How to Unclog a Drain

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how to unclog a drain

No matter how careful you are, drains sometimes clog up. (If you live with Grandpa, they clog up more than for most folks, not that I’m complaining.) Since we live out here in the middle of nowhere, there have been times that I’ve needed to unclog a drain, and haven’t had commercial products on hand. Besides, I purely hate toxic chemicals, and would rather find an eco-friendly way to clear my drain. So, here are a few ways to unclog and clean a clogged drain without using those dangerous caustic commercial drain cleaners.

First off… Alka-Seltzer can unclog a drain as well as cure a hangover! Here’s what you do: drop two Alka-Seltzer tablets down your drain, and then pour in about a cup of vinegar. Wait a bit…and then turn on the hot water to full force to clear out that pesky clog.

Or, you could try using Borax (powdered sodium borate.) Being as old as the proverbial hills, I remember when episodes of “Gunsmoke” were brought to you by “20 Mule Team Borax.” Borax is a laundry booster and freshener, and has many household uses besides. To use borax to clean your drain you’ll need 1/2 cup of borax and two cups of boiling water. First pour in your borax powder, then, very slowly, pour in the two cups of boiling water. Wait a bit…read the newspaper or something. After about fifteen minutes or so, flush the drain with additional water.

If neither of these worked, you’re in need of a heavy-duty treatment. Get some rubber gloves for this one, as I’m recommending washing soda, and that can burn your hands if they’re not protected. Dissolve 2 tablespoons of washing soda in one quart of hot water. Next, slowly pour the whole quart of mixture down that obstinate drain. (Be VERY careful not to splash any of the solution in your eyes or on your skin!)  Wait for at least ten minutes, then flush the drain with hot water.

Whew. Once your drain is unclogged, try using this next mixture on a weekly basis to keep it free-flowing. Mix 1 cup of baking soda, 1 cup of salt, and 1/4 cup of cream of tartar in a 1 quart jar or other covered container. Shake it well to mix. Every week, take 1/4 cup of the dry mix and pour it into your drains. Add one cup of boiling water, and let it sit for about ten minutes. Flush it liberally with cold water. If you do this every week, it ought to keep your drains flowing freely for years to come!

Anyway, that’s the way we do things, out here in the Sticks.

Come back soon!



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The answer to "How to Unclog a Drain"

Question asked on April 18, 2008at 6:27 am:: Comments (2)

What is the washing soda you are talking about?


Posted by: Carolyn Roye on May 16, 2008 at 5:02 am

Thanks for stopping by, Carolyn! Washing soda can be found in the detergent section of most stores. (Without mentioning any particular brand names, you might find it in a familiar yellow-orange package bearing an arm holding a hammer.) If you cannot find it locally, I am sure that there are sites on the Internet which sell it.

Washing soda (sodium carbonate) is basically just a stronger version of baking soda. It’s a great all-purpose cleaner and freshener, and has many household applications. As an added benefit, you can feel better about using this as a cleaner/laundry booster as it is definitely a “greener” option. Just be sure to always wear gloves when using it, as it is more caustic than baking soda.

For a great grease-cutter and all-purpose cleaner, just dissolve 1/2 cup of washing soda in a bucket of warm water. Be sure to rinse surfaces after you’ve used it.

Hope this clarifies, Carolyn, and come on back any time!


Posted by: Granny on May 17, 2008 at 12:42 pm

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