If you need to clean a clogged slow moving drain fast and don’t want to mess around with harsh chemicals, or call a plumber, you are in luck. How do you clear a slow moving drain, plugged with hair and other debris?
The Zip-It™ drain cleaning tool will clean hair from your sink, shower or bathtub drain from clogged hair in seconds without the use of chemicals. It is faster and more efficient than chemicals, environmentally friendly and most of the times no tools are necessary. It will clear most drains in just a couple of minutes.
If you don’t believe it’s that simple, let’s look at the reasons why you should use a Zip-It over chemicals, including the ingenuity of the gadget, its cost, it’s safety features, its efficiency and more importantly, it’s environmental friendliness.
If you can’t wait and need a Zip-It™ now you can get one here on Amazon – made in USA. Be sure to buy the Zip-It brand as the others are made cheaply and have been know to break off inside drains making your problems worse. Buy the original Zip-It for trouble free cleaning of your drains
What is a Zip-It?
If you aren’t familiar with a Zip-It, you have been missing out when you have a clogged drain to contend with!
I am Gene Luoma, the creator of the original Zip-It. Like a lot of inventors, I had a problem and was looking for a solution. I wanted to find a way to deal with my daughter’s long hair, which kept clogging up the drains in the home.
I had gone into my garage and spotted an old, plastic sled that looked promising. I cut a long piece from it, both narrow and long enough to fit down the bathroom drain. I then used a knife to fashion barb-like teeth along either side of the strip. (source).
I used my new creation to slide into the drain, and pulled back. I could not believe how much hair and debris was sitting in front of me!
These circumstances provided the wave of inspiration that resulted in the Zip-It.
Since its original invention, there have been quite a few imitations brought out, and you are bound to find quite a few variations of the Zip-It on the market today. However, the original Zip-It model is still the best model available today. Look for it by the name Zip-It™ drain cleaner.
If you’re interested in learning more, you can read, “Who Invented the Original Plastic Drain Stick?”
It’s always amazing when someone is able to invent a relatively simple object which can become such an essential item in one’s life.
Essentially, a Zip-It is a long piece of flexible plastic that you can insert down the drain.
The length of the plastic has tiny little barbs that snag the hair. Because the plastic is flexible, it’s able to quite effortlessly slide into the drain and assist in unclogging the blockage.
Zip-Its are known for their ability to clear drains of blockages, especially those caused by hair. There are many reasons you should consider investing in a Zip-It tool.
How to use a Zip-It to Rid your Drain or Hair
First, you need to assess the type of blockage you have. Zip-Its are specifically known for their ability to get things such as hair out of drains because their design allows them to catch the hair.
Before using your Zip-It, you may want to employ an alternative method as a pre-step. You can do this by using an enzymatic drain cleaner or by using a homemade drain cleaner recipe.
Hot water is also a really good tool at your disposal; simply turn on the hot water tap and let it run down the drain 5 to 10 minutes before using your Zip-It tool.
What you’ll achieve by employing a pre-step strategy is to loosen the clog and make it easier for your Zip-It to do its job.
Just be sure that you don’t use the Zip-It right afterward; you don’t want any of the liquids splashing up and getting into your face and eyes. It’s actually a good idea to have a pair of goggles or protective glasses handy when unclogging a drain.
How to Use Your Zip-It:
Step 1: Insert the Zip-It
Insert the ZIP-IT into the drain. They range from about 17 to 20 inches in length (about 43- 51cm), so they can reach most blockages. Be aware that if you are using it in a bathtub, you may encounter some trouble with the drainage pipe blocking access.
You want to insert it until the top of the Zip-It is in line with the top of the drain. Make sure that you have enough room to comfortably grasp the top of the gadget, and you can freely move around.
Step 2: Slowly Pull it Up
Once you’ve inserted the Zip-It into the drain, the tiny teeth-like barbs will grip onto the mass of hair, and you should be able to pull it up. Make sure you have a dustbin handy to throw away the hair.
Step 3: Repeat the Process
Next, insert the Zip-It again; this time, try to wiggle it around a bit to make sure you grab any of the stray pieces. You can repeat the process over again until you have removed the entire mass from the drain.
Step 4: Check to See if the Drainage has Improved
Once you think that you’ve removed most of the clog, run the hot water and check to see if the water drains more easily.
