DIY: Easy, Non-Toxic Ways to Unclog Bathroom Drains

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easy non-toxic ways to unclog your drains....naturally

Written by Green Diva Karen

It’s never fun to unclog bathroom drains…

My bathtub was semi-clogged recently. I hate having sloshing water at my feet when I am in the shower. (Who does?)

So, I tried the only natural method I know, since commercial drain cleaner has Sodium Hydroxide, which is a very caustic substance, bleach and other chemicals that I wouldn’t want in the house.

Listen to my conversation with Green Diva Meg in this Green Divas at Home episode for non-toxic fixes to common bathroom issues… then read on for more details.

There are various methods of using baking soda and vinegar to unclog a drain. But this method seems to work the best for me.

How to unclog bathroom drains …

1. Pour 1/2 C of baking soda into the drain followed by hot boiling water. Sodium Bicarbonate – baking soda – and hot water reacts with any kind of grime and loosens up the gunk.

2. Then, add 1 C of vinegar and quickly cover the drain, sealing the bubbling gas – remember the erupting volcano experiment for Middle School science project? When you add vinegar (acid) to baking soda (basic), which is sitting on top of the gunk in the clogged drain, the combination creates gas and it bubbles up like a volcano, loosening up the gunk some more. If you have a hole on the side of the sink or tub, you can close that off too for better result but I never had to.

3. Add more hot water to push the loosened up gunk down the drain further, until it’s all clear. You may have to repeat this procedure a few times before you start seeing all the black gunk come up.

Normally, a few times, if not less, should do it.

But if this non-toxic method to unclog bathroom drains doesn’t work, you may need some help. You may need to physically remove the gunk, the old fashion way. 

[Read: 7 Toxic Ingredients to Avoid for Safe Spring Cleaning]

For stubborn clogs

1. If the drain is still clogged, run the faucet with hot water until the water pools about 3 inches on the bottom of the tub.

2. Take a small plunger, made for sinks and NOT for the toilet (like the cute little one pictured below), and push down and seal around the rubber ring completely against the bottom of the tub or the sink. And then, with one swift motion, lift the plunge quickly.

3. Repeat if necessary, until the water drains. Since I used the baking soda and vinegar method to loosen up the gunk in steps one through three, I only had to use the plunger once and all the black gunk came up and then drained completely, unclogging the tub. And don’t be shocked at all the black, nasty gunk that the drain throws up. Not pretty.

Also, to prevent drains from clogging, pour about 1/2 Cup of baking soda in the drain, followed by hot boiling water. I occasionally to this…if I remember….and if I’m motivated.

OK, I’m going to do that from now on and not wait until it clogs.

And buy a smaller holed strainer for the drain to catch all my hair.


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Image via ShutterStock

dr. karen leeDr. Karen Lee is a retired Chiropractor, publisher of, co-founder & partner of Green Sisterhood. She believes being a mom made her into a better doctor, researcher, and an advocate for wholistic health. She consults clients on clean living using holistic approach, everything from foods they eat to environment they live in. When she’s not consulting clients or writing about health, she’s developing healthy recipes for her family or cuddling up with her lapdog with a book.


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The Green Divas

The Green Divas share low-stress ways to live a deeper shade of green through a weekly radio show, podcasts, videos and blog posts. Working with talented partners and credible sources, the Green Divas produce content on a variety of topics relating to a healthy green lifestyle. Visit The Green Divas website to learn more, and check out The Green Divas on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter too!

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