Tired of those pesky blocked drains causing havoc in your home? Before reaching for harsh chemicals or calling a local plumber, you may wish to try some natural DIY drain cleaning recipes. In this article, we’ll share 5 natural drain cleaning solutions. These simple remedies can often clear minor clogs without the harmful effects of commercial drain cleaners.
Please note, while these methods can be effective for minor clogs, it’s crucial to understand their limitations. If you’re dealing with a stubborn clog, extensive tree root infestation, or a broken pipe, seeking professional help from a qualified plumber like Swan’s Professional Plumbing is always the safest and most effective option!
Common causes of blocked drains
Before diving into DIY solutions, let’s explore some of the most common causes of clogged drains:
- Hair and soap scum: Hair and soap scum are the leading culprits of clogged bathroom drains. Hair can quickly accumulate around the drain opening and trap other debris, leading to a blockage. Soap scum—a combination of soap residue and minerals in hard water—can also build up on the inside of pipes and restrict water flow.
- Grease and food waste: Grease and food scraps are common offenders in kitchen sink drains. When poured down the drain, they solidify and adhere to the inside of pipes, eventually causing a clog.
- Foreign objects: Toys, jewellery, and other small objects can fall into drains and cause blockages. This is especially common in households with young children.
- Tree roots: Tree roots can grow into sewer lines and breakthrough pipes, causing significant damage and leading to severe clogs.
- Mineral build-up: Hard water containing high levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium can leave deposits on the inside of pipes, gradually restricting water flow and eventually leading to a clog.
- Pipe corrosion: Over time, pipes can corrode due to age, rust, or chemical damage. This can cause the pipes to narrow or collapse, leading to blockages.
Improper installation: Improperly installed pipes can have dips or sags that trap debris and cause clogs.
It is important to acknowledge and address these causes of clogged drains before attempting to fix a clogged drain with a DIY drain cleaner. More severe clogs, such as those caused by tree roots, may require a CCTV drain camera inspection first!
5 Natural drain cleaners
Now that you understand the most common culprits of clogged drains, here are some effective natural solutions you can try at home:
1. Boiling water
This simple method can be surprisingly effective for dissolving grease clogs that often build up in kitchen sink drains. Boil a kettle of water and carefully pour it down the affected drain. The hot water will melt the grease and allow it to flow freely. Repeat the process if necessary.
2. Baking Soda and Vinegar
This classic combination is a natural fizzing agent that can help break down and loosen organic matter in your drains. To make this homemade drain cleaner, combine half a cup of baking soda with a cup of white vinegar in a jug and pour it down the drain. The mixture will fizz and bubble, creating a reaction that can dislodge the clog. Let it sit for 30 minutes, then flush the drain with hot water.
3. Salt and hot water
Salt and hot water is another quick and easy drain cleaner recipe. Salt is another abrasive material that can help scrub away grime and break down blockages. Pour half a cup of salt down the drain, followed by a kettle of boiling water. The salt will help scour the insides of the pipes, while the hot water will flush away debris.
4. Wire coat hanger
If you suspect a hair clog, a straightened wire coat hanger can be a useful tool for removing it. Straighten the hanger and bend one end into a small hook. Carefully insert the hook into the drain and try to fish out the hair clog. Once you’ve removed as much hair as possible, flush the drain with hot water.
5. Natural enzyme drain cleaners
These commercially available cleaners contain enzymes that break down organic matter in your drain pipes, preventing clogs from forming. They are a good option for monthly maintenance and prevention.
How to prevent blocked drains
While DIY solutions can be helpful, the best way to deal with drain clogs is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Here are some tips:
- Avoid pouring grease or oil down the drains. Instead, let it solidify in a container, and dispose of it in the rubbish bin.
- Install drain covers in your sinks and showers to catch hair and other debris. Regularly clean the covers to prevent build-up.
- Flush drains regularly with hot water.
- Use a natural drain cleaners monthly to help break down organic matter.
- Be mindful of what you flush down the toilet. Avoid flushing things like wipes, paper towels, or feminine hygiene products. These items can easily clog your drain and cause costly repairs.
- Clean your PVC traps regularly. These are located under your sinks and are designed to catch debris before it enters the main sewer line. Regularly cleaning the traps can help prevent clogs and keep your drains flowing freely.
- Inspect your pipes for leaks or cracks. Leaking or cracked pipes can allow water to seep into the surrounding soil and cause foundation problems. If you suspect a water pipe leak, call a professional plumber immediately.
- Schedule regular drain maintenance. Having your drains professionally cleaned and inspected every year can help prevent serious problems and save you money in the long run.
Did you know? Swan’s Professional Plumbing members receive a FREE plumbing health check each year. Learn more about our membership program.
When to call a plumbing professional
While DIY drain cleaning methods can be effective for minor clogs, there are situations where calling a professional plumber is the best option.
Here are some signs that indicate it’s time to call for help:
- The clog is severe and won’t budge with DIY methods.
- You hear gurgling sounds or experience slow drainage throughout your home.
- You suspect a leak or other serious plumbing problem.
- You have no experience with plumbing repairs.
Remember: Don’t hesitate to contact a qualified plumber like Swan’s Professional Plumbing if you encounter a stubborn clog or any other plumbing problem. We have the expertise and equipment to diagnose the issue accurately and fix it quickly and efficiently.
Get in contact with Swan’s Professional Plumbing
If despite all best efforts with our DIY drain cleaner recipes you can’t get the clog to budge, it’s time to call in the experts. Give us a call on 1300 634 581 or book a plumber online. Don’t let a clogged drain disrupt your life. Chat to the experts at Swan’s Professional Plumbing for a quick and reliable solution.