Q: Can you write an article about drain cleaners/decloggers. I have not been able to find any “Eco Friendly” drain cleaners that really work effectively. I don’t like the idea of using “Draino” (sic) and other nasty chemicals on my drains… Thank you. -Dan
A: You got it, Dan! We’ve been curious about this ourselves.
The problem with some drain openers is that they contain a large amount of chemicals that are very effective in doing the job, but also may be harmful to the environment.
The good news is there are several “green” drain openers on the market, like a biodegradable version of SC Johnson’s famed Drano and an all-natural, organic bacterial product called Super Digest-It by Unique Marketing and Manufacturing.
Good old fashioned elbow grease may be the best answer here. Mechanical drain openers can be found at any home goods or hardware store. These gadgets don’t use chemicals at all and can be just as effective as harsh chemicals.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency helped us out with this one, too. Basically, it says no consumer drain openers qualify for their eco-label program, but a handful of bacterial-based drain maintainers are available for commercial kitchens.
So unless you’re running your own kitchen, you probably won’t be able to use any of the green drain maintainers suggested by the EPA.
However, there are far more eco-friendly drain maintainers on store shelves than drain openers. Heck, even TerraCycle makes an all-natural and certified non-toxic drain maintainer packaged in a bottle salvaged from the waste stream.
The difference between a drain maintainer and a drain opener is that drain openers need to be more powerful to break up already clogged drains, while drain maintainers simply clean drains and keep them free of clogs.
The idea is if you keep your drains in working order using products like TerraCycle’s Natural Drain Maintainer and Cleaner you might never have to worry about finding a drain opener.
Earth911.com’s Ask The Editor series tackles your toughest environmental and recycling dilemmas. If you have a question about reducing, reusing or recycling, e-mail the editors[at]earth911.com or send us a message via Facebook or Twitter.