DIY Drain Cleaning Tips & Solutions

Drain

Blocked drains are always frustrating, out of the blue, and never welcomed. It’s happened to the best of us –as you’re in the shower, or brushing your teeth, instead of the water going down the drain, it starts to back up. What is your immediate thought? Liquid drain cleaner. Harsh and hard-to-pronounce chemicals should fix the problem, right?

Should I use liquid drain cleaner?

What the cleaning solution companies don’t tell you is that these chemicals could actually be damaging to your pipes. The solution sits in the pipes and produces more heat and chemical reactions than some pipes are made to withstand. They react with corrosion that may already exist in your pipes, and they can do so in an unexpected way. This can create cracks in joins and old pipes and eventually cause PVC pipes to break. As clogs reoccur, this means that you are frequently using these chemicals, accumulating the negative effects.

Not only are these products toxic to humans (if in contact), but they are also not environmentally friendly. When the empty bottles are disposed, they end up in landfills, causing further damage to the environment.

Recommended eco-friendly liquid drain cleaners

If you are going to try a liquid drain cleaner to resolve minor clogs, opt for an all-natural enzymatic product. These drain cleaners use natural enzymes that break up bacteria and organic material that clog your pipes, although they do not break down particularly tough clogs. Therefore, these products should be used for monthly drain maintenance.

Probac drain cleaner 1L
PROBAC Drain Cleaner, 1L Concentrate

PROBAC® - a non-toxic, non-corrosive, 100% biodegradable drain cleaner - recovers and maintains control of domestic and commercial drainage systems. The probiotics actively biodegrades organic dirt and reverses the build-up of grease fats and oils, eliminating drain blockages and odours in bathroom and kitchen drains.

Other DIY solutions to clean your drains

If you want to clean your drains every month to prevent gunk from building up, or they are just a little slow, there are a few simple, inexpensive solutions:

Hot water: Pour a large pot of very hot (not boiling) water down the drain you’re having problems with or want to clean. Then pour some cold water to flush out the clogs you melted away.

Baking soda and vinegar: Pour 1/2 a cup of baking soda down the drain and follow it with 1/2 a cup of vinegar. Plug the sink and allow to sit overnight. In the morning, flush the drains with hot water and they will work, and smell, like they are brand-new! We recommend doing this method once per month.

Tools for those tough clogs

If you have a clogged drain and want to try unblock it yourself before calling a professional, keep an a drain snake/auger as well as a drain plunger on hand.

Drain snake or auger: This is a physical tool that breaks up clogs in pipes. There are various types, but the general purpose is to feed the snake’s thick wire through the drainpipe and turn the handle that keeps the snake rotating inside the pipe. As it hooks onto the clog, you can tug l it out and throw away the mess.

Drain plunger: Drain plungers work best for smaller clogs. Before trying this method, pull out the stopper in the sink and make sure it is not the cause of the clog.

If that doesn’t work, block the overflow entrance to seal the drain and create a proper suction required to plunge. Position the plunger entirely over the drain and pour a small amount of water in the sink. Then start plunging up and down. You will then be able to feel the clog loosen, as the plunger becomes easier to plunge.

What not to put down the drain

The best way to prevent a clogged drain is to use it correctly from the start. Below is a list of common things that homeowners put down the drain, or toilet, that can cause major issues over time:

  • Grease, fats, or oil
  • Pasta, rice, potatoes (starchy foods)
  • Coffee grounds
  • Stringy or fibrous foods
  • Eggshells
  • Bones
  • Feminine products (sanitary pads, etc.)
  • Paper towels, tissues
  • “Flushable” wipes
  • Hair (get a stopper for your shower or bath)

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