5 Ways to Unclog a Drain Without Using Harmful Chemicals

Everyone’s drains get clogged (yes, even Beyoncé’s). It’s just the nature of life—whether it’s too much gunk in the bathroom sink, a string of hair in the shower drain, or food particles in the kitchen sink. You know the drill: the water starts rising and mixes with all the grossness and you just want to gag. It’s no fun for anyone.

The natural thing to do when a drain gets clogged is to try to unclog it (unless you’re semi-evil and just ignore it for the next person to deal with). But what’s the proper way to do that? You don’t want to throw a whole bunch of chemicals in an area you wash dishes, eat food, or wash your body.

Are there any non-toxic solutions to the problem?

Sure are! Luckily, there are lots of ways to unclog a drain, without using any harmful chemicals. Here are five ways to unclog every type of drain, most that require just a few simple ingredients—many of which you probably already have in your home.

  1. For the kitchen sink: Baking soda, vinegar, and water

    For small kitchen sink clogs, try the baking soda/vinegar trick, which has been unclogging drains for centuries. Just mix together half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of vinegar. Pour that into the clogged drain, then pour in up to four cups of boiling water immediately after. The mixture will break down fat and grease that’s causing the clog, and then the water will flush out the leftover food particles.

  2. For the shower drain: Salt and water

    Shower drains usually get clogged with hair, gunk, dirt, and grease, which can be taken care of with just a half cup of salt, followed by boiling water. The gritty texture of the salt acts like a rough tool to scrape down any of the nasty stuff caught in the sink drain.

  3. For a blocked pipe: Dishwashing detergent

    Tough, but gentle, dishwashing detergent works well to unclog any type of drain. Pour about a half cup into the clogged drain and let it sit for about a half hour. Then chase it with a half a pot of boiling water. Next, run the water down the drain to check if the water is flowing through. Don’t be surprised when it works!

  4. For the eco-friendly cleaner: Live enzyme cleaners

    Most people swear off all household cleaners, but there are actually some that don’t contain any toxic chemicals. Also good for the environment, enzymes are biological compounds that help speed up chemical reactions, so they’re not only eco-friendly, but they’re super effective as well. Some of the most popular brands include Biokleen and Earth Enzymes.

  5. For any drain: Drain basket

    Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest ones. A drain basket will help a clog from starting completely. You can find them pretty much anywhere—online, at home repair stores, Target, Wal-Mart…and they’re super inexpensive to boot!

What’s your tired and true way to unclog a drain? Have you ever used any of these nontoxic ways to get rid of one?