Not only are commercial drain cleaners toxic to ground water, they corrode pipes, are bad for septic systems, and they can damage the materials that your sink and tub are made of. Those are all pretty good reasons to try these ideas.
1) Prevention: Try to avoid allowing food particles, grease and hair from going down the drain. A small piece of wire mesh over your drains is helpful. Periodically, use these cleaning ideas before it clogs.
2) If it is likely clogged with hair, first remove any hair with any drain cleaning stick around $6. It is simply a flexible plastic stick with short knobs. Or I have used a wire coat hanger, straightening it and making the hook on the end much smaller. Just stick it down the drain, spin it around and pull it out. You can get huge hairballs with this. Flush with plenty of hot water.
3) If more is needed: Make a volcano erupt in your drain, just like you did for a school project. Put one cup of baking soda down the drain. I use the hair removal stick to push it down the drain. Then poor in one cup of vinegar. Let the intense foaming action continue until it resolves. Some people say wait up to an hour for stubborn clogs. I haven’t tried this. Flush with very hot water. If it is still slow repeat. You can vary the amount of baking soda and vinegar as needed and use the drain cleaning stick to help dislodge anything still hanging on.
4) Sometimes boiling water alone will take care of the clog, if it is due to fats and oils that solidify in the pipe like bacon grease. Be sure to pour directly into the drain to avoid damaging plastics or cracking porcelain.
References: 1) http://www.networx.com/article/4-effective-and-natural-diy-drain-cleaner
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