Sometimes, a product comes along that just makes you go, “Wow.”
So about 3 weeks ago, we got a clog in our bathroom sink drain. I searched the net and found the traditional “eco” way to unclog drains is baking soda and vinegar. The two react together and foam up pushing a lot of stuff around, and eating away at things like hair and toothpaste and bits of skin. Baking soda and vinegar are both fine to put down your drain, as they are not toxic and won’t kill all the bacteria at the sewage treatment plant that digests all our effluents. Sounds like a good solution, doesn’t it?
Except that it doesn’t work very well. After a half gallon of vinegar, and half the huge box of baking soda, our drain only ran slightly better than before, and after a few days, the flow slowed again to a complete crawl.
There must be a better way without resorting to the other nasty, horrible, toxic chemical solution that I know works but is really bad for the environment. (You know the brand.)
Well, there is always “snaking”. That is, running a tool down the drain to manually grind up or loosen the clog. We have a snake, but it won’t work. The problem is, the snake doesn’t bend enough to get through the quick turns under the sink, and there is some mechanisms down there to pull the sink stopper shut when you pull on the lever. The mechanism is in the way, and won’t allow the snake by.
There must be some other way…
So at the store, I ran across this CLR Power Plumber. It says on the box that there are no harmful chemical, acids, or lye, and no CFCs to ruin the ozone layer. It is just a can of compressed gas with a special head. The way it works is that you fill the sink with water and then invert the can and submerge it in the clog water and use the special head to completely seal off the drain hole. Then, you take a wet cloth and plug any other holes in your sink and hold tight. Then, you press down on the can, gas is suddenly released, and the clog is pushed quickly through the narrow section of pipe to the larger section where it can flow away.
I thought, what the heck. Might as well try it before resorting to the nasty chemicals.
So I followed the instructions, filled the sink with water, inverted the can, plugged the other hole, then pushed. Whoosh! It took about 1 second, and then it was done. That’s it. One second! The sink drains normally now like it was never clogged at all.
We suffered through three weeks of vinegar, and it was all solved in 1 second? In fact, it is faster and easier than the chemical solution (the vinegar/baking soda method, or the even nasty chemical solution). And, as a side benefit, it doesn’t eat away at your pipes. We’re never going back.
The only thing that could make it more eco is that the compressed gas probably required a motor run on fossil fuels or electricity from fossil fuels to compress it. If there was some way to compress air for a while by a hand or foot pump until the pressure was high enough, and then use that as your gas, then that would be better too.
I did find a hand pump solution from Cobra Products, which I may try in the future. That goes the extra mile to be more eco friendly at the minor cost of some elbow grease. If it works as well as this can of compressed air did, it will be no problem.