Many drain cleaners are sold commercially but aren’t always the best to use. A clogged drain can be tough to fix yourself. Although homemade solutions don’t work in every case, they’re often better alternatives to commercial options that can be corrosive, toxic, and damaging to sink and tub materials. However, some homemade drain cleaners are as effective as calling in a plumbing professional.
Drain Cleaning Tricks to Try First
There are many reasons a drain can become clogged, and probably just as many methods to resolve the problem. We’ll start with the most general first. Perhaps the most universally discussed are drain cleaners with baking soda and vinegar—and rightfully so. With the water gone from the sink or tub, perform the following steps:
- Pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain.
- Add 2 cups of boiling water to the drain.
- Pour down another cup of baking soda, plus 1 cup of white vinegar.
- Plug the drain and wait until the bubbles start to subside.
This works because hot water is effective at dissolving pipe sludge. The baking soda and vinegar create a bubbling foam that helps dislodge any material blocking the way. Pour more water down to get all the material down through the pipe—voila! You may not need to call a 24-hour plumber.
Homemade drain cleaner without baking soda: Not every clogged drain can be fixed with baking soda, which doesn’t dissolve the fat, oil, and grease that commonly clogs kitchen sinks. In fact, some experiments have found hot water and detergent are better at dissolving such clogs.1
Natural drain cleaner hair dissolver: Water, vinegar, or baking soda won’t do much if there’s a lot of hair in the pipe. Enzyme drain cleaners can actually eat through the hair. Although not necessarily homemade (it’s hard to concentrate enough bacteria and enzymes on your own), these are worth mentioning. They can clear a clogged drain in an efficient and eco-friendly manner.
Another homemade drain cleaner—salt, vinegar, and borax—is effective for many types of clogs. Combined with hot water, it can clear a blockage if given enough time. If you can unclog a drain with salt and other compounds, great. You’ve found a DIY drain cleaner without baking soda. Many people still prefer this time-tested product. Combining baking soda with lemon juice may smell better than vinegar, and will foam up and can resolve your plumbing problems just as well if the hot water is run for several minutes.
Do Homemade Drain Cleaners Always Work?
It depends exactly what is blocking the pipe. A severe blockage is not going to be removed with baking soda or vinegar, nor is a large foreign object that’s stuck there. You may need a plastic drain cleaner to remove it.
Sometimes, the safest drain cleaner for pipes is an emergency plumber. When a homemade unclogger doesn’t work, consider a safe drain cleaner for old pipes, for example, or a professional plumbing inspection, to avoid serious damage. For prompt and effective plumbing repair, contact MET Plumbing & Air Conditioning at 281-599-3336 today!