Step 5: Remove Debris, Wash Gadget, and Store
If you are going to use the Zip-It again, then remove all the debris from it and rinse until clean. Carefully remove the hair from the teeth, and be mindful that they are sharp, so don’t hurt yourself.
If you remove all the hair and debris off of the gadget, you should be able to use your Zip-It again in the future. Store it in a safe place.
Whether you would like to reuse the Zip-It or not is entirely up to you. While the packaging asks you to throw it away after use, single-use plastic can be quite devastating to the environment.
Investing in a Zip-It drain cleaner and knowing how to use one can save you both time and money.
Which Drain Stick to Buy
Make sure you purchase the right plastic drain stick. The last thing you want to do is buy one that breaks or bends when inserted into the drain.
That’s why it’s important to choose the Zip-It brand, which you can trust because of its well-established capabilities.
A good way to make sure you are buying a good-quality brand is to do some research beforehand. It is also a good idea to check for online reviews. Other factors to consider is if they are ethically made and environmentally friendly. You can view my entire story here.
Recently the original ZIP-IT brand launched their Zip-It™ Green Snake, which is a new and improved version of the older model. The one difference in this new model is that it is longer, sitting at 25 inches.
Additional changes include the handle, which is bigger and easier to grasp. The design has also changed slightly; the shaft of the green snake is now round as opposed to flat, which allows it a better range of motion.
Moreover, the new model is very environmentally friendly. It comes without any external packaging, and it is also made from recycled plastics.
The green snake is inexpensive and is available through eBay. They also come in singles, packs of two, and packs of five.
Knowing your Options: the Clogged, the Blocked, and the Ugly
From both an environmental perspective and an economical one, investing in a Zip-It should be your first port of call.
But to make this decision confidently, it’s good to know a bit about the types of drain cleaners available, as well as the types of clogs you may be dealing with.
Drain cleaners divide into three main groups: Acidic drain cleaners, alkaline drain cleaners, and enzymatic drain cleaners (source).
Types of Drain Cleaners
Acidic Drain Cleaners
Acidic drain cleaners are fast-acting drain cleaners. They use high concentrations of sulphuric acid to clean blockages in the pipes.
The chemicals dissolve the mass, which, in turn, clears the pipe of any obstructions. Acidic drain cleaners are appealing to people because they are fast-acting and don’t require much effort. One just has to pour them down the drain and wait.
However, sulphuric acid can be really dangerous if not handled correctly. It can cause burns as well as irritate the sinuses. If it falls into the wrong hands, such as those of a child, it can be life-threatening (source).
If you do choose to have acid-based cleaners in your home, make sure to store it correctly and safely so children or pets can’t access them.
Sulphuric acid can also have a lasting impact on the environment, and it can burn plants and animals. The Australian National Pollutant Inventory reports that sulphuric acid can also have a lasting impact on aquatic life (source).
From an economic perspective, acidic drain cleaners have quite a diverse price range. Max Gel Drain Clog Remover and Cleaner, which is recommended by consumer expert.org, is relatively inexpensive.
If you are wondering how long an 80oz bottle will last, well, it depends, but you will use about 15-20oz per application. However, this varies depending on the product you are using as well as the severity of the blockage.
Alkaline Drain Cleaners
Alkaline drain cleaners use some form of hydroxide — usually sodium hydroxide, commonly known as lye or caustic soda.
Sodium hydroxide-based drain cleaners are most successful on clogs caused by grease because the sodium hydroxide can convert the grease into soap, and it simply washes away.
As with acidic-based cleaners, alkaline cleaners pose a health risk; they can be deadly if eaten by children or pets. The fumes created from them are also known to have adverse reactions and can cause sodium hydroxide poisoning (source).
Sodium hydroxide, while considered less environmentally damaging than acidic-based cleaners, has been reported by the European Chemicals Bureau to also have a toxic effect on aquatic life (source).
The cost of lye or alkaline drain cleaners also varies. However, they tend to be more expensive than acidic drain cleaners. One of the products recommended by consumerexpert.org is Pure Lye Drain Opener, which is quite pricey.
Enzymatic Drain Cleaners
Enzymatic drain cleaners are the most gentle of the three in terms of both human health and environmental health.
This gentleness is because they are formulated using natural components such as bacteria to break down blockages and can work well on hair clogged drains.
