cheap and natural ways to unclog a drain

I live in a wonderful old San Francisco apartment. Because it’s old, it’s also got quirks. One of those is that the bathroom sink drain regularly clogs. I used to reach for the chemical cleaners. However, now I know better. Here are some of the cheap and natural ways to unclog a drain that I now use instead.

Skip The Chemical Drain Cleaners

Before I knew better, I bought the chemical drain cleaners. I imagine you can think of at least one by name. I had no idea that there was anything wrong with this option. After all, it seemed to unclog the drain just fine. However, over time I learned three key reasons to skip the chemical drain cleaners:

  1. They’re bad for your pipes. Maybe they’re fine to use now and then. But my building has old pipes and I have to unclog this drain regularly. Those chemical cleaners can be really harsh.
  2. The less chemicals in life the better. We are all healthier when we avoid chemicals. There are so many cheap and natural ways to unclog a drain. Why add chemicals to the bathroom unnecessarily?
  3. Drain cleaners are expensive. If you buy them as often as I was, then you notice that the cost adds up. Natural options are so much cheaper.

5 Cheap and Natural Ways to Unclog a Drain

Personally, I’ve discovered a favorite method for unclogging drains. First, I get rid of any standing water in the sink, usually just by scooping it out. Then I add baking soda directly to the drain. After that, I pour distilled white vinegar onto the top of the baking soda. That’s it. The vinegar makes the baking soda bubble up. It breaks up whatever clogs the drain. Therefore, I have a nice clean drain without spending more than a few dollars and a few minutes of my time.

Here are four other options for cheap and natural ways to unclog a drain:

1. Baking Soda and Salt

I haven’t tried this one before. However, HGTV recommends this as one of the best options for unclogging a stubborn drain. Apparently you simply mix 1/2 cup each of baking soda and salt. Then you put that dry solution into the drain. You leave it there for a period of time. Afterwards, you pour boiling hot water down the drain. This should break up the clog. HGTV says that you can also add 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar to the mixture for even better results.

2. Baking Soda and Lemon

First you pour baking soda down the drain. Then you squeeze fresh lemon juice on top of that. Let it sit for a period of time. Once again, pour boiling water down the drain. This should free up the clog.

Note that the dry items help to break up the clog. However, Happy Hiller notes that you might simply try pouring boiling hot water down the drain by itself first.

3. Wire Hanger

Happy Hiller also makes the point that sometimes you need to unclog the drain by dislodging something from inside of it. It’s a messy job but you can use a wire hanger, pliers, and rubber gloves to combat the junk in the drain. Happy Hiller provides detailed instructions if you have to go that route.

4. Wet / Dry Vac

Before you try the wire hanger, Happy Hiller recommends trying a wet and dry vacuum. Assuming that you have one, simply turn it on the highest liquid setting. Then see if you can unclog the drain with that.

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