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Of all sewer blockages in America, 47% occurs because of fat, oil, and grease (FOG). You would think that people would know better by now, but convenience blocks our better judgment.
The go-to solution is to grab a chemical drain cleaner and pour it down the sink. But why is Drano bad for the environment? Drano is a band-aid made from a nasty concoction of chemicals that does more long-term damage than short-term good.
Chemical solutions like Drano are bad for the environment and have adverse long-term side effects, including aquatic toxicity and destruction of bacteria. Once the chemical cleaners leave your system and make it into surrounding waters, it will change nearby water sources’ PH levels. This will cause tissue damage to wildlife and death when ingested before dilution. It also affects developmental, endocrine, and reproductive systems.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to record 36,000 sewer overflows each year and is one of our society’s primary plumbing issues. It is not only an environmental problem but also a health hazard to our pets and loved ones. It also costs our government millions of taxpayers dollars each year to clean up clogged sewer pipes.
Have you ever wondered if wood burning is bad for the environment? Find out here!
Alternatives To Drain Cleaners and Plumbers
While it may be easy to pour some store-bought solution down our drains and call it a day, there are free solutions that you should try first before buying enzyme-based or chemical-based cleaners or even getting your local plumber involved.
3 Simple, Natural Solutions Using Ingredients You Probably Already Own
- Boil 16 cups of water and then let stand for 3 minutes. Pour the water down the drain slowly. This is good for grease, hair, and small in low quantities. The heat should help loosen contents from the drains enough to flush them away.
- Boil another 16 cups of water and then let stand for 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of salt, and stir. Sodium bicarbonate is a useful alkaline compound which can dissolve mineral deposits.
- Pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain followed by 1/2 cup of vinegar. Let stand for 30 minutes. Then flush with 16 cups of hot water.
2 Methods For Manual Intervention
So dumping hot water didn’t work—time to pull up our sleeves and get to work before calling our local plumber.
- Cup Plunger – Nope, this isn’t the kind that we use for toilets. Cup plungers are designed for declogging sinks and tubs and have flat bases instead of round ones. Create a seal on the drain hole and work it up and down aggressively for about 60 seconds. The pressure should be enough to loosen the clog and allow it to go merrily down its way along the pipe.
- Auger, aka Drain Snake – It is a long metal band inserted into the drain hole in a clockwise motion to loosen the clog. Just uncoil the snake and push down the drain.
4 Safest Drain Cleaners: Enzyme-Based and Best Equipped For Clog Prevention
The best offense is a great defense. Maintain your drains every 30-60 days using one of the following solutions to prevent build up. This is your last stand before calling your local plumber.
These cleaning products are enzyme-based, meaning that they use organic, natural bacterias to unclog your drain. Use these solutions before bed and let them sit overnight before flushing out in the morning. Always rinse for one minute.