If you're still using chemical drain cleaners, you may be hurting your plumbing without even realizing it. Many professional plumbing contractors recommend avoiding chemical cleaners entirely.
Fortunately, with a few simple tricks, you can keep your drains clear and save your plumbing at the same time. Here are three safe and effective alternatives to chemical drain cleaners.
1. Baking Soda & Vinegar
Cleaning your drains with baking soda and vinegar is an easy and useful alternative since there's a good chance you already have these products in your home. The acid-base reaction of baking soda and vinegar produces bubbling water and carbon dioxide that dislodges dirt and grime inside your drains.
To use this method, pour a pot of boiling water into the clogged drain and follow it with a cup each of baking soda and vinegar. Plug the drain, let the chemical reaction work for around ten minutes, and then add one more pot of boiling water to flush away loose debris.
2. Enzyme Cleaners
Chemical reactions are only one tool in the savvy homeowner's arsenal for fighting drain clogs. Enzymatic cleaners rely on entirely different principles to remove clogs with no caustic chemicals. Instead, enzyme cleaners use cultured bacteria and proteins known as enzymes to break down organic matter in your drains.
The byproducts of using enzyme cleaners are harmless to the environment. In fact, the "good bacteria" in enzyme cleaners can even enhance septic tank efficiency for homes that have them! Enzyme cleaners also produce no harmful fumes, although they can still cause eye and skin irritation with direct contact.
3. Wet/Dry Vacuum
Many homeowners save the wet/dry vacuum as a last-ditch effort for removing stubborn clogs before they call in a professional. If you don't own a wet/dry vac already, drain cleaning is a perfect reason to consider a single-day rental.
Using a wet/dry vacuum to clean your drains is easy. Simply cover the area around the drain with towels to prevent splashing, and feed the vacuum hose into your drain. You will hear a distinct change in the sound of the motor when the vacuum starts to suction grime out of the drain. Moving the hose up and down in the drain can also help to break up debris and clean the drain from all angles.
With these drain cleaning tips, you can remove a majority of drain clogs without using toxic chemicals. If you are faced with a clog you can't remove on your own, call a professional plumber and save your drains by avoiding chemical cleaners.
When you have a plumber come work on your home, we hope you thank them. Really, you should be thanking any contractor who works on your home, but we are a little partial to plumbers and happen to think they deserve a little more recognition. After all, the stuff inside the pipes they work on doesn't usually smell very good. And even though they wear gloves, they have to get pretty close to it! If you would like to learn a little more about plumbers, then we invite you to read this blog. After learning the basics, you'll really want to thank your plumbers!