How to Unclog your Drain the Natural Way Without Harsh Chemicals

We rarely have to deal with a clogged sink or shower drain actually! If you ask me, the key is to prevent stuff from going down the drain in the first place. But well, we had to move a few times over the last two years, and every time we had to clear the shower drains after we moved in! Here’s how we go about it in a environmentally non-invasive and even more importantly, lazy-ass way!

Chemically, but in a good way 😉

Bear with me, it’s not going to be a health hazard nor is it going to pollute our beautiful planet, I swear! 😉 In fact, you can literally eat all the ingredients! So let’s dive right in!

DIY Drain Cleaner

Mix either 2/3 cup white vinegar (can be bought in glass bottles or big plastic jugs) or dissolve 1 1/2 tsp citric acid (is usually more difficult to buy in bulk) in 1 cup of water. Put mixture aside.

Pour 1/2 gallon of hot water (below 158ºF/ 70ºC) down the drain.

Pour 1/4 cup of baking soda down the drain, as far down as you can get. I use a tablespoon.

Now pour your vinegar or citric acid mixture down the drain. It will immediately start to bubble and fizz. Cover the drain and let it sit for at least 10 minutes. The fizzing action will travel down the drain and clear grease and other soft, non-solid build ups.

Now pour another half gallon of hot water down the pipes.


Clearing your drain chemically does not remove solid things like hair, so sometimes you will have to get down and dirty.


To use the plunger, fill your shower tub or sink with water until the end of your plunger is submerged. Plunge away – vigerously! This will create enough suction to move the water up and down the pipes, loosening the blockage. However, if the blockage is deep and made from something solid like hair, this probably won’t work.


If the culprit is hair that you can even see when trying to peek down the drain, you can try to get the hair out with tweezers. You might have to remove the drain cover though, which – depending on the type of drain – can be a darn frustrating project. Sometimes the pipe is fixed in place by the drain cover, so if you remove the cover the pipe hangs loose. Getting the cover back on can be quite the ordeal as I had to find out. 😝

TwistOut Stick

I only learned about this amazingly simple yet effective option to remove hair blockage a few weeks ago. It’s literally only a threaded wooden stick, invented by a lady in Switzerland.

You simply put the stick down the drain and twist it. The hair will be moved up the stick and out the drain! The stick cost me a buck and can be reused over and over. At the end of its life cycle it can simple be composted!

Unfortunately, as of now it is only sold in Germany and Switzerland.

The Drain Snake

Drain snakes are long metal ropes that end in a spiral. Some of them have handles so you can twist them. You push the rope down the drain twisting it until you reach the clog, which you should be able to tell by the resistance. Then you twist it to hook the blockage and you pull it out.

How to prevent your drain from clogging in the first place

So now you’ve hopefully been able to clear your drain from whatever was clogging it, phew! I for one hate having to deal with a clogged drain! It’s messy, yucky, and takes up time I’d much rather spend with more pleasant activities!

  1. Get a hair trap. For every drain in your household.
  2. Pour 1/2 gallon of hot water (below 158ºF/ 79ºC) down the drain every few months to remove grease build ups.
  3. Once a year, pour 1/2 cup of white vinegar down the drain, let it sit for an hour, chase it down with boiling hot water. This will remove mineral build ups.

That’s it, really. If you have any other tricks up your sleeve, please do share! 🙂

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Filed under Article, Housekeeping


  1. Pouring boiling water down the drain is actually really bad for your pipes, especially if you own the home you live in and have any PVC pipes 🙁

    • Thanks so much for this information, Lehua! Pouring boiling hot water down the pipes is a common way to clear the drain in Germany, and I also did this when living in Canada (oops). I read up on it, and in Germany, PVC pipes are said to be unfit for use for plumbing in buildings because of the temperature issue. So it’s not allowed to have them indoors. They are, however used as sewage pipes. So it’s not an issue in Germany, but probably in other place like North America where there are usually fewer regulations. I have changed it to “hot water (below 158ºF/ 79ºC)” in the article.

  2. Yes! The DIY drain cleaner worked for me! Tried it this morning, since I saw this post a while back and had the ingredients at home, mostly. Eternally grateful!

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  6. I know it’s old post but I’m new reader and know couple of things which you can use (I know that those are not “green” solutions but if you have those things already I think it’s ok to use them):
    1. Zip Tie – Make small cuts each side and then couple of times just stick it as far down the drain as you can and pull out until the blockage is gone and/or til there won’t come out any dirt and hair
    2. Wire hanger – Bend the wire hanger as straight as you can, bend the hook side into handle so you can twist it in the drain. Then put the other end down the drain and start moving it fast up and down same time turning it around until the drain clears. – This is probably not so good for your pipes but helps you out in emergency

  7. Tammy Ford

    Love this article! I was searching for helpful blogs and I found this. Thanks!

  8. Hi Shia,
    Wonderful hacking and cleaning method to clean the sink drain. it is very helpful for every housekeeper. Here they are receiving some good advice. I appreciate your hard work. I found a proper guideline from your blog.

  9. Putting boiled water in the sink can help a lot to clean the clogged drain. Its a natural way to deal with drain cleaning. If it does not work properly, you can put some salt first and then put boiled water in the sink, repeat the boil water pouring a few times and it will be better. The tips you have shared are very nice. Thanks.
    Drain Cleaning Chattanooga

  10. My husband and I just moved into our own place so I wanted maintenance tips! I didn’t know you could pour hot water down your drain every few months to remove build ups. That’s some things that I don’t want to touch in my drain, so I’ll look around for a drain cleaning company that could help me out and make sure my pipes are functioning properly, thanks to this post!

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  14. Thanks for this blog. I learned some tips about this blog. I had experienced these problems last week thanks to my friend who help me with my problem. I hope you post more blog helps us. So that we can learn more. Thanks for the ideas you shared with us.

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