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Green Alternatives for Unclogging Drains


A reader at green-home blog Re-Nest asked the community for some green alternatives to the drain-cleaning chemicals found in Drano. The chemicals tend to work pretty well, but for good reason, some people prefer a gentler, safer or more natural approach.

The questioner claims to have tried a common earth-friendly approach — baking soda and vinegar — to no avail, but many commenters said that combo, along with some boiling-hot water mixed in, often will do the job for simple backed-up drains. That is, mix baking soda and vinegar to get that bubbling effect and follow it with a large quantity — more than a teapot — of boiling water. Try repeating once or twice.

A few folks talked about using Earth Enzymes, a natural approach that breaks down solid organic matter that’s clogging your pipes, or a product called Drainbo (sounds similar to Drano, but it takes a very different, very earth-friendly approach).

For some clogs, though, nothing — not even the harsher chemicals — with break it down. You need to take a more aggressive approach and physically unclog the drain. Your local hardware store will have a variety of tools called snakes, which can wiggle their way through the bends of a drain and force their way through a tough stoppage. And some folks swear by high-power air gun that attempt to literally blast their way through clogs.

Photo courtesy of j botter on Flickr