You can prepare your own natural drain cleaner using items from your kitchen and save yourself some money as well as avoid having aggravating chemicals that need to be locked away out of reach of children.
Most commercial drain cleaners use sodium hydroxide (also known as caustic soda or lye) as their active ingredient.
This chemical can cause skin irritation, chemical burns, and even blindness if it comes in contact with eyes. Not particularly good selling points.
So, here’s a natural drain cleaner that’s easily prepared using vinegar and baking soda.
Natural drain cleaner recipe – what you’ll need
- ½ cup baking soda
- ½ cup vinegar
- Boiling water
Procedure: Remove any stoppers (if you can) from the sink drain and if there are obvious hair balls or other obstacles, take those out first using tweezers or your fingers. Pour in the baking soda. There seems to be some variation here, in that some recipes suggest you leave the baking soda there for 3-4 hours while others just say to proceed to the next step of adding the vinegar right away – it’s up to you I suppose. Leaving it can’t hurt. Next, add the vinegar. You will see lots of bubbling action, which is entirely normal. Finally, pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain. At this point, you might see some muck bubble up from the drain as it breaks clear – this is good, as it means it’s working! You can even use a small plunger to try and bring up some of the clog.
Have a look at the process in this video.
While this method works, there is a small population of folks out there who simply can’t stand the smell of vinegar and want to know about alternatives. First of all, you can always add essential oils to the recipe above to mask the vinegar smell. Try this first as it will likely be your easiest and cheapest option.
If you still can’t get past it, there are a number of commercially available natural drain cleaners that use bacterial cultures and natural enzymes to eat away at the clogs in your drain. Here are a few to check out:
- Earth Friendly - Earth Enzymes Drain Opener, helps to clear and maintain free flowing drains using sodium sesquicarbonate, bacterial mixtures, and proteolytic enzymes.
- CitraDrain - was rated #1 by a leading consumer magazine and is safe for use in grey water systems.
- Biokleen Bac-out Drain Care Gel - uses enzymes as well as live bacterial cultures to digest blockages in the drain. It’s gel consistency means it coats well and moves slowly along the passageway.
If you use this natural drain cleaner regularly, you’ll avoid foul smelling odours in your drain as well as the inevitable clogs. However, if you have a clog that can’t be cleared by drain cleaner, it is a good idea to call a plumber as there might be something bigger going on down there!