Eco friendly drain clog solutions

Do you get a sinking feeling in your stomach when you go to use the sink or tub and the water doesn’t drain? Is your sink clogged — or slow slow slow? It is in moments like these that even the greenest among us might feel a need to use chemical drain cleaners. Yes, they may contain sodium hydroxide, a caustic soda — but what other option is there besides calling a costly plumber? Are there drain clog solutions that don’t harm the environment?

Safer drain clog solutions

Invented by a master plumber, Drain-FX was created for situations like these, giving people without major plumbing skills the ability to clear their own plumbing blockages. It has the ability to clear most clogs in seconds, including food, sand, and fat. Drain-FX can also be used for regular home plumbing maintenance a couple of times a year, removing debris thus preventing blockages from even occurring. To use Drain-FX simply;

  1. Remove the sink aerator and attach the product adapter to the faucet, connect the included hose to the adapter, and then feed the other end of the hose down the drain to the drain trap. This is the U or S-shaped drain under the sink that keeps sewer gas from entering your home. 
  2. Then turn on the water to full pressure, and the high water pressure created by the hose and adapter should push the plumbing debris or blockage down through the drain.

The Drain-FX system is basically a pressure washer that connects to your sink, creating the water pressure needed to remove most blockages without chemicals or opening up the pipes. The high-velocity water actually washes away the blockage. Drain-FX also makes a kit created for removing tub and shower blockages with a longer hose that runs from the sink or shower head.

What people are saying about Drain-FX

When consumer reports ran their tests, Drain-FX was able to remove fat and sand, but only made headway on a hair clog. Gary Sullivan who has a radio home improvement show praised the Drain-FX product. “I have stumbled upon the coolest new tool called Drain-FX that is all about making difficult projects easy,” he said. “I used it 2-3 weeks ago and it does what it says. It is like a pressure washer for a drain and you can also clean that over-flow while you are at it!”

Keeping chemical drain cleaners out of the home

This product is a game changer for homeowners and renters, who typically use chemical drain cleaners to clear slow or clogged drains. According to Consumer Reports, this is a $288 million a year industry with many down sides. Unfortunately, drain cleaners are often ineffective in removing the blockage and debris, especially when in more advanced stages.

As the skull and crossbones on drain cleaners may indicate, they are poisonous and potentially unsafe with improper use. In fact, it can cause nasty chemical burns if it comes in contact with the skin or eyes and can create a hazardous gas if it comes into contact with other cleaning supplies or a different type of chemical drain cleaner. Such products should always be stored in a place that is not accessible to children or pets. Drain cleaning chemicals also enter into the sewer system and can end up in waterways, where they can hurt wildlife. In addition, many drain cleaners are highly corrosive and can harm your plumbing system (mostly commonly the drain trap), by causing them to deteriorate.

Slightly braver people than myself may try to clear blockages by removing the drain trap. This can be highly effective and is an safer alternative to drain cleaners, but requires a higher level of skill and can be somewhat messy. A leak can develop under the sink if the trap is not properly assembled again and the drain blockage might be slightly further down, making this attempt unsuccessful. In such cases a drain snake is helpful in reaching father into the plumbing system to remove the blockage, but this can be somewhat time consuming and very messy. The advantage of Drain-FX and some other simple DIY methods is that blockages can be removed without taking the drain trap apart and will seem more approachable and therefore less intimidating to more people.

Other green DIY ways to clear drains

If you aren’t quite ready to spend $20 on Drain-FX and want to try some other alternative, there are a few that might work.

  • I’ve tried the vinegar and baking soda trick and had some luck removing debris, but not full blockages. Take about 1/2 cup of baking soda and pour about 1/2 of vinegar on top of it. Cover it with a drain plug (if you have one) as the combination fizzes. Let it sit for an hour or even overnight, then flush it with hot water or even boiling water.
  • Another trick that I’ve used to remove hair near the top of a clogged tub or shower drain is to take a simple wire hanger. Unbend it and make it as strait as possible. Insert it into the drain and pull hair and other debris out of the drain. Make sure you are removing the blockage and not pushing it back in. When you are done fishing out gunk, run the hot water and hopefully the drain will be clear.

Next time you get ready to call the plumber or pour drain cleaner down the drain, remember that safer options are available. Better yet, a bit of preventative plumbing maintenance a couple times a year can go a long way in clearing away debris to prevent clogs from forming. Drain-FX helps expand the simple DIY options for opening clogged drains, without having to take apart your drain or doing anything that could cause a major set-back.

Feature image credit: Kurhan / Shutterstock

By Sarah Lozanova

Sarah Lozanova is an environmental journalist and copywriter and has worked as a consultant to help large corporations become more sustainable. She is the author of Humane Home: Easy Steps for Sustainable & Green Living, and her renewable energy experience includes residential and commercial solar energy installations. She teaches green business classes to graduate students at Unity College and holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio Graduate School.