Charlotte Plumbing Advice: DIY Environmentally Safe Drain Cleaners

Drain cleaners nowadays can be both expensive and toxic. The chemicals sulfuric acid and lye, among many other active ingredients in drain cleaners, are very corrosive. There are several home recipes that can do the job without doing the damage on your wallet or on the environment.

Boiling Water

Pouring boiling water in the drain every 1 to 2 weeks will clean the drainpipe as well as prevent the drainpipe from being clogged.

Simply heat up about a gallon of water until it boils, and then pour the water in small amounts, with a few minutes interval, down the drain. This boiling water will loosen the debris in the drain and prevent it from clogging the drainpipe.

Baking Soda

If the water is draining slowly in the above approach, try baking soda instead. First, pour a cup of baking soda in the drain proceeded by three cups of boiling water. The baking soda, which will be more alkaline from the boiling water, will be a stronger tool to fight against clogs and debris.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

A very popular and powerful method of drain cleaning is the collaboration of vinegar and baking soda.  First, pour ½ cup of baking soda in the drain sink followed by ½ cup of white vinegar. This strong combination will dissolve through debris of grease, food, and hairs. If this clog seems to be pretty stuck, heat the white vinegar beforehand because it could be more effective. Furthermore, you could also pour a few cups of boiling water after the vinegar, to cleanse the drainpipe of the blockage.

*Please note to not use a commercial drain cleaner after this combination because it could create a chemical reaction.

Washing Soda

If water is not moving down the drainpipe at all, washing soda is the method for you. First, pour a cup of washing soda down the drainpipe followed by the white vinegar and baking soda method.

*Please note to not use washing soda too often because it will damage the PVC pipe due to its high pH level. Also, do not combine commercial drain cleaner after this method because it could create a chemical reaction.


A plunger may seem too old-fashioned, but they can do the trick of a clogged drainpipe. The suction caused by a plunger can be strong enough to unclog whatever is stuck in the pipe.

Any of these methods will leave your drainpipe and household healthy and happy!

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Article Summary

Quick question & answer: Are there environmentally safe drain cleaners?

Yes, there are environmentally safe drain cleaners. Pouring boiling water down drains every week or two cleans the drainpipe and prevents it from being clogged. If the water’s draining slowly, first pour a cup of baking soda down, followed by three cups of boiling water. ½ cup of baking soda followed by ½ cup of vinegar dissolves debris.


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