Home Drano Substitute


S.C. Johnson manufacturers many Drano products that unclog or prevent clogs in drains. These products contain caustic chemicals, and many homeowners prefer to use more natural substitutes to unclog pipes due to sensitivities to chemicals or a concern for the environment. This is not an arduous task if you use the correct tools or products.

Causes of Clogs

  • Homeowners with long hair or teenagers in their household may experience clogged drains due to the buildup of hair in the pipes. Other causes are soap scum buildup and the dumping of greasy liquids down kitchen drains. This causes the pipes to become coated with organic materials and other debris, just as cholesterol builds up in arteries.

Vinegar Method

  • Equal parts -- about 1 cup each -- of baking soda, regular table salt and white distilled vinegar are effective in creating a bubbling solution that dissolves the clog in your pipes. Wait for any standing water to dissipate in your sink or tub area. Add the baking soda, followed by the table salt into the drain. Pour the vinegar into the drain hole. Let the solution bubble and melt the clog for about 10 minutes. Boil 4 or 5 cups of water on the stove and slowly pour it down the drain to wash away any remaining residue.

Plunger Method

  • Often a pipe is clogged with debris -- such as food particles or grease -- that needs loosening by the suction action of a plunger. This allows the water to flow freely down the pipes. Remove the drain stopper if the sink has one. This provides a larger opening for the suction action. Pour 4 or 5 cups of boiling water into the sink slowly. This helps dissolve the clog. Place the rubber cup of the plunger over the drain opening. Grip the wood handle with both hands and push down on the handle to depress the rubber cup. Pull up on the handle swiftly without removing the plunger from around the drain hole. Repeat this action 10 to 15 times. Lift the plunger off the drain hole. If you successfully cleared the clog, the water will drain quickly. If not, repeat the plunger method.

Wire Hanger Technique

  • If you suspect that excess hair is clogging your bathroom or tub pipes, use a wire hanger to remove the debris. Take apart a wire coat hanger and straighten it. Bend the tip of one end so it forms a small "U" shape, about 1/2 inch long. Stick the bent section down one of the holes in the drain. If the holes are not large enough to insert the bent tip, remove the drain stopper by twisting it to the left or using a screwdriver to remove it. Put the screws in a safe location so they will not fall into the drain. Stick the wire hanger into the drain as far as you can reach and scrape the side of the pipe while pulling the hanger up. Once you remove the hanger it will be full of hair and other debris. Remove the debris with a paper towel and discard it into a wastebasket. Continue the method along each side of the drain pipe until all the hair, soap scum and other debris is gone. Replace the drain stopper before using the water.

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