Four methods to unblock drains without chemicals

Wickes explains how to fix a blocked sink at home

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Even if you clean your drains regularly, the build up of soap residue and hair can cause a blockage, which may cause water to back up into the shower tray or bath. If not sorted, unpleasant smells can begin to circulate around the home. While there are a variety of products which can be used, experts recommend opting for the natural methods.

Experts at Villeroy & Boch said: “You can buy special chlorine-based drain cleaners in shops. However, chlorine is very aggressive and can irritate the skin and airways.

“Chlorine is also harmful to the environment and should be used only sparingly. You can use far gentler products than chlorine to clear a blocked drain.

“Blocked drains are usually caused by organic materials which can be treated very effectively with a variety of products.”

1. Vinegar and baking soda

White vinegar and baking soda are a great cleaning duo, known for their ability to target a variety of problems, including limescale and mould.

To clear drains with it, sprinkle a few tablespoons of baking soda into the drainage pipe and then pour in around half a cup of vinegar.

The experts explained: “This causes a chemical reaction in the drain which releases carbon dioxide. The bubbling and fixing of the moisture loosens the blockage.

“Leave the solution to work for around 15 minutes and then rinse with hot water. If you don’t have any baking soda at home, you can use white vinegar and salt instead.”

Baking soda can be picked up from a variety of retailers, including stores such as B&M for around £1, and white vinegar can also be picked up for a similar price.

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2. Cola

The pros explained: “This soft drink contains phosphoric acid which is effective against organic materials on its own.

“In the evening, pour a litre of cola into the drain – then leave it to work overnight to dissolve the blockage.”

Any brand of cola will do the job as it is the phosphoric component which makes it effective in dissolving blockages. 

Aldi currently sells a two litre bottle of cola for 47p, meaning cleaning enthusiasts could use the bottle two times to unblock drains. This equates to around 23p per drain, a super affordable method for stubborn blockages.

3. Washing soda and citric acid

The pros continued: “This mixture works on a similar principle to vinegar and baking soda. However, it is gentler and needs to be left to work for at least one hour.”

Citric acid can be purchased from a variety of stores for around £2 for a large box and it works great due to its acidic nature.

It is important not to leave citric acid down a drain for longer than an hour otherwise it could cause more harm than good to the pipes.

Once the sink is unblocked, it is important to keep breaking down the build up before it gets too bad, and citric acid is great for this job.

4. Dishwasher tablets

The bathroom experts noted: “For stubborn blockages in a drainage pipe, you can turn to dishwasher tablets to help.

“Dissolve them in hot water and pour the liquid slowly into the drain, just a small amount at a time.” Dishwasher tablets are great for cleaning more than just the dishwasher, and can help to solve blockages.

Britons should boil their kettles and pour boiling water over it after a short period of time to flush the blockage through.

Dishwasher tablets can be purchased from a variety of retailers, but for cleaning, Lidl sells a pack of 40 for just £3.19, some of the cheapest on the market.

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