Clogs can be a very frustrating struggle for homeowners, whether it's a backed up kitchen sink or a slow draining bathroom sink. I truly understand the frustration and know how easy it is to reach for that chemical drain cleaner to fix the problem. But what if you are creating an even bigger problem? Chemical drain cleaners can actually do damage to your pipes creating other more extensive problems than just a clog. Below I mention the reasons for avoiding these chemical cleaners and have also listed some safer alternatives.
Why avoid chemical drain cleaners?
In older copper pipes these caustic drain cleaners can cause deterioration. In plastic pipes, the damage results from the heat which is created during the chemical process. The heat can warp or even melt a pipe, which can lead to leaks and further costly plumbing issues. And last, but not least, these chemicals are also toxic to you and your family, bad for the environment, as well as septic systems, and when exposed to any natural stone surface (i.e. granite sink) they can cause etching which permanently damages the surface.
What are some alternatives to chemical drain cleaners?
You can actually make a homemade drain cleaner using products that you likely already have around your home. Combining vinegar which is acidic, and baking soda, a natural cleaner, can work together to clear your drain. Mix equal parts vinegar and baking soda (1 cup each). You’ll want to put them together over the drain. Once combined these two will fizz. The bubbles need to overflow into the sink basin. Let this sit for an hour or overnight and then flush the drain with hot water. This is a great technique for slow drains and can be repeated if needed.
Another technique uses a bent wire hanger. This can be a useful tool to pull hair out of the first few inches of the drain. The bend in the wire hanger works like a hook to fish out hair. Use caution when doing this so that you avoid scratching your sink.
If neither of the first two options work you may need to try a plumber’s auger. This tool can be found at your local hardware or home improvement store. To use an auger you’ll insert the tip into the drain and push until it meets resistance. Then tighten the auger screw, holding the cable in place and turn the crank to push the auger down farther into the drain. You’ll need to continue doing this until it pierces the clog. Pull the auger out at this time and let the water run down the drain.
What if none of these options work?
If you still have a clogged drain after trying the above alternatives and you are in the Orlando area, call the professional plumbers at Michael's Plumbing. It’s better to have a professional take a look at the problem and fix it before it becomes a bigger, more costly issue. At Michael’s Plumbing, we’ve seen it all and can fix even your worst clog! Give us a call at (407) 219-9772.