How to Unclog a Drain without Chemicals

What You'll Need
Drain snake
Air pump
White vinegar
Baking soda
Vitamin C tablets

Discovering that water is not emptying away, once you flush, can make you immediately attempt to unclog a drain by throwing chemicals at the problem. However, knowing how to do the job without chemicals will not only be better for the environment, but can prevent damage to the pipes.

Step 1 – Assess Blockage

The method you use to unclog a drain will depend on the extent of the problem that you have. You may find that you do not have a complete blockage if water merely runs away very slowly or you may have got to a point where there is standing water in the sink.   

Step 2 – Minor Blockages

To unclog a drain that is still allowing a trickle of water through, wait until the sink is empty of water or aid this by bailing the water out with a bucket or other receptacle. Once at this point, break a vitamin C tablet into the plughole before following it up by pouring cold water into the plughole. The effervescent nature of these tablets will help to dislodge any debris clogging the drain. Leave it is place for at least half an hour before rinsing it away by carefully pouring hot water into the drain. In the event that this does not work, pour a tablespoon full of baking soda into the drain – don’t worry if it clumps around the plughole. After this, pour some vinegar into the plughole and leave it to work for at least half an hour before pouring hot water down the drain.       

Step 3 – Major Blockages

In the event that there is standing water in the sink and you cannot get to the plughole, start by using a drain snake to unclog a drain. This piece of equipment is a long thin spiral of wire that is designed to be flexible enough to work its way through the drain. There is a handle at one end that you should keep a tight hold off as you gradually feed the other end into the plughole. Move the drain snake about as much as you are able to dislodge any debris that clinging to the pipes and stop when you feel resistance. If your plughole is sectioned off, withdraw the drain snake and re-insert it into a different hole so that the drain benefits from being worked on from different angles.    

Alternatively, firmly press a cloth to the overflow outlet hole and position a plunger over the plughole before using a short sharp pumping motion to push air through the pipe. You can also make use of an air pump made to unclog a drain – it makes use of a similar pump action as a bicycle pump – which can be of more use in clearing a drain without the use of chemicals. These methods can also be used for minor clogs.