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How to Unclog a Drain Without Chemicals

If you don’t want to use Drano or other harsh chemicals, there are many natural ways to unclog a drain. A few simple household items can be used to get rid of clogs quickly and easily without damaging your pipes.

Start by using a plunger. This is one of the easiest and most effective methods. Baking soda combined with vinegar can also help break down and dissolve a clog.


One of the simplest ways to unclog a drain is with a trusty plunger. Before you begin, bail the water out of the sink as best you can to avoid making a mess. Place the plunger over the drain and push up and down a few times.

If this method doesn’t work, try a combination of baking soda and vinegar. Pouring a half-cup of baking soda followed by a half-cup of white vinegar creates a chemical reaction that can break up or loosen hair clogs. After the fizzing stops, flush out the drain with hot water.

If neither of these methods works, it’s time to move on to a more powerful tool—the wire snake. These can be rented from hardware or big box stores and can dislodge hard-to-remove clogs without using chemicals.

Wire Hanger

Hair is the leading cause of bathroom drain clogs, while grease and soap scum can narrow kitchen sink pipes. If plungers and natural homemade solutions don’t work, try using a wire hanger to unclog your pipes without chemical agents.

Bend the end of a long piece of wire into a hook with pliers, then insert the hook into your drainpipe and drag it back up. Repeat until the clog is gone, then pull out the hook and dispose of any gunk you pulled out of the pipe.

For very deep clogs, consider using a drain snake or auger cable with a crank (available at most home improvement stores). The tool’s angled head can dislodge clumps of hair and other debris. It also breaks up larger objects and helps them wash away.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a natural, non-toxic cleaner that dissolves organic materials like soap, hair and grease. Its slight acidity is enough to break down the buildup that clogs household drains.

Pour a half cup of Arm & Hammer baking soda down your drain, followed by a half cup of vinegar. Plug the drain and let the mixture work for an hour. Covering the drain will concentrate the reaction and allow it to penetrate deeper into the clog. After the baking soda and vinegar have dissolved the clog, flush with a pot of boiling water.

These DIY hacks are ideal for kitchen, bathroom and shower drains, but a serious clog may require professional help from a local plumber. If the natural remedies don’t work, store-bought chemical formulas can be effective, but are harsher on your pipes.


One of the most effective ways to break up organic clogs such as hair or soap scum is to use vinegar. Pouring a cup of vinegar down the drain causes a fizzing reaction that helps to break up blockages. You can also try using a bent wire hanger as a rudimentary snake to help dislodge a stubborn clog.

To use this method, mix equal parts of baking soda and distilled vinegar in a bowl or cup. Pour the solution down your clogged drain and listen for an audible reaction. This mixture will help dissolve clogs and clear your pipes without the harsh chemicals found in store-bought cleaners. After the fizzing stops, let the mixture sit for an hour, then flush the drain with a pot of boiling water.

Drain Snake

A drain snake, also known as an auger, is a tool that you can use to break up clogs without using chemical agents. You can get a cheap, disposable snake designed specifically for hair clogs or you can invest in a longer, more powerful model that will work on just about any drain clog.

Start by loosening the thumb screw on the snake’s drum, inserting its head into the drain, and then cranking it manually. Once it slithers into the pipe, slowly advance it until you feel resistance or hear scraping. Then, twist and turn it to break up or dislodge whatever is blocking the pipe. Keep in mind that it can take some practice to get it just right. After snaking, flush your drain with boiling water to clear away any remaining buildup and debris.