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Top 5 Eco-Friendly Ways to Unclog Your Drains

Usually when we're in the middle of a drain emergency, we aren't exactly in the mindset to read the label on whatever we've grabbed to solve the problem. Unfortunately, that puts us at risk for contributing toxic, acidic, and/or irritating elements into our water sources (which often end up in our soil, drinking water, and aquatic habitats). So to make sure you have your options lined up for the next drain fiasco, we're giving you 5 tips that are guaranteed to keep your drain and conscious clean.Serene pond with lily pad  Let's start by talking about what those blockages usually are. Hair, food, plant matter, grease, general gunk - any of these sound familiar to you? Most clogs are made of the same stuff! Do you notice anything similar about these things? That's right! They are all organic materials - made by nature, and able to break down to natural elements that help our soil.

That's great but what does it mean?  It means we can fight nature with nature, so we don't need to send anything nasty down our drains after all (#winning).  Here's how:

1. Use a plunger. We suppose this means fighting nature with physics, but you get what we mean. Usually associated with toilets, these handy accessories are also amazing at flushing out sink and shower drains.  Pro tip: have a dedicated plunger for'll thank us later.Woman washing dirty dishes2. Homemade drain de-clogger. If plunging doesn't do the trick, it probably means whatever is lodged in there is firmly stuck...or that there is some grease involved (side note: avoid sending grease and oils down your drains at all costs! They wreak havoc on sewage systems, and are absolutely lethal to septic systems!).  To help break down the blockage, pour a generous amount of baking soda (bicarbonate soda) down your drain.  Then drench in vinegar (any kind). You'll notice it start to bubble, much like those old volcano experiments from grade school. The vinegar is mildly acidic - enough to help dissolve some of the gunk, and the baking soda bubbles help it spread and stay in place (rather than rushing down the drain).  Finally, get some very, very hot water and slowly pour it down the drain. Once the hot water is gone (you don't want to burn yourself!), get back at some plunger action if needed. This is also a great idea for general maintenance 3. Eco-friendly liquid drain cleaner. Luckily in cases like this, there are actually some very effective products you can pour down the drain without the negative impact. These products use the magic of naturally occurring enzymes (like the ones found in liver) and a mix of natural minerals to get the job done. Truly earth-friendly versions, like this one, are septic tank safe, greywater system safe, and safe for our waterways in general.

4. Use an unclogging tool. If you're still having a hard time getting that blockage to budge, there are a number of affordable and effective tools that can help you. Easy to use drain snakes and unclogging tools are available at most hardware stores. They work by being pushed down the drain, rotated a few times (to catch the clog), and then pulled out. Be aware: this not a job for the weak stomached!

5. Call a professional. If none of the above methods have worked, it usually means there is a very large blockage, potentially much further down in your pipes. Any amount of toxic stuff you'd have to introduce to the waterways could be pretty detrimental, and it probably wouldn't even solve the problem. A professional will have the right tools and knowledge to clear it all up without the chemical impact.

Being aware of the negative toll some of our cleaning products make on the planet is the first step to making meaningful change. We know it's overwhelming, and we want to help!  Every product we stock has been evaluated and determined to have a much lower (to no) negative impact on the planet. It's a great place to start if you're ready for change.  Hope to see you soon!

- Love the Earth Co.

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