Clearing Blocked Drains By Hand

Reader Contribution by Lindsey Siegele

It’s a gross problem, and nobody likes to talk about it. At one time or another, however, we’re all likely to encounter drain clogs. In my house, it’s an ongoing issue. My husband often regards me as a mutant, as my ability to clog a shower drain once a week is beyond his understanding.

I have a special talent for losing and regrowing my hair. I have about twice as much of it as a normal woman (my hairstylists seem ready to phone the local news station every time they approach my mass of hair), and it falls out constantly. I’ve learned that this isn’t unnatural – humans can lose up to 100 hairs in a single day (Medline Plus). Still, my husband, with his buzz cut, hardly understands the fact that hair-clogged drains are commonplace in our house.

Up until now, we’ve been relying on harsh chemicals to solve this problem. They cost too much, their fumes are bothersome and I constantly fear that my cat, who adores playing in the shower, will be curious enough to ingest some Drano one day. She eats plastic bags, so drinking chemicals might not be a stretch.

I found an article from 2007 called How to Unclog Drains Without Chemicals that has convinced me to stop buying bottles of nasty chemicals to fix our clogs. This piece has in-depth instructions for clearing blocked drains in sinks, showers, toilets and garbage disposals. In my case, the biggest problem has been a lack of understanding for how all of these drains and pipes connect and function. Thanks to Steve Maxwell’s crystal-clear tutorials, it all makes sense now.

And if you’d like to keep your showers, as well as your drains, chemical-free, check out this blog on natural hair care.

Lindsey Siegele is the Senior Web Editor at Ogden Publications, the parent company of MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Find her on .