How can I unclog a drain without using caustic chemicals?

How can I unclog a drain without using caustic chemicals?
To clear a clogged drain, most people turn to commercial products like Drano. Its active ingredient, a chemical called sodium hydroxide, effectively erodes a clog but can also burn the skin and, if inhaled, irritate the nose and throat. I prefer to use a plunger. To clear up a clog in the shower or sink, turn on the faucet and let the water back up until it's a couple of inches deep.


Once you have enough water, grab a plunger, cup it tightly over the drain, and push up and down on the cup. Depending on how stubborn the clog is, you may need to keep plunging for a few seconds or a few minutes to break it loose. When debris comes up, be sure to remove it immediately.


If the thought of using your toilet plunger to unclog your sink gives you the heebie-jeebies, buy an extra one to use exclusively for sinks, showers, and tubs. It costs much less than a single bottle of caustic drain cleaner, and it'll last for years.


To prevent future clogs, buy metal drain covers for all your sinks and tubs. They'll catch stray hair and debris, and will keep your plunging days few and far between.


-Danny Seo, co-host of "Red, Hot & Green" on HGTV and author of the Simply Green book series

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