Sunday, 25 March 2007


I suffer from blocked drains quite often. I have a septic tank so I don’t want to put any bleach or anything with caustic soda in it, as it would damage the bacteria that break down the waste. I did try to unscrew the pipes under the sink but ended up flooding the kitchen when I turned the tap on. Have you any suggestions for safe drain cleaning.

Yours desperately GF

A. Sometimes it’s better to leave the pipes under the sink to the professionals! You need to be careful and look at the contents of the containers when buying cleaning products. Some of them contain sodium hydroxide and sulphuric acid which could be hazardous to your health if it was splashed on your skin or if the fumes were inhaled. If you have any doubts, here are some safer alternatives.


Regularly run boiling water down the drain, this will stop build up of waste. Try not to pour grease down the sink and pull out any objects before they go down the plughole, small objects like matchsticks and hair can block the pipes really quickly.

Make a foaming drain cleaner. Get 200g of baking soda, 100g of salt and 200g of vinegar. When the alkali (baking soda) meets the acid (vinegar) they bubble and push the abrasive salt through the pipes. All three products clean the drain. Finish off with pouring some boiling water down the pipe after about half an hour.

Use a drain strainer. I find these things a bit daft as I usually empty the contents that they collect into the plughole without thinking. If you do get used to them though they can be very effective in stopping objects slipping into the pipes.

Use a plunger. These are great for dislodging blockages. Be careful with them though if you use a chemical cleaner first as the liquid could splash back into your face. If your drains still stay blocked after all of the above then you might have to invest in a long rod to push down the pipes as there will probably be something rather yukkie blocking the flow. Good Luck!


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