clogged pipe

6 Winter Hacks For Unclogging A Stubborn Drain (Without Chemicals)

November 08, 2023

Clogged drains can be a major headache, especially during the winter months. With the colder temperatures, pipes are more prone to freezing and causing blockages. The last thing anyone wants to deal with during the holiday season is a clogged drain, but fear not–there are effective and eco-friendly ways to unclog those stubborn pipes without resorting to harsh chemicals. In this blog post, we will share six winter hacks for unclogging a stubborn drain without damaging your plumbing or the environment. Say goodbye to clogged drains and hello to hassle-free winter plumbing with these helpful tips.

Understanding the Causes of Clogged Drains during Winter

During the winter months, clogged drains can become a common and frustrating problem. But why do drains seem to clog more frequently during this time? Understanding the causes can help us prevent and address clogs effectively.

One major cause of clogged drains during winter is the drop in temperature. As the weather gets colder, the pipes in our homes can freeze. When water freezes, it expands, which can lead to blockages in the pipes. This is especially common in older homes with pipes that are not well-insulated.


If you live in the Northeast, freezing pipes are an all-too-common problem. When water freezes, it expands, which can lead to pipe blockages, especially if those pipes are poorly insulated.

Another culprit of clogged drains in winter is the increase in usage. With holidays and gatherings, we tend to use our plumbing systems more frequently. This means more food scraps, grease, and debris going down the drains, increasing the risk of blockages.

Additionally, winter can bring an increase in tree roots infiltrating our sewer lines. When the ground freezes, it can cause shifts in the soil, making it easier for tree roots to invade and clog our pipes.

By understanding these causes, we can take proactive steps to prevent clogs during winter. This includes insulating pipes, disposing of grease properly, and scheduling regular drain maintenance. In the following sections, we will delve deeper into these prevention methods, ensuring that you have a hassle-free winter plumbing experience.

Six Proven Non-Chemical Methods for Unclogging Drains

Clogged drains can be a frustrating and inconvenient problem, especially during the winter months. But fear not, because we’ve got six proven non-chemical methods for unclogging drains that will save you time, money, and hassle. These methods are not only effective, but they are also environmentally friendly, so you can unclog your drains without damaging your plumbing or the planet.

  1. The first method is using a plunger. Plungers create suction and can loosen any debris that may be causing a blockage. Simply place the plunger over the drain, making sure it covers the entire opening. Push down and pull up in a quick motion to create suction. Repeat this process several times to help clear the clog.
  2. Another effective method is using a wire hanger. Straighten out the hanger and create a small hook at one end. Insert the hooked end into the drain and use it to fish out any hair or debris that may be causing a blockage. Be gentle and avoid pushing the clog further down the drain.
  3. Boiling water is also a simple and effective method for unclogging drains. Boil a pot of water and carefully pour it down the drain. The hot water can help melt any grease or debris that may be causing a blockage.
  4. Baking soda and vinegar are a dynamic duo for unclogging drains. Pour some baking soda down the drain, followed by vinegar. Let it sit for a few minutes and then rinse with hot water. This combination helps to break down organic material and can clear stubborn clogs.
  5. A drain snake can also be used to physically remove any blockages from the drain. Insert the snake into the drain and rotate it to catch onto the clog. Pull it out gently to clear the blockage.
  6. Lastly, using a wet-dry vacuum can be a powerful tool for unclogging drains. Set the vacuum to liquid mode, place the hose over the drain, and create a seal. Turn on the vacuum to suck out any debris that may be causing the clog.


Sometimes, simply combining baking soda and vinegar in your drain is enough to breakdown organic material and relieve clogs.

With these proven non-chemical methods, you can confidently tackle clogged drains without harming the environment or your plumbing.

Long-Term Drain Care Tips to Keep Your Drains Running Smoothly Throughout Winter

Now that you have learned about the immediate methods to unclog your drains, let’s discuss some long-term drain care tips to keep your plumbing running smoothly throughout the winter season. By implementing these tips, you can prevent future clogs and save yourself the hassle of dealing with drain blockages.

First, make sure to dispose of grease and food scraps properly. Instead of pouring them down the drain, collect grease in a jar or can and throw it in the trash. Food scraps should also be thrown in the garbage or composted, rather than rinsed down the sink.

Next, consider insulating your pipes. Insulation can help prevent them from freezing and expanding, reducing the risk of blockages. You can use foam pipe insulation sleeves or wrap towels or blankets around exposed pipes.


A little bit of insulation goes a long way in the winter. Be sure you wrap your plumbing pipes with foam pipe insulation sleeves before it’s too late.

Additionally, regularly clean your drains using natural cleaning methods. Pouring boiling water down the drain once a week can help melt any buildup and prevent clogs. Using baking soda and vinegar once a month can help break down organic material and keep your drains clear, too.

Avoid using harsh chemicals. Chemical drain cleaners may seem like a quick fix, but they can damage your pipes and harm the environment. Stick to natural, eco-friendly methods for unclogging your drains.

Finally, consider scheduling regular professional drain maintenance. A plumber can inspect your pipes, clean them thoroughly, and identify any potential issues before they become major problems.

By following these long-term drain care tips, you can ensure that your plumbing system remains clog-free throughout the winter season. Contact us today for 20% off of plumbing winterization services!