We have a bunch…there are 4 of us chickies and lets just say that the drains, in the shower, get clogged…really bad….really quick.
We have options.
Option 1: Don’t shower (Big Daddy doesn’t appreciate this option)
Option 2: Shower outside (the neighbors don’t appreciate this option)
Option 3: Go bald (I’m good with that, but the three teens…not so much)
Option 4: Pretend that you are in the ocean because the water keeps on rising (I’m not good with that because it causes a tidal wave when you open the shower door and that tidal wave tends to leak through the ceiling since the bathroom is upstairs)
Option 5: Use chemicals that can be harmful to you or to the environment and costs more money (not cool on either front)
Option 6: Hire a plumber and require him to only use tools and no chemicals ($$$$$)
Option 7: Go green and get out the gunk!
See, I’ve provided you with valid options. Big Daddy tried to tackle the problem with a coat hanger. There were lots of gross noises coming from the bathroom, which indicated that the smell of the nasty hair was more than he could handle. In his defense, he has seen/handled/done worse and this was about to get to him.
I went in, to see if I could help and the smell ran me out. I handed him some leftover Draino. Praying this would do the trick (it did, thankfully). Then, I did some research. Here are the effects of using chemical cleaners:
Drain cleaners consist of a number of different chemicals that work together to dissolve obstructions in pipes. Commonly, drain cleaners contain acids such as sodium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite. Because of the acidic nature of drain cleaners, caution should be taken to avoid splashing onto skin or into eyes. If drain cleaner comes into contact with skin or eyes, the chemicals must be washed off immediately to avoid burns or vision damage.
Ingestion Hazards (seriously, why would anyone want to ingest this BLECH)
They prove just as harmful when ingested. Most chemical drain cleaners bear a toxic notation, meaning that they can cause severe internal damage or even death when ingested. The corrosive nature of drain cleaners works just as corrosively within the human body. If a person or pet swallows drain cleaner, symptoms include nausea and vomiting. Because of the potential toxic nature of ingesting drain cleaner, calling poison control is best in cases of ingestion.
Mixing and Storage
When not in use, drain cleaners can still have harmful effects. Storing drain cleaners with other cleaners such as bleach produces harmful gas fumes. According to the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, mixing cleaners containing acids with bleach-containing cleaners creates hydrochloric and hypochlorous acids. These gas fumes cause mucus membrane irritation, respiratory problems, chest pain and vomiting. In serious cases of exposure, it can lead to death. Drain cleaners also have negative effects when stored or used with ammonia. Because of these problems, drain cleaners must always be used and stored in well-ventilated areas, taking care that the container is well-sealed to prevent fumes from escaping.
Usually, proper usage of drain cleaners doesn’t result in too many harmful effects on the environment. However, over-usage or improper usage of drain cleaners and other household cleaners can lead to environmental damage. The University of Wisconsin Extension’s Elaine Andrews notes that the disposal of solvent-based cleaners can contaminate drinking water and potentially damage septic systems. According to an article on the Cornell Cooperative Extension website, large quantities of drain cleaners within a septic system can corrode the metal in a system and destroy useful bacteria that breaks down materials.
With all of this said….I did more research. You can effectively and safely use another remedy that is cost effective, usually already in your house and is non-toxic. Here are several choices that I have found!
Baking Soda Drain Cleaner
If water hasn’t yet backed up in your drain, pour 1 cup of baking soda followed by 3 cups of boiling water. The boiling water will change the chemical composition of baking soda, making it more alkaline. Repeat a few times until the drain is clear.
Washing Soda Drain Cleaner
If the water isn’t going down the drain, pour a cup of washing soda over the drain area and let it set for a while to work its way down to the clog. Once the clog is loosened, use the baking soda method, above. Washing soda is more alkaline than baking soda, with a pH of 11. You never want to use washing soda if a commercial acid drain cleaner has recently been used in the drain, as they will strongly react with each other. You also shouldn’t overuse washing soda if you have PVC pipes, as the caustic nature of washing soda can slowly damage the plastic.
The Bubbling Method Using Vinegar and Baking Soda
Baking soda and vinegar react with each other to cause bubbles and fizzing. Sometimes the fizzing can unlodge clogs. Follow the baking soda and boiling water formula, above, with 1 cup of vinegar.
Enzyme Drain and Garbage Disposal Maintenance
All natural living enzyme culture drain cleaners will actually eat and break down any organic matter. Using enzyme drain cleaners once a month, such as Bi-O-Kleen’s Bacout, will help not just your drains, but your septic system. They will also significantly reduce odor from garbage disposals. Colonies of enzymes will actually continue to grow and break down organic matter in your drains .
Washing Soda Maintenance
Enzymes don’t work as well on hair clogs, so to keep drains clear that tend to collect hair, such as in the shower and bath. A few times a month pour 1 cup of washing soda (Arm & Hammer Washing Powders) followed by a thorough flushing of water.
Problem solved…cheaply and safely! Blessings!