When we have clogged drains, different things can be responsible for the clogging, and they can be narrowed down to these four things:
- Fats, oil and grease (FOG): These substances are the most common cause of clogging amd they have a very deceptive mode of operation. They go down the drain in almost liquid form (like melted fat or butter). This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when they travel further, they cool and begin to accumulate in pipes. This gradual accumulation eventually clogs up the pipe.
- Food particles: This isn’t hard to picture, food particles such as vegetable peels and grains can easily block pipes. They get stuck in the curved region of pipe beneath the sink (known as the p trap) preventing the free flow of water.
- Soap scum: Soap residue can gradually accumulate in drains and cause clogging. Too much of this accumulation can corrode pipes. It’s much more common in bathroom drains.
- Hair: Hair is the number one reason why bathroom drains get clogged. They quickly accumulate beneath drains, and they can be quite tricky to get out.
We often resort to chemical drain cleaners for a quick fix. These chemicals can damage your skin and eyes if carelessly used. When used to clean drains, these cleaners wash into the sewage system and affect the environment in terrible ways.
They are capable of disrupting the delicate balance of nature. They kill sensitive plants, cause mutation in animals and damage their habitat. These chemicals sometimes can corrode your PVC pipes, and that will cost you extra to get them repaired.
There are simple and effective greener solutions you can use to unclog your drains without using harmful chemicals. Here are some natural sink and drain unblockers. Dive in!
Natural Drain & Sink Unblockers
- Use a plunger
Sometimes, all we need is the right tool for the job and a little more effort. To no surprise, plungers are effective in clearing clogged drains with debris or other particles. Clear the area to avoid splashes and pour just a little warm water into the drain and start plunging. The plunger dislodges the particles blocking the pipe, and the warm water lets them flow off.
- Hot water and dish soap
This soapy solution works best again fats, oil and grease. You will be amazed by how much this simple solution of soap and water can be effective. Hot water works fine in clearing drains, but when it is combined with detergent, it gets an extra boost.
Detergents have surfactant which dissolves fat, grease and oil forming micelles in water. This helps wash away all the grease and gunk that is blocking your drain.
Use about 3-4 litres of water (or as much as you desire) to boil and squirt a good amount of the soap into the drain. Then slowly add hot water to the sink. You can also mix the soap and the water before pouring it straight into the drain. You may have to use this solution more than once if it doesn’t clear the drain right away. You can do this regularly to prevent clogging in the future.
- Hydrogen Peroxide and baking soda.
Hydrogen peroxide has an extensive range of applications. This humble, almost colourless liquid is used as a bleaching agent, antiseptic and an oxidant. This makes it very useful in cleaning stains. It breaks down organic matter, and this makes it helpful in clearing clogged drains. Hydrogen peroxide is available in most pharmacies and stores. It can be used without baking soda, but it will take more applications to get the desired result.
To clear your drains with hydrogen peroxide, start by pouring a cup of baking soda down into the clogged drain and wait for a few minutes. Use a 3% strength hydrogen peroxide (you can mix equal volumes of water to 6% strength hydrogen peroxide to get this concentration). Slowly pour a cup of it down the drain.
This combo of baking soda and peroxide scours away dirt and grime and slowly disintegrates the substances blocking the drain. After a few hours, pour some hot water to wash away the remaining dirt.
This can also be done regularly to keep your drains free of any blockages.
- Biological enzyme cleaners.
These cleaners are perfect for getting rid of organic materials such as hair, FOG and other food particles. They are generally composed of different enzymes and beneficial bacteria that breakdown different organic matter. They are safe for homes with septic systems and can last for up to 80 hours after use.
They are much safer for the environment than other chemical cleaners. An added advantage of using these cleaners is that they are capable of eliminating malodours.
Mix the enzyme cleaner with lukewarm water (with the amount of water as instructed in the packaging) and pour the mixture into the drain. It may take many hours for the effects of the cleaner to begin to show, depending on how much your drain is clogged. Generally, you should leave it overnight in the sink or much longer. Afterwards, pour some hot water (as always) in the drain to flush out the remaining material down the drain.
- Use a drain auger
Sometimes a plunger may not be good enough to remove the clog. This is the time for the drain auger or drain snake to shine. The drain snake is a long flexible auger used to remove clogs that are too difficult for the plunger. The auger is about ¼ inches thick and has a helical blade at the end to cut up clogs and loosen them. The snake is long enough to reach any clog down your drain. It can be used manually or mechanically with the aid of a motor.
Crank the snake down the drain till you feel the clog obstructing it. Twist and turn the snake to break up and loosen the clog. The work is more comfortable with a motor attached to it.
Anything that doesn’t go through the sink can be pulled out with the snake. Finally, use warm water to flush all the dirt down the drain.
Last Word If you try or have tried all these methods and your drain is still blocked, you will require the aid of professionals. Feel free to contact us to get your drain unclogged and much more.