How to Unclog Drains Without Chemicals

Learn how to unclog drains without chemicals, unclogging drains is easier than you think, and you don’t need expensive tools to get the job done. In fact, some of the most common clogs can be removed without using any tools at all. Read about these simple techniques so you’re prepared the next time you have a clogged sink, tub or toilet.


| December 2007/January 2008



How to unclog drains without chemicals. With the right methods, you can fix a number of plumbing issues yourself — and skip the plumber!

How to unclog drains without chemicals. With the right methods, you can fix a number of plumbing issues yourself — and skip the plumber!


Photo by Istockphoto/Martinez Banus

How to unclog drains without chemicals. Use these simple, reliable methods to clear your drains and say goodbye to plumbing bills!

How to Unclog Drains Without Chemicals

Drains are hidden heroes in your home. If you’re lucky, you can go for years without thinking about them, but when dirty sink water suddenly won’t go away or a toilet won’t flush, they can be a major frustration. A plugged drain certainly demands attention, but fixing it is probably something you can do yourself. You’ll get faster results than calling a pro, and you’ll save money, too.

Successfully unclogging drains depends on a few simple tools and knowledge of the layout of pipes hidden in your home.

Each drain connects with horizontal pipes that meet a vertical section of the system called the “stack.” The top of the stack goes through the roof, and acts as an air vent. The horizontal pipes travel down and out of your home, taking wastewater with them. Poor drain performance can be caused by problems in either the drain side of the equation or sometimes, the vent side. Even if water is free to flow through pipes, for proper performance the water must be replaced by air drawn into the system through the rooftop vent.

Certain parts of every drain system are prone to blockage, so it pays to understand where typical trouble zones might exist before an emergency arises.

Three Hotspots for Drain Clogs

Plugged drains are most likely to occur in three specific places: curved sections of pipes called “traps” that exist underneath sinks, tubs and showers; the internal passages within a toilet; or somewhere inside the main drainpipe leading away from your home.

mjeff1355
12/12/2016 3:46:58 AM

Plunger. After that check your pipes. If you can anything of that then ask help. If I miss a clue I call [url=http://aqualuxdp.net]Plumbers Mississauga[/url] to fix my problem. Or call your some one who knows such things and ask help from him


mjeff1355
12/12/2016 3:46:44 AM

Plunger. After that check your pipes. If you can anything of that then ask help. If I miss a clue I call [url=http://aqualuxdp.net]Plumbers Mississauga[/url] to fix my problem. Or call your some one who knows such things and ask help from him


drainfx
6/3/2015 10:06:02 AM

Looking for a product that will unclog your drain? Try Drain-FX. It's a revolutionary DIY plumbing tool that turns your average faucet into a high pressure drain cleaner. Drain-FX is available for purchase at your local Home Depot, see in store for more details. Or you can purchase online at drain-fx.com


jacksontyler
4/14/2015 8:39:05 PM

Drain cleaning such a tedious but necessary task. Many people try throwing harsh chemicals down their drain, but if there is a total blockage, this can cause more problems than it solves. By learning how to remove blockages and then gently cleaning the drain, it's possible to not have any adverse effects on the environment, your home, or your skin. http://www.royaltrooter.com


cris marti
12/1/2014 2:17:28 AM

Great post! This was extremely helpful and informative. Thank you for sharing. www.draintecmidlandsltd.co.uk


rhodeislandplumber
5/9/2014 1:41:52 PM

Excellent write up. Love the picture. For drain cleaning services in rhode island please visit http://www.rooterman.com/ri


samira
4/7/2014 7:03:23 PM

Has anyone used this tool called DRAIN-FX? Does it have enough pressure to clear the clog?


jack
4/1/2014 4:38:17 PM

Hi, I found this video that helped me a lot to unclog my bathtub without chemicals. A good trick to know, that may probably help you too : http://youtu.be/8xE26WWaYiQ


anabell jones
12/18/2013 10:33:38 AM

Acid is the best way to unclog drains provided there are no toxic chemical used in it. It will definitely save you from a number of headaches while cleaning the drain quickly. http://www.expressplumbing.com.au/maintenance/ cost will also reduce as a result of it.


susannah
11/15/2013 12:52:52 PM

I built a non toxic cleaning service I ran for over a decade teaching many how to clean all kinds of issues using recipes I created. For drains I found 3 easy and inexpensive solutions to problems around getting it clean. 1)Kitchen: invest in one of those metal screens, or make one; they catch it all. 2)Kitchen and bathroom sinks/tubs/shower drains: Using ratio of one to 2 essentially, put in a cup of baking soda on top of the clogged drain, pour about 2 cups of white vinegar on top and watch the show of foaming (non toxic of course), then come back in half an hour to an hour with a kettle of boiling water and pour that on top to wash it all away. 3)I found a great product a couple of years ago. I am not much of a capitalist, but this is actually made in America, inexpensive ($4.00?)and does what it says it will. It's called "Zip-It", has sharp thorn like things on each side of a long plastic stick. It's flexible and strong and bends with the curves of pipes. Stick it in and pull it out; simple!


holler19
11/13/2013 7:46:11 AM

The article leaves out one major problem with using a plunger in a sink or tub: the overflow opening. This connects to the drain and makes it impossible to get any suction or pressure in the drain. I have tried using a wet washcloth to plug the hole but have had mixed results. Any ideas?


