5 Ways to Unclog a Drain Without Chemicals

If you’re lucky, a clogged drain is something you won’t have to deal with very often. Because of this, most of us don’t have the chemicals on-hand to deal with the unpleasant issue when it does arise. Moreover, some professionals recommend not using chemicals at all to clear a blocked drain, as they can be potentially dangerous. The next time you experience slow draining or standing water in the tub, sink or shower, try these methods to unclog a drain without chemicals.

Why should you avoid chemicals?

Chemicals that clear out drains seem like a good idea and a fairly quick fix. Just pour it down the drain and wait for the blockage to dislodge itself, right? But what if the chemicals don’t do the job? If such a situation arises, you will have to use other methods, such as disassembling the pipes, or forcing the water through the pipes, which can cause injury such as chemical burns or poisoning. Your safest best is to try to unclog a drain without chemicals first.

Ways to unclog a drain without chemicals

Remove the strainer/stopper – If you’re lucky, the cause of your clogged drain is something just below the sink strainer or stopper. Start by lifting it up and removing any visible hair, food particles, etc. Grab a flashlight so that you can really see what’s going on in there and remove anything in your line of vision. If you are able to spot debris that you cannot reach, insert a bend clothes hanger to gain a bit more reach.

Plunger – When the toilet gets backed-up, you reach for a plunger to dislodge the blockage. Oftentimes, the easiest way to unclog a drain is by using this same method. The water pressure created by plunging is powerful enough to pull up many of the things that may be causing the clog.

Plumbing snake – A plumbing snake is a flexible wire that can be gently forced through a drain. Whatever is blocking the drain is forced through along with the snake and the pipes are cleared. Because this is something you will very rarely need, ask around to see if anyone you know has one you can borrow before purchasing one yourself. Since plumbing snakes can be used to unblock toilet clogs as well as drains, some homeowners keep them on hand.

Clean out the sink trap – Arguably, this is the most invasive way to unclog a drain without chemicals, but if there is something trapped deep down in the drain, it may be your only option. The sink trap is the curved portion of the pipes under the kitchen or bathroom sink. Sometimes, a blockage will work itself down into the area of the pipes and can be extremely difficult to push through. Shut off the water supply, place a bucket beneath the pipes, and disassemble the unit. Shine a flashlight through the pipes to spot any blockage and remove what is causing the clog. Hair is most often the culprit, so have a bent wire on hand to grab hold of it and pull it loose.

Kinetic water ram – If you’ve tried everything else and you simply cannot clear a blocked drain, or if you want to simply cut to the chase and unclog a drain quickly, use a water ram. These powerful tools are available for purchase at most home improvement stores, or rented from your local rental center. They work by generating a burst of compressed air that produces a shock wave through the water, which quickly travels through the pipes to break up the blockage.

More from Jennifer Wagner:

How to Unclog a Showerhead

5 Things to Consider Before Buying a Tankless Water Heater

Reduce Water Waste with a Flush Converter


Personal experience

Jennifer Wagner – Yahoo! Contributor Network