These enzymes can also be good for your plumbing system as a whole, and from an environmental perspective, they don’t leak into the water or soil.
Enzymatic drain cleaners are slower-acting, though, and take more time to clear away the blockage.
Enzymatic Drain Cleaners, such as the Green Gobbler Ultimate Main Drain Opener plus Drain Cleaner plus Hair Clog Remover, is relatively economical depending on how often you are going to be using it.
In your home, you may experience different types of blockages in different parts of the house. Below are some of the types of blocks you may have encountered.
Bear in mind that if you can manually unclog the sink or pipe, it’s always preferable to using chemicals.
Types of Blocks
The cause of kitchen sink blockages is usually a buildup of food and fats in the kitchen.
The plumbing design in the kitchen may be in such a way that you can remove the mass by removing one of the pipes under the sink. Otherwise, you may have to resort to a drain cleaner.
For fatty blockages, a soapy-style of drain cleaner works best, so something alkaline preferably over something acidic.
Zip-Its can be used in kitchen sinks, especially if the blockage consists of debris, which is easy to grip.
Grease and fats may make the mass too slippery for the ZIP-IT to grasp properly. However, it is worth a try as the gadget may be able to help reduce the size of the clog.
Vanity Sinks and Showers
The culprit here is most often hair. The best way to unblock a vanity sink or shower is with a tool such as the Zip-It.
You can first try manual solutions to unblock a toilet by using a plunger as well as a toilet snake. Zip-Its can also help to unclog toilets depending on the depth of the blockage and the accessibility.
If these methods daily fail to get rid of the blockage, you may need to resort to a chemical cleaner.
Why You Shouldn’t Opt for Chemical Drain Cleaners
The problem with hair-blocked drains, in particular, is that they are rarely a once-off occurrence. As such, if you opt for chemical drain cleaners, you are going to need to use them regularly.
Not only are they not the safest thing to have in your home, but they can be damaging to your health, the health of the environment, and the health of your bank account.
While chemical solutions are fast-acting and require the least amount of effort, they aren’t always the best choice, especially if you need to unclog your drains frequently.
Even plumbers themselves will rarely use chemicals to get rid of a blockage if there is a mechanical option to try first (source).
One of the reasons for this is because certain chemicals are corrosive. The reaction of the chemicals in the drain does not only target the clog or mass, but they also damage your pipes.
This is especially true if the chemicals are in your pipes for an extended period.
Older plumbing systems that use PVC piping are more at risk; however, no pipes are immune to the dangers of chemical drain cleaners.
If you do end up with corroded pipes in your home, you’ll need to have them replaced, which will end up costing you a lot more money.
Environmentally-Conscious Alternatives to Chemical Drain Cleaners
There are quite a few alternatives to chemical drain cleaners. These include manual or mechanical solutions like a plunger or a Zip-It, but there are also alternative food-products that you can use, such as vinegar and bicarb.
There are also quite a few recipes available online for homemade drain cleaners.
The David Suzuki Foundation, which is an environmental organization based in Canada, has a recipe for a natural drain cleaner using three ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen cupboard or pantry.
The recipe requires:
- 125g Baking Soda
- 240ml White Vinegar
- 1l Boiling Water
The first step is to put the baking soda down the drain. Then, you can add the vinegar. You’ll notice that it begins to bubble. Leave it for about 10 minutes and then add the boiling water.
The David Suzuki Organization has a whole host of natural recipes and green resources that you can download here.
This organization also suggests that there is a level of precaution you can take to prevent drain blockages, which includes drain covers.
You may consider using one of these natural methods in conjunction with your Zip-It.
How Zip-It’s are a More Environmentally Friendly Solution
Zip-Its are more environmentally friendly. While they are made of recyclable plastic, they are also entirely reusable. If you can get over being squeamish, you can simply clean off the hair and wash it, and use it again.
If you’re inspired by an effort to go green, you should read more about how to unclog a drain naturally using a zip it tool.
It may be best to come to terms with the fact that no matter how gross and inconvenient, hair in the drain is here for the foreseeable future.
Luckily, we have inventors such as Gene Luoma, who come up with easy and affordable ways to deal with these inconveniences.
The Zip-It is a handy little gadget that is affordable, user-friendly, and safe to use and store. A definite must-have for anyone looking to unclog hair from the drain.