages in UK sewers. In short, they’re an environmental disaster.

And secondly, scientists have warned that some conventional cleaning products could be as bad for your lungs as smoking 20 cigarettes a day. This homemade cleaning wipes solution means I avoid single-use plastic and reduce the number of harsh chemicals in our home. Double win!

How to Make A Homemade Cleaning Wipes Solution

homemade cleaning wipes solution

Please note, this cleaning wipes solution isn’t suitable for use on granite, marble, quartz, or any other kind of natural stone. This is because vinegar can be corrosive to natural stone. Keep reading if you have natural stone because I’ve got a stone-safe recipe for you further down the page.

You Will Need

  • A 750 ml jar or similar airtight container
  • 125 ml cooled boiled water
  • 125 ml white vinegar (this is where I buy my white vinegar in bulk)
  • 5 drops of lemon essential oil
  • 5 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 4 drops of lemongrass essential oil
  • 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid
  • Clean dry reusable cloths

Depending on the size of your jar and the size of your cloths, the number of cloths you will need will vary. I used some old Cheeky Wipes terry squares I had leftover from when my daughter was little. Here I found nine Cheeky Wipes fit in my jar perfectly. However, you could use any fabric scraps or kitchen cloths to hand. You could even cut up an old towel that’s seen better days.

Method

In a measuring jug, mix the water, vinegar, dishwashing liquid, and essential oils together.

Place your dry cloths into the clean dry jar.

Next pour the solution over the cloths, making sure you try to cover the cloths evenly. Job done!

If the cloths feel too dry, make a little more solution and pour over. The goal is that your cloths feel moist to the touch, not completely sodden.

How To Use

Whenever you want to clean, simply take a cloth from the jar. You may need to squeeze out some of the homemade cleaning wipes solution if it feels too wet.

Wipe down surfaces (remember, not any natural stone surfaces). Once you’re done, pop the wipe in the wash with the rest of your laundry.

When the jar is empty, make up a new batch of solution.

Because the cleaning wipes solution is made using water, it does have a relatively short shelf life. I therefore wouldn’t use water straight from the tap – boiling the water helps prolong the shelf life. As such, the wipes should last up to four weeks or so in the jar. If the solutions starts to smell bad, or the cloths start to look mouldy before then, then wash your cloths and start again.

A Stone Safe Cleaning Wipes Alternative

cleaning wipes solution

If vinegar isn’t your thing, or if you have natural stone, then let me show you how to make a vinegar-free homemade cleaning wipes solution using liquid Castile soap. Washing up liquid also works fine if you don’t have any castile soap.

  • 250 ml cooled boiled water
  • 2 teaspoons liquid Castile soap or washing up liquid
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 4 drops tea tree essential oil

Follow the same steps as before, again making up a little more solution if your cloths feel too dry.

Do The Homemade Cleaning Wipes Disinfect?

These homemade wipes don’t disinfect, they are cleaning wipes. This means they are ideal for wiping down dirt and dust from surfaces, such as toothpaste smears and soap scum. However, they don’t kill germs in the same way that disinfectants do.

The good news is that I am currently working on some homemade disinfecting wipes using 70% isopropyl alcohol. I’ll be sure to share the recipe on Moral Fibres once I’m happy with it.

I’m really big on natural cleaning, so I have a ton of other natural cleaning products to make. Right this way my friend!