If you find yourself in a situation where your drain is clogged up, it’s tempting to grab a liquid drain cleaning solution. But you should think twice about using chemicals to clean out your drain! Some liquid drain cleaners can harm your pipes. They are also dangerous to your health and might not work, depending on the cause of the blockage. Here are some proven, non-toxic ways to unblock drains.


Plungers are often associated with toilets. However, the standard cup-shaped plunger is a great tool to unclog sinks. If you don’t like the idea that your toilet plunger can be used on a sink, shower or bathtub, there are options. You can also purchase a second plunger for non-toilet plumbing. It’s an excellent investment.

To avoid splashing, drain the majority (but not all) standing water before you plunge a sink. For double-bowel kitchen sinks, you can place a wet towel into one drain while you plunge the second. You can seal the overflow holes with a wet towel for bathtubs or single-bowel sinks.

This will allow you to drive air pressure directly towards the clog. You can cover the drain opening with the plunger and quickly pump it up and down for 15-20 seconds. Then, you can quickly pull it out of the drain. Repeat this several times. If that fails to clear the blockage, you can try a drain snake.

Snake of Drain

A basic drain snake (also called an auger) can be a great addition to any toolbox. You can find inexpensive versions at most departmental shops.

Use the snake to push through the pipe until there is resistance. Once you have encountered resistance, twist it to break down the block. A wire hanger can be used to approximate the drain snake’s shape if you don’t have the funds or time. This will usually suffice if there is a hairball that is stuck to the sink. You can try to remove the debris and put it in the trash. This will prevent any blockages further down the line.