How to Unclog a Drain Without Harsh Chemicals

Kitchen sink does not drain, clogged!

Dealing with a clogged drain is an all-too-common household issue. While commercial drain cleaners can be effective, they often contain harsh chemicals that can harm your health and the environment. Fortunately, several eco-friendly and safe methods exist to unclog a drain without resorting to these harsh chemicals.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do just that.

1. Boiling Water

One of the simplest and most effective methods to unclog a drain is by using boiling water. This method works best for minor clogs caused by grease, soap scum, or other buildup.


  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  2. Carefully pour the boiling water directly into the drain.
  3. Wait a few minutes and repeat if necessary.

Boiling water can help dissolve and wash away the buildup, allowing the drain to flow freely again.

2. Baking Soda and Vinegar

A popular and natural method for unclogging drains involves using baking soda and vinegar. This combination creates a fizzing reaction that can help break down clogs.


  1. Pour about half a cup of baking soda into the clogged drain.
  2. Follow with half a cup of white vinegar.
  3. Cover the drain with a plug or a cloth to contain the fizzing reaction.
  4. Wait for about 15-30 minutes.
  5. Flush the drain with hot water.

This method is effective for most clogs and safe for all types of pipes.

3. Plunger

Using a plunger is a mechanical method to dislodge clogs and can be very effective for stubborn blockages.


  1. Ensure enough water is in the sink or tub to cover the bottom of the plunger.
  2. Place the plunger over the drain, ensuring a good seal.
  3. Push the plunger up and down vigorously for about 20 seconds.
  4. Lift the plunger to see if the water drains away. Repeat if necessary.

Plunging can create enough pressure to push the clog through the drain.

4. Manual Snake or Drain Auger

A manual drain snake or auger might be necessary for more severe clogs. These tools are designed to reach deep into the drain and physically break up or remove the clog.


  1. Insert the end of the snake or auger into the drain.
  2. Turn the handle clockwise to push the snake further into the drain.
  3. When you feel resistance, you’ve reached the clog. Twist and push to break it up or hook onto it.
  4. Slowly pull the snake back out, removing the clog.

Drain snakes are particularly effective for clogs caused by hair or other solid debris.

5. Dish Soap and Hot Water

For greasy clogs, dish soap combined with hot water can be surprisingly effective.


  1. Pour a generous amount of dish soap down the drain.
  2. Follow with a pot of boiling water.

The dish soap helps to break down the grease, while the hot water flushes it away.

6. Clean the P-Trap

Sometimes, the clog is located in the P-trap, the curved pipe under your sink. Cleaning the P-trap can be a bit messy but is often very effective.


  1. Place a bucket under the P-trap to catch any water.
  2. Unscrew the connectors holding the P-trap in place.
  3. Remove the P-trap and clear out any debris.
  4. Reassemble the P-trap and run water to check if the clog is gone.

Prevention Tips

To prevent future clogs, consider the following tips:

  • Avoid pouring grease or oil down the drain.
  • Use a drain guard to catch hair and food particles.
  • Regularly flush your drains with hot water.

Using these methods, you can unclog your drains without using harsh chemicals, keeping your home safe and eco-friendly.

Contact Us for Professional Drain Cleaning Services Today!

Need help with a stubborn clog? Our professional plumbing team is ready to assist! Reach out to Nigel Mulgrew Plumbing today at (415) 857-9980 to get started. Say goodbye to harsh chemicals and hello to a clear, smoothly flowing-drain.