Conventional drain cleaning solutions usually contain sodium hydroxide, also known as soda lye or caustic soda. While not considered a pollutant, it does have adverse effects on the human body such as skin and respiratory irritation as well as hair loss. Additionally, sodium hydroxide is corrosive to metal, which means it can damage pipes causing water damage and draining other hazardous chemicals and metals into the ground. However, several alternatives exist which contain safer, more natural ingredients and are less likely to harm the user and the environment.
In the event that a plunger fails to unclog a pipe, there are more intensive and effective ways to clear a pipe mechanically. Drain snakes are long pieces of plastic that can reach down into pipes to pull out clogging materials. Drain augers require more work and power but are more effective at clearing blockages and, as a last resort, professional services provide industrial grade unclogging. While these methods are reliable, they can be damaging to old or already compromised pipes.
Home Made Remedies
A common homemade recipe requires a few materials that most households already have or can easily obtain. The recipe calls for two cups of baking soda, four cups of boiling water and one cup of vinegar. The process begins by pouring half the baking soda down the drain and following it up with two cups of boiling water. Next, the rest of the baking soda is added, then the vinegar is poured down the drain, and the drain is immediately plugged. The ingredients will react and fulminate and are washed down with the remaining boiling water when the reactions cease.
Eco-Friendly Drain Cleaning Solutions
With the rise of the green movement, many companies have created alternative drain cleaning products made with more natural and safe ingredients. Some manufacturers make drain cleaners that are made from natural enzymes that break down solid waste and are readily biodegradable. Others make a natural drain and septic cleaner that uses bacteria to break up blockages. The bacterial enzymes are not harmful to humans and do not corrode pipes after prolonged exposure.
Another Step Towards a Safe and Green Future
Caustic drain cleaning methods are not a threat to the ecosystem on the level of climate change or plastic pollution in the oceans, but it is an easily preventable risk. Technology and mass production has opened the door for affordable and accessible environmentally responsible solutions. There are enough alternatives that everyday people can easily do to keep them and their environments safer.