Blocked drains may seem innocuous enough, but if you’ve had to go through the ordeal of manually clearing a blocked drain before, or you’ve had to call in an emergency plumber at an ungodly hour as you watch your sink overflow with murky water, you will know well how painful a blocked drain can be. As a result, most households are now armed with some kind of drain cleaning agent to avoid or treat such occurrences.
What most people don’t realise is that the most popular drain cleaners on the market are made from extremely harsh and harmful chemicals. Chemicals like caustic potash, peroxide and bleach are commonly found in drain cleaning agents, and though effective when it comes to cleaning a blockage, they can be incredibly harmful to not only the drain fixture itself, but also to the environment and to your health.
When the instructions on chemical cleaners are not followed, they can cause chemical explosions, which are generally far more problematic than the original blockage, and will require immediate assistance from a professional plumber.
Another ill effect of misused chemical drain cleaners is the release of noxious fumes, which can be very detrimental to your health. Chemical cleaners are also known to destroy the good bacteria that reside in drains, which play a significant role in keeping septic systems working at their best.
Natural Drain Cleaning Solution
The good news is, there are a few natural alternatives to these well-known chemical cleaners that are much gentler on your drain and the environment and can be just as effective as their chemical counterparts.
If you aren’t able to remove the blockage manually (definitely the most favourable option), you should try one of the following methods.
One of the most simple and effective solutions for clearing a blocked drain is a straightforward household mixture. The ingredients can be found in most kitchens and they are all totally harmless to your drain, your health and the environment.
Pour one cup of baking soda down your drain, follow this with half a cup of white vinegar. Leave the mixture to settle for approximately 15 minutes, and then flush the drain with a kettle of boiling water.
If you don’t fancy wasting your white vinegar, and you have a little time up your sleeve, you could try an enzymatic cleaner. Such cleaners are kind to the environment and will continue to benefit your drain and septic system. Essentially, this variety of cleaner contains enzymes (also known as small bacteria) that are attracted to organic materials (like the ones inhabiting and blocking your drain) and eat through them. They then reproduce and continue their good work, this ensures your drain and septic system remain clear and healthy in the future. Unfortunately they aren’t fast acting, so will take a few hours to effect change, and they can be difficult to get your hands on. If you manage to find an enzymatic cleaner, and can give your drain a few hours to clear, this is definitely a great natural solution.
If none of these options sound enticing, do your best to keep your drain clear of fats, hair and any food scraps. Prevention after all, is better than a cure.