It's never fun to unclog bathroom drains… My bathtub was semi-clogged recently. I hate having sloshing water at my feet when I am in the shower. (Who does?) So, I tried the only natural method I know, since commercial drain cleaner has Sodium Hydroxide, which is a very caustic substance, bleach and other chemicals that I wouldn't want in the house.
Listen to my conversation with Green Diva Meg in this Green Divas at Home episode for non-toxic fixes to common bathroom issues… then read on for more details.
There are various methods of using baking soda and vinegar to unclog a drain. But this method seems to work the best for me.
How to unclog bathroom drains
1. Pour ½ cup of baking soda into the drain followed by hot boiling water. Sodium bicarbonate – baking soda – and hot water reacts with any kind of grime and loosens up the gunk.
2. Then, add 1 cup of vinegar and quickly cover the drain, sealing the bubbling gas – remember the erupting volcano experiment for Middle School science project? When you add vinegar (acid) to baking soda (basic), which is sitting on top of the gunk in the clogged drain, the combination creates gas and it bubbles up like a volcano, loosening up the gunk some more. If you have a hole on the side of the sink or tub, you can close that off too for better result but I never had to.
3. Add more hot water to push the loosened up gunk down the drain further, until it's all clear. You may have to repeat this procedure a few times before you start seeing all the black gunk come up.
Normally, a few times, if not less, should do it. But if this non-toxic method to unclog bathroom drains doesn't work, you may need some help. You may need to physically remove the gunk, the old fashion way.
For stubborn clogs
1. If the drain is still clogged, run the faucet with hot water until the water pools about 3 inches on the bottom of the tub.
2. Take a small plunger, made for sinks and NOT for the toilet, and push down and seal around the rubber ring completely against the bottom of the tub or the sink. And then, with one swift motion, lift the plunge quickly.
3. Repeat if necessary, until the water drains. Since I used the baking soda and vinegar method to loosen up the gunk in steps one through three, I only had to use the plunger once and all the black gunk came up and then drained completely, unclogging the tub. And don't be shocked at all the black, nasty gunk that the drain throws up. Not pretty.
Also, to prevent drains from clogging, pour about ½ cup of baking soda in the drain, followed by hot boiling water. I occasionally do this…if I remember….and if I'm motivated.
OK, I'm going to do that from now on and not wait until it clogs.
And buy a smaller holed strainer for the drain to catch all my hair.
Bonus: Listen to this GD Product Picks episode for valuable info about the importance of organic cotton plus a review of two brands of organic towels and an organic bathmat.
Written by Green Diva Karen (Dr. Karen Lee) for The Green Divas.
Image via j. botter