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Put Down That Drain Cleaner! There Are Safer Options

When your drain is clogged, it only makes sense that you would reach for a bottle labeled "drain cleaner." However, drain cleaner, although it will remove drain clogs, is not a very safe product. If it happens to splash (which does occur from time to time), it could seriously damage your skin or eyes. It can also eat its way through your pipes over time.

So if you shouldn't depend on drain cleaner to clean your drains, what should you depend on? Take your choice from the following options.

1. Near-boiling water

A lot of clogs are simply caused by soap scum or grease. You don't need a harsh chemical to break up these substances; you just need heat. Bring a pot of water to a boil on the stove. Let it cool off just slightly (for a minute or two, just so it is no longer actually boiling), and then pour it slowly down the drain. Next, turn the hot water on in the sink or tub, and let the hot water run for a few minutes. As the boiling water melts the clog and the hot water keeps rinsing it away, your drain should start to flow more freely.

2. Vinegar and baking soda

Vinegar and baking soda react to form an acidic, foamy substance that you can touch with bare hands without worry. This is why mixing vinegar and baking soda is such a common school science experiment — it's safe. You can use the mixture to clear clogs in your drains, too. Start with the baking soda. A cup of it is enough. Then, pour in just enough vinegar to get it foaming. Let the mixture sit and foam for an hour before following up with hot tap water.

3. A plunger

If boiling water and the vinegar-baking-soda mixture do not clear the clog, it may be comprised of tougher substances, like hair or lint. In such a case, you need a plunger to physically break up the clog. Use a plunger with a plain, bowl-shaped head. (The flared type works better for toilets.) Put the plunger head over the drain only after the sink or tub has been filled with water. Then, plunge vigorously while being careful not to tilt the plunger.

Usually, one of the three tactics above will free a drain, and it will do so more safely than drain cleaner. If you need any additional assistance or advice, reach out to a company like Michigan  Plumbing near you.