Clogged bathtub, toilet, or kitchen sink? You might be tempted to try to clear it yourself with homemade drain cleaners, but are they really the way to go?
Homemade drain cleaners may be safer for your drains than chemicals, but they simply can’t be relied on to get the job done. In this article, we’re gonna debunk one of the most common homemade drain cleaners and talk about some alternatives methods you can try. If you stick it out ‘til the end, we’ll even teach you how to prevent clogged drains in the first place!
Can Vinegar and Baking Soda Clear Your Drains?
Baking soda and vinegar can help keep your drains free of odors, but they don’t clear clogs. Maybe you remember doing experiments with baking soda and vinegar as a child, and you saw how they reacted explosively when in a sealed chamber like a bottle. That’s all good and well, but your drain isn’t a sealed vacuum, so the reaction can’t create the same pressure as it would in a bottle. Not only that, but the actual chemical reaction of baking soda (a base) and vinegar (an acid) just creates salty water and some carbon dioxide, neither of which is gonna unclog your stubborn drain.
Are Chemical Cleaners Safe for Your Drains?
Chemical cleaners, such as Drano, can cause irreversible damage to your pipes and hurt the environment. Harsh chemicals can wear down old pipes, and when used in plastic pipes (like PVC, which is a common pipe in newer homes), it creates heat and warps or even melts the pipes.
Not sure what pipes your home has? Click here!
Not only are these chemicals bad for your pipes, but they mess up the balance of good bacteria in your septic system. This bacteria helps break down waste, and by disturbing that balance, you can make your plumbing problems worse.
What’s worse than using chemical cleaners in your drains? Using them repeatedly. It’s bad enough when you’ve used chemicals to try to clear a stubborn clog once, but when you experience frequent slow drains and rely on chemicals to clear them, you’re just asking for pipe trouble!
If you’re still convinced you wanna try clearing your clog or slow drain yourself, please be careful! Certain materials can be extremely dangerous to combine. Do NOT mix bleach and ammonia, and do NOT mix bleach and sodium hydroxide. These kinds of chemicals combine to create toxic fumes that put you and others nearby at risk. As with any DIY type of solution, do your research and exercise caution.
How Can You Clear a Drain Without Cleaner?
1. Pour Hot Water Down the Drain:
One of the best ways to clear a clogged drain without cleaner or chemicals is with hot water. If you use really hot water to flush out a drain, it can help melt grease and break down the gunk clogging your pipe. This is easy to try and can help break down a lot of grease related clogs!
2. Use a Plunger:
Hot water still not doing the trick? You could always try a plunger! Plungers help put pressure on the clog if it’s refusing to budge. Stores offer different styles of plungers, including ones with long handles for toilets and ones with short handles for sinks.
3. Try a Plumbing Snake
If you’re still struggling with your clog but you’re set on sticking to a DIY method, the last thing we recommend is that you buy a drain snake. These are special sticks that you can maneuver down your drain to try to grab anything that’s jammed in your pipes, allowing you to pull it out and throw it away instead. Just know, the kinds of plumbing snakes that you can buy in the store aren’t as strong or as long as a professional plumber’s auger.
4. Call Morris-Jenkins
Hot water, plunger, and drain snake not working? Give us a call!
If that stubborn clog refuses to leave with the help of home remedies, we can clear it! Our plumbers are trained in dealing with all kinds of tricky clogs, and they know exactly the tricks to use to get your water draining like normal again. We even offer a $77 Drain Special, where we’ll send one of our plumbers to your home and they’ll cable up to 75 feet of drains for only $77. That clears most clogs!
How to Prevent Clogged Drains
Did you know you shouldn’t flush a dead goldfish? And eggshells shouldn’t go down the sink?
Prevention is always better than a cure! If you’re trying to avoid clogs in your drains, we recommend educating yourself on all the things you shouldn’t put down your sink or toilet. A good starting place? Check out our blog article: Wait! Don’t Flush That!
Sometimes, clogs still happen, and when they do, we’re only a call away!