This is a guest post from Jay Richardson of Richardson Plumbing.
Almost everyone has experienced problems with clogged drains at one time or another. Most people really don’t think about potential issues with their drains until a problem actually occurs. When it does, the reaction of many people is to run out and buy commercial drain cleaners in the hopes of quickly putting an end to the problem. However, there are many things that you should be aware of regarding the use of commercial drain cleaners.
There are a number of reasons that clogged drains occur. Most of the time it is because things are allowed to fall down the drain and obstruct it. Hair and food particles are the most common problems. In addition, drains have a tendency to become clogged from time to time after they have been in use for several years without any routine maintenance.
However, using powerful commercial cleaners can often produce more harm than good. While they very well may quickly unclog drains, they are dangerous to use around young children and pets and they often cause a great deal of damage to drains, sinks or bathtubs when they are poured onto the surfaces. As a result, it is often much safer and more economical to use drain cleaners that you can make at home.
Options For Homemade Drain Cleaners
In order to keep your plumbing in good shape and avoid damage to the pipes that some commercial drain cleaners can cause, you might want to try a variety of nontoxic, homemade drain cleaners. These are safe for use around young children and pets and they do not harm ceramic or plastic tubs and basins. In addition they do not cause damage to the underground water supply. Depending on the severity of the clog and your own personal preferences, you can make homemade drain cleaner using baking soda and vinegar or baking soda and lemon juice. You can also create a drain cleaner by combining salt, borax and vinegar. Borax is a more alkaline than baking soda, and therefore creates a stronger reaction, but there is some controversy over it’s non-toxicity.
The basic formula is to pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain, and follow it up with the same amount of vinegar. Alternatively, mix them together right over your drain and quickly pour down, while they’re bubbling. Now, leave this mixture in your drain for at least forty-five minutes, and better yet, over night. Finish up by flushing with copious amounts of boiling or at least hot water.
The best thing about creating a homemade drain cleaner is that you can find these ingredients in virtually any store and it is inexpensive. If you have never done this, you are likely to be surprised at the amount of stuff that is boiled out of the drains. To say the least, it is usually an impressive sight. If you want to get the same effect and you like your home to have a fresh citrus smell, you can combine baking soda and a cup of lemon juice.
If you find that you need something that packs a little bit more of a punch though, you can try combining cup of salt with cup of borax and cup of vinegar. This combination can often unclog drains that you have not been able to successfully unclog using other methods. Of course, it is important to remember that you should always follow up each of these efforts with large amounts of hot water.
Other Drain Cleaning Options
Sometimes you may be able to unclog a drain with nothing more than boiling water. It is important to use caution when doing this in order to avoid burning yourself or someone who is standing nearby when you pour the water down the drain. Also be careful that you do not cause cracks in plastic basins or tubs with excessively hot water. Unfortunately, there are times when there is no amount of product that you can put down the drain to unclog it. Sometimes it is necessary that you snake the drain or call an experienced plumber if the situation worsens. But hey, there’s no shame in calling in a little help every now and then!
In most cases, by using one of the three options listed above you will be able to unclog drains and keep them smelling fresh without the use of harsh chemicals. This provides the best of both worlds, as it keeps your drains in good condition and it allows you to use nontoxic products that are friendly for the environment and safe for children and pets.
About the Author: Jay Richardson is owns Richardson Plumbing in Greater Cincinnati Ohio. He always recommends his clients go green with plumbing, choosing environmentally friendly, non-toxic methods of clearing clogs and caring for their pipes in general. He recommends these safe, organic methods because they are good for your health and good for the environment!