Naturally Unclog a Drain
Recently, one of our master bathroom sinks backed up. I was about to buy a bottle of Draino or Liquid Plumber when I remembered watching a documentary on how millions of man-made chemicals are dumped into the environment each day and how we do not have the capability to study the billions of possible interactions that could occur between these chemicals. However, we do have studies linking a good deal of them to cancer in both animals and humans. That being the case, I decided to look for a way to naturally unclog our drain.
It turns out that unclogging a drain without using chemical solvents is not only good for the environment, but is also good for your pipes. Most modern homes have some form of PVC piping in them. PVC is the white plastic pipes you probably see under your sinks and when you look at the ceiling in any unfinished area in your basement. They have been used almost exclusively for plumbing in new home construction for a while now.
Because PVC piping is born from a chemical process that turns it into plastic, it is also affected by chemicals. When you pour a chemical solvent down the sink, it sits there for 15 minutes breaking down the grease, hair and other junk via a chemical process. However, it is not only breaking down the junk, it is breaking down your PVC pipes as well. Use enough Draino over a long enough time, and you can cause real damage to your PVC pipes, not to mention the environment.
The good news is that it is really easy to naturally unclog a drain without using chemical solvents. The first step is to try using a plunger. That’s right, used properly, a simple plunger can unclog your sink in about 30 seconds. Simply block all of the water overflows to create an air seal in the pipes and plung up and down rapidly for 10 seconds. Then, turn on the water and see if the clog is gone. If it is not, try plunging again.
If after several attempts the plunger does not clear the clog, the next step is to snake the drain. You can buy a drain snake at any home improvement store for under $5. There is even a plastic one called a Zippo that you can buy for about $2. Simply run the snake down the drain, twisting it around as you do so, to catch or move any gunk. Then, reel the snake back in and put all of the junk in your compost bin or trash can. This will fix most of your clogs in under 2 minutes.
Finally, if neither the plunger nor the snake does the trick, you can simply unscrew either the trap clean out valve at the bottom of the drain trap pipe, or, if your sink does not have a trap clean out valve, simply unscrew the trap itself. Then, you can clean out the trap by either running water through it or using a drain snake.
It turned out that our clog was big enough that I had to unscrew the drain trap in our sink to clear it out. I had never done it before, but it literally only took me 5 minutes to unscrew it, flush out the trap to clear the clog and screw the trap back on. It was really easy, saved a good deal of chemicals from going into the environment, saved my PVC pipes from being damaged and saved me hundreds of dollars by not having to call a plumber.
Here are a couple of good articles that provide more details on how to naturally unclog a drain:
What other methods have you used to naturally unclog a drain?
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