jameel.johnson.777
7/16/2013 4:47:42 PM

Clogs are always a pain to fix.  I rember one time I had a toy triangle stuck in our bathtub drain.  It took me a full 4 hours to fish it out. I have been doing <a href="http://www.americasserviceplumber.com/Sewer_drain.html">drain repair in Dallas, TX</a> and the humidity doesn't help either.  Hopefully these tips will help teach me the errors of my ways.


emily2fish
6/12/2013 12:04:55 PM

Also - meant to add that it doesn't scratch anything, since it's plastic. Big plus.


emily2fish
6/12/2013 12:03:14 PM

My favorite "snake" tool for the drain is a 3' long flexible plastic rod (it probably has a real name, can't remember what it is though) with a handle on one end and some small bristles on the other. Cheap from the hardware store. Wouldn't work for big problems (i.e. blocked sewer line) requiring a long cable 'snake,' but I can almost always clear the sink drain without even having to remove the stopper - the plastic rod will fit past it down into the trap, and the bristles grab whatever is stuck in a couple passes.


kahalla
6/12/2013 8:15:10 AM

For pulling hair out of tub and shower sink I always use a bicyvles spoke. Its bended head is big enough to take up a lot of hair and small enough to fit into the holes of any sink, you may fix them to the Spoke by turning it around twice or more und you may pull a lot of hair out of the pipe. Its safe, its handy and its reusable and you can store it almost unseen near its "working place" until the day you need it again.


kahalla
6/12/2013 8:14:42 AM

For pulling hair out of tub and shower sink I always use a bicyvles spoke. Its bended head is big enough to take up a lot of hair and small enough to fit into the holes of any sink, you may fix them to the Spoke by turning it around twice or more und you may pull a lot of hair out of the pipe. Its safe, its handy and its reusable and you can store it almost unseen near its "working place" until the day you need it again.


jacy elsesser
2/16/2012 6:03:46 PM

For slow bath drains because of hair, check out The Drain Claw at www.thedrainclaw.com. You can keep your bath drains open without dangerous chemicals.


mary_4
7/14/2010 9:15:50 AM

Pour 1/2 cup white vinegar & 1/2 cup baking soda into the drain, plug off drain and let it work for 15-30 minutes, then flush with hot water. The vinegar and soda form a non-caustic reaction that clears the drain but you need to do this when you first notice it getting slow, not when it's completely plugged. Never, never use chemicals! Chemicals can eat right through old, weak drain lines and you could end up with a major repair on your hands. I know, we own a plumbing company! You can also try what we call a "blow bag" which are available at the hardware store. It's a rubber balloon that attaches to a garden hose. You put it in the drain and turn on the water, it opens the drain with water pressure. But use caution as this can blow an old, weak line apart too.


paul d._2
3/18/2010 6:45:01 AM

If you've got a gas or electric pressure washer you might be able to clear your clogged main drain faster with a 50- or 100-foot sewer jetter attachment. A sewer jetter can require less physical effort than an electric drain snake because a jetter uses the force of pressurized water to pull itself through the drain, scrub the sides of dirty pipes, break apart clogs, and flush our residue. You can find tips for building or buying a sewer jetter attachment on websites like www.SewerJetGazette.net.


google surfer
3/1/2009 1:10:51 PM

Joe> To remove the foot press drain cover, hold on to the base and unscrew the little nob on top with your other hand. Under there is a slot for a screw driver (I just used a toe nail clipper in the slot w/ a tweezer crossways for torque). Unscrew that, and there is a catch only about 1-2 inches into the drain that is probably clogged with hair and gunk. I'm in a dorm and didn't want maintenance to scold me for trimming my hair in the shower so this is how I spent my morning.. ^_^'


tnaylort
10/30/2008 1:59:25 PM

Thanks for the advice about additives. I just finished reading somewhere else that they were a good idea. I tried the baking soda/vinegar solution but ended up having to remove "the trap" ( http://www.selfhelpandmore.com/plumbing/plumbing-maintenance-unclogging.php). Ah, the joys of being a first time home owner! Long story, but I found out my last tub was painted when the landlord used a snake and scratched the finish off. I didn't know people did that until that happened.


larry_6
10/17/2008 11:50:57 PM

I recently cleared my bathroom drains with a wet/dry shop vac. I got an apple sized glob of hair out. I'm not sure how your particular foot press works but many just unscrew counterclockwise. Your clog may even just be on the bottom of that drain cover and you might get it with your fingers once the cover is off.


jim strotman
10/16/2008 12:14:12 PM

30% Hydrogen Peroxide with a glug of baking soda is my first action which in most cases does the job. It's explosive so stand back. I do that at bed time and in the morning, my drains are as clear as a drunks throat. And it's cheap, clean, and no trouble.


tony_21
2/12/2008 7:48:12 PM

you would not believe the amount of hair caught ina drain, especially if you have daughters! Make yourself a little hook out of soft wire and fish the hair out of the shower drain, same in the outside drain next to the wall of the house. Liquids never block drains - it's the solids like fats and hair that do the damage.


joe_32
1/6/2008 5:14:23 AM

Trying to unclog my tub. Use a snake through the overflow and removed a large glob of hair but still a slow drain. Plunger did not work at the foot press open and close drain. However water poured down the overflow doesn't back up! Gonna try the wet/dry vac at the drain. How do i remove the foot press drain cover to get at the clog?






dairy goat

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Aug. 5-6, 2017
Albany, Ore.

Discover a dazzling array of workshops and lectures designed to get you further down the path to independence and self-reliance.

LEARN MORE