There are common household products that can make a safe drain cleaner. This guide is about homemade drain cleaners.
I would like to know if there is a homemade way to clear drains instead of having to buy Draino or another name-brand clog remover? I have some trouble with my bathroom sink not draining properly at times.
Why not clean out your drain by taking it apart? You probably have it clogged full of hair. We never use any chemical to try to eat out the clog rather, we just open up the drain and clean it out. Why buy "garbage" chemicals, like drano, that don't work anyways?
I'm sorry folks but if you mix equal parts vinegar (dilute acetic acid) and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate, base) the two will neutralize each other, i don't think the chemcial reaction is gonna do anything to break up hair/soap/gunk, all you are gonna get is salt water
Editor's Note: It's true that they do neutralize each other but the fizzing loosens the gunk. I've used this many times with great results. Just keep pouring in vinegar until it stops fizzing, then run hot water and out the clog goes. If it is a hard clog, like something solid stuck in the pipe, it won't help but it is particles of food, hair and oils, it works very well.
If I could pour anything down my drain it wouldn't be plugged! Get a drain snake aka 'drain auger'.
(Submitted via email)
I was looking for a home made substitute for draino, to safe some money and not to use harsh chemicals. I tried the advise from different ladies, to use salt, vinegar and baking soda and it worked.Thank you girls. my beloved one
Can you clean drains with salt?
Pete from Aurora, CO
Drain Cleaner: For light drain cleaning, mix 1/2 cup salt in 4 liters water, heat (but not to a boil) and pour down the drain. For stronger cleaning, pour about 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain, then 1/2 cup vinegar. The resulting chemical reaction can break fatty acids down into soap and glycerine, allowing the clog to wash down the drain. After 15 minutes, pour in boiling water to clear residue. Caution: only use this method with metal plumbing. Plastic pipes can melt if excess boiling water is used. Also, do not use this method after trying a commercial drain opener--the vinegar can react with the drain opener to create dangerous fumes.
Drains are usually clogged with grease in the kitchen or with hair in the bathroom. Does salt have any effect on grease or hair? Not at my house. I could not clean a greasy pan with salt or salt water.
When you mix baking soda and vinegar together, you get a chemical reaction. They bubble together, and maybe those bubbles would loosen something grungy in your sink, but when the reaction is done -- you have salt water again, and carbon dioxide that has bubbled off. Baking soda, dissolved in water, should mix with grease and make soap, as that is how soap is made -- a base and a fat. Personally, for a kitchen sink, I find that hot water keeps the sink clear. If you can't dig out a hair clog, you are going to have to go to a commercial drain cleaner.
Cleaning drains with vinegar, baking soda and hot water. What's the recipe?
Empty about 1/2 box of baking soda into your drain.
Follow that with about 1/2-1 cup of vinegar.
It will boil for a few inutes.
Follow that with about 2 cups of boiling water out of a kettle.
There's no recipe that I'm aware of. I just sprinkle baking soda down the drain, pour in white vinegar and keep putting in small amounts of vinegar until it stops bubbling and then rinse with hot water.
I gave my suggestions for cleaning drains a few days ago, but maybe you missed them. I use about 1/4 cup baking soda, a cup of vinegar, and follow with a couple of cups of boiling water.Let set for a few minutes, then flush drains with cold water. There are no exact measurements, but this is approximately what I offered.
Clean out clogged pipes with three kitchen ingredients.
I have used this on two sinks and one bathtub and it works.
Can you use baking soda and salt to open slow moving drains? If so, how much of each?
By Sharon from Mackinaw, IL
Buy a box of baking soda and a bottle of vinegar, dump the soda in your drains, followed by vinegar, let bubble out about 15 minutes, then run clean water down sink.
To keep sink drains smelling good: once a month, sprinkle 1/4 cup baking soda into drain, follow with a cup of white vinegar. Let this bubble up and work for about 5 minutes. Next pour a cup of boiling water into drain Leave for another 5 minutes, then flush down with running water.
By ruthvalleygal from Harlingen, TX
You can unclog your sink, shower or tub with 3 antacid tablets and 1 cup of vinegar. Works wonders!
By Cathy K. from Dallas, GA
To safely clean drains, I pour baking soda into the drain followed by table salt. If the clog isn't bad, I just use cold water to flush it down. If the clog is bad, you will need to use boiling water. Since this will not harm pipes or the environment, you can use this weekly to keep drains from becoming clogged.
By Kris from New Albany, IN
What I have used in the past, is you pour about a cup of baking soda in the drain. It will not all go down, but what you do is slowly pour white vinegar down the drain to rinse the baking soda down. When you can see the drain, stop and let it fizz. Wait till it's through fizzing and flush the drain with water. This works really well. I will try yours though. (02/12/2009)
By Chris t.
Unfortunately, none of these methods really do much, especially baking soda and salt. Drains are most often clogged with grease, hair, and solidified soap (aka scum). Neither baking soda nor salt, alone or in combination, has any significant chemical or mechanical action against those three problems.
I also always recommend boiling water after any drain cleaning procedure to melt away any residual grease and soap. Cold water can harden grease further and will do little to flush stuck-on grease down since grease and water repel each other. Liquid grease, however, is carried down the drain by the water.
Vinegar, being acidic, does have a mild effect on grease, and the foaming will allow it to reach the sides of the pipe. Still, the effect is extremely weak and will do little to clean a drain. If vinegar was a good degreaser, you wouldn't want to eat it since our cells are coated with lipids (fats).
To prove my claims, simply do a little experiment. Coat something (i.e. spoon, Popsicle stick) with animal grease (i.e. bacon fat) and put some hair on it. Wait for the fat to solidify. Or you can simply use butter or margarine. Dip it into a baking soda/salt/water or baking soda/vinegar solution for about 30 seconds -1 min and see if the grease or hairs are gone. Usually, the answer is no. Now dip it into boiling water, and you'd see the grease melt and drip off.
Preventive maintenance is the key.
People with major problems might want to invest in bacterial enzymes to eat away the organic debris, i.e. grease, that coats your drain. This is a natural maintenance solution that sounds creepier than it really is. It involves no more than dumping a powder like substance down your drain with some warm water for activation. Google "drain enzymes" for more info. (02/08/2010)
We just had to pay big money to have the sink drain power rodded and blasted. Just the power rodding alone didn't clear the drain as it was totally clogged with grease. Even if you are careful about what you put down your drain, just rinsing off your dishes each day for many years will cause the build-up. My husband tried all sorts of things, but nothing was keeping the drain clear. It would drain some, but then start backing up. I saw what came out and it was not a pretty site.
I asked the guy for some preventative measures and he said, stay clear of chemicals. He said baking soda was only going to help with odors. He said we'll be good for a long time to come with what he did and we did get a 2 year guarantee. In the meantime I am going to be very careful about what goes down the drains and avoid any grease. By the way our house was new when we bought it, but we have lived here 23 years so it did take a very long time for there to be such a problem with the kitchen sink drain. (02/09/2010)
Another good thing to use is plain bleach. It will eat a clog in no time. This is good to use on your bathroom sinks and tubs. Put some in your drains at night. Flush with cold water in the morning. Do this once a month and you will have open drains. Remember how by accident splashed bleach on your jeans, it ate a hole in them? That's what it does to hair. (02/09/2010)
Please do not use bleach in your sinks or toilet on a regular bases. It will eat at your pipes and septic tank. I work in a daycare and the sanitation inspector told us not to clean with bleach everyday he said every once in a while will not hurt. (02/09/2010)
By Teresa Kay