How to Clean Out Clogged Drains Without Using Chemicals!

Sewer camera inspection

Hair: the number one clogger of drains in residential areas. Even in a house where there lives just the two of us, every few months, you can turn on the shower and the base of the shower will just start to fill up. The drain is usually working just extremely slowly and definitely not enough to keep up with the flow of water that needs to drain as the shower runs. It’s very frustrating and drain cleaners are so expensive and full of chemicals.

Keeping your drains clean seems like such an unimportant part of keeping house but it is a lot more critical than we realize. Not only do they stink when they are clogged and can grow mold and fungus and other unfriendly substances, if our drains are clogged and dirty, a number of things can happen:

  1. They can attract pests and insects or even rodents that can come into the house.

  2. Obstructions can grow and cause pipe damage which eventually affects the structure of the home.
  3. Water flow is obstructed, hurting the recycling process as water doesn’t filter down properly.

And those are just a few things!

So, I tried out the following concoction and absolutely loved it! It works!


1/2 cup baking soda

1/2 cup vinegar

Two quarts boiling water.

  1. Begin by pouring the baking soda directly into the drain. You can use more or less of each ingredient just make sure they are equal parts.

  2. After the baking soda is successful in the drain, pour in the vinegar. This will create a bubbling reaction so placing something as a cover over the drain is a good idea to keep the mixture in.

  3. Let that sit for about 30 minutes while you boil the water in a pot on the stove. After the 30 minutes has passed, pour the entire pot of water down the drain. You may have to do this several times depending on how blocked your drains are.

  4. After unblocking your drains, try and do this process about once a month and it will work great as a preventative against build up in your drains.

  5. I have read about suggestions of cutting notches into a zip tie and then using the zip tie to pull hair out of the drain before using the baking soda and vinegar mixture but I have never had much success with it myself. However, I could be doing it wrong!

Here’s another variation of chemical free drain cleaner for you to try. This is for when your drains are severely blocked and the baking soda and vinegar alone isn’t working.


1/4 cup baking soda

1/4 cup salt

1/4 cup cream of tartar

2 cups boiling water

The baking soda and salt help to break down whatever is in the drain in the cream of tartar is a natural metal cleanser.

  1. The first thing that you want to do is clean the drain itself is much as possible using a paper towel to remove any food or hair.

  2. You’ll need to mix together all of the ingredients besides the water. Shake well before pouring the mixture down the drain.

  3. As opposed to the other cleaner, where the mixture sits alone, with this one you will immediately follow with boiling water and let the whole sit there for about an hour before rinsing with cool water.

  4. If you feel it’s necessary you can follow with the baking soda and vinegar mixture and let it sit overnight before rinsing with boiling water in the morning.

These are some pretty much major drain cleaners so if these two mixtures together do not work to unblock your drains and you see no difference in your water drainage, it may be time to call in the big guns and have a professional take a look at your pipes and make sure there are no obstructions.

While pipe repair
may sound like a hassle, there is such a thing called trenchless plumbing where the plumber doesn’t have to dig anything up and can replace your pipes, if needed through the drain. Usually they used a sewer camera inspection before hand to find out where the obstruction is.

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