How to Unclog Your Drain Without Chemical Cleaners

Do your drains bubble, smell, gurgle, or backup? If you have clogged drains, you might be tempted to turn to harsh, chemical cleaners, but this isn’t always a good idea. Here are some safer alternatives that can make it easier to fix your clogged drains.

The Trouble With Chemical Drain Cleaners

The main problem with these cleaners is that they generate a lot of heat while chewing through the clog. Especially if you get a clog in the same spot over and over again, these repeated applications of high heat can weaken your pipes. Eventually, you can end up with warped pipes that are more likely to break.

Chemical drain cleaners can also be risky. They’re made from caustic chemicals that dissolve organic material. If the cleaner splashes back on you while you’re using it, you can easily get chemical burns. Furthermore, research has shown that releasing these cleaners into the water table can cause problems for your local ecosystem.

Manual Options for Drain Unclogging

So how can you unclog a drain without using a drain cleaner? One option is to just remove the clog manually. This involves pulling or pushing out the clog, so it no longer clogs your pipes. Here are a few techniques you can try.


Plungers work by shoving a bubble of air or a wave of water down your pipe. This force knocks into the clog, breaking it into smaller clumps that can flow down your drain. Using a plunger is as easy as placing it over the drain and pushing it back and forth. Just make sure you select the right type since certain plungers are shaped to work with specific drain openings.

Opening Your Drain

For sinks, tubs, or other drains with a stopper, you can try opening up the top of the drain. Depending on the type of stopper you have, you might need to unscrew it, unclip it, or pull it off. Check for hair wound around the stopper, and use your hands or pliers to pull out any clogs you see at the top of the drain.

Drain Snakes

If none of these options have worked, it’s time to pull out the drain snake. This is the choice most professional maintenance people use. You can get a drain auger from your local hardware store, or you can make a DIY version by pushing an unwound wire hanger into the drain. Some drain snakes have a hook to help pull the clog back out, while others are designed to break up the clog into smaller pieces.

Natural Alternatives to Unclogging Your Drain With Chemicals

Don’t want to tinker around with tools? You can also try a DIY drain cleaner made with natural ingredients. These are safer to use, so they’re less likely to cause damage that needs repair. Since they’re so gentle, you can also use them regularly as a form of maintenance. Pouring them down the drain each winter can help keep small clogs from turning into big problems.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

One simple option is pouring a lot of baking soda down the drain and then adding vinegar. This creates a fizzy, bubbly reaction that can help push smaller clogs through your drain. Just avoid adding too much, or your kitchen can be overrun with bubbles. Half a cup each of baking soda and vinegar is enough to do the trick.

Hot Water and Dish Soap

Hot water and dish soap function as a degreaser. This can be helpful for breaking up kitchen sink clogs that are filled with congealed fat. Just be cautious about using this method with clogs made of solid grease, because it can melt the oil and cause it to solidify further down the pipes.

Salt, Borax, and Vinegar

Salt, borax, and vinegar can blend together to make a very effective clot breaker. Though it doesn’t fizz as much as baking soda, it can help to dissolve certain types of tough clogs. To use it, blend together a quarter cup each of borax, vinegar, and salt, and pour it down the drain.

If you’ve tried DIY and still have a clogged drain, turn to the professionals. At Clog Wizards, we’re experts at clearing drains. Our team can help with even the toughest messes, and we provide fast, efficient service. To learn more about our drain cleaning, contact us today.