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What are the most eco-friendly methods for drain cleaning?

In an era increasingly defined by environmental consciousness, our home maintenance practices are evolving. Nowadays, homeowners are moving away from methods that rely on harmful chemicals, and looking towards options that are both kinder to our planet and healthier for our homes. 

One area where this transition is particularly notable is when it comes to drain cleaning; while chemical drain cleaners may be effective at clearing mild to moderate clogs, they’re not exactly great for the natural environment. In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the most effective eco-friendly approaches to drain cleaning, and what to avoid if you’re trying to promote a greener environment and a healthier home. Let’s take a look!

Why is drain cleaning important?

Drain cleaning is crucial to maintaining the functional integrity and hygiene of your home’s plumbing system: when drains are regularly cleaned, they effectively prevent the build-up of debris, reducing the risk of clogs that can lead to unwelcome odours, slow drainage, or even damaging overflow. 


Plus, drain blockages can potentially cause problems beyond mere inconvenience: an untreated blocked drain can result in expensive repairs, pipe bursts and even structural damage, while also encouraging the growth of harmful bacteria. In short, routine drain cleaning is key to keeping your home’s plumbing system running smoothly – but is it possible to do so without harming the environment at the same time? (Spoiler alert: yes!)


Also Read: Common DIY Plumbing Mistakes

Why you should opt for eco-friendly drain cleaning

While traditional chemical-based cleaning solutions may offer fast results for common clogs, they also have a significant environmental cost: some chemical cleaning agents can leach into water supplies, harming aquatic life and impacting the ecosystem. 


In addition to this, conventional drain cleaners often contain corrosive ingredients that can damage your pipes over time, and can also pose serious health risks if accidentally ingested or inhaled. Eco-friendly methods, however, are typically non-toxic and biodegradable, ensuring both your drains and your family are protected. So, not only do eco-friendly solutions contribute to the preservation of our planet, but they also promote a safer, cleaner home environment for you and your loved ones. Win-win, right?


Best eco-friendly drain cleaning methods: mild clogs

So, what are the best eco-friendly drain cleaning solutions out there? Here’s what we’d recommend for mild to moderate clogs and blockages:


Baking soda and vinegar

One of the most popular green cleaning solutions is the combination of baking soda and vinegar: when mixed together, these everyday kitchen staples create a chemical reaction that can dislodge and dissolve minor clogs. Simply pour half a cup of baking soda followed by half a cup of vinegar down the drain, wait 15-20 minutes for the solution to work, then rinse with hot water.


Enzyme-based drain cleaners
Another eco-friendly solution is enzyme-based drain cleaners. These contain bacteria or enzymes that naturally break down organic material in your pipes, such as food particles, hair or grease, and are safe for use in all types of pipes.

Bio-cleaning agents

Bio-cleaning agents offer another eco-friendly alternative, as these non-pathogenic bacteria are able to eat away at the grime and grease that can cause clogs within your plumbing system. As they multiply, they continue to clean, providing long-lasting results without the harmful effects of chemical cleaners.

Regular boiling water

Sometimes, a simple solution is the best one. Regularly flushing your drains with boiling water can help dissolve grease and dislodge small particles, helping to prevent blockages from forming in the first place.


What to avoid

When seeking eco-friendly drain cleaning solutions, make sure to avoid products containing harsh chemicals such as bleach or sulphuric acid. These can corrode pipes, harm beneficial bacteria in septic systems, and pose health risks. Also, steer clear of ‘quick fix’ solutions like caustic soda, which are often touted as quick fixes but can also harm your pipes and the environment. Always look for products that are labelled as biodegradable or non-toxic, and when in doubt, consider seeking professional advice.


Best eco-friendly drain cleaning methods: severe clogs

When it comes to more severe clogs in your plumbing system, it’s usually best to enlist the help of professional plumbing services. Rather than abandoning your green efforts and opting for a chemical cleaner, professional plumbers can use a variety of eco-friendly methods to unclog and clear out any grime build-up, tree roots, or other blockages within your water system. 


Among these solutions, hydro jetting stands out as one of the most effective options, and the most environmentally-friendly method of clearing a severely blocked drain. Hydro jetting works by using high-pressure water to blast through clogs and thoroughly clean your pipes, and can work wonders on more difficult blockages, such as those caused by tree roots. 


While hydro jetting is an extremely efficient method, it’s important to note that it should be performed by a professional: this is due to the high water pressure involved, which if not handled correctly, could potentially damage the pipes in your home. As such, it’s best reserved for stubborn clogs that cannot be resolved with DIY methods, and for regular maintenance conducted by a professional plumber. 


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