There are few domestic problems as frustrating as household fixtures not working like they should. Blocked or clogged drains are a prime example. Whether it’s hair and soap scum in the shower or solidified grease in the kitchen sink, the drain clog is a common problem that pops up now and again.
The usual fix involves pouring a chemical cleaner down the drain. But there’s plenty of evidence arguing that chemical-based products should be avoided. And then there are the costs to consider every time your drains become blocked…
So that’s why we’ve put together this helpful DIY guide. By using common items found around the house, you can unblock a drain using an all natural cleaner that’s better for the environment, your plumbing and your wallet.
Here’s our DIY guide to making homemade drain cleaner using everyday items:
Why Should You Use a Natural Drain Cleaner?
A natural drain cleaner is the ideal choice for clearing out your kitchen, bathroom, shower and laundry drains, and for adding that desirable shine to your steel fittings and fixtures.
There’s no doubt that a store bought cleaner would unclog the drain just as well. However, most branded drain cleaners contain chemicals that are toxic and harmful to your health and the environment. Have you noticed how the bottles of professionally made products say always wear gloves and never let the liquid touch your skin? It’s because these solutions are highly corrosive and can cause severe burns.
It’s common for branded drain cleaners to contain sodium hydroxide, chlorine, potassium hydroxide and other chemicals, all of which are approved for use. Still, they really do not belong down the drain.
According to GWMWater, the harmful chemicals in cleaning products find their way into landfill and the water supply. Their corrosive properties act like acid and actually degrades the quality of your pipes. Chemicals also give off toxic fumes that can then emanate back from a drain if not properly flushed out.
Why Use a Homemade Drain Cleaner?
The big reason why you should use a homemade drain cleaner – and it’s a good one – is because a homemade cleaner will save you money.
Take a quick look around the supermarket and online listings. You will discover that store bought drain cleaners can set you back upwards of $10 per bottle, and most products are designed to be used up in one go. It’s common to read the directions for use which specify pouring the entire contents of the bottle down a drain to remove the clog.
So every time you have to manage a blockage, that’s the price of another bottle literally washed down the drain. There’s also no guarantee that a store bought product will unclog your drain. So the cheaper the cleaner, the better.
The good news is that you can easily craft a homemade drain cleaner using everyday items for a fraction of the cost. Baking soda and vinegar can get a drain free of clogs without causing harm and without damaging the pipe.
Even if you don’t have the products on hand, they can be purchased from a supermarket for no more than $5 and with enough left over to clean the drain a second and third time.
The recipe is simple. Anyone can follow along. Here’s how to craft your own homemade drain cleaner and use it for the best possible results:
How to Make Drain Cleaner Using Baking Soda and Vinegar
What you will need:
- 1 Cup of Baking Soda
- 1 Cup Vinegar
- Pot of Boiling Water
- Sink Plug or Duct Tape
- Hot water
Note: Mixing baking soda (Sodium bicarbonate) with vinegar (acetic acid) causes a reaction that will bubble and froth and produce very low levels of carbon dioxide. Even though the chemicals are all natural, it’s essential that the room is well ventilated or a mask is worn when pouring the ingredients down the drain.
Step 1: Start by pouring 1 litre of boiling water down the clogged drain. This can help soften up the blockage before the remainder of the solution gets to work.
Step 2: Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain working it between the cover. Then pour the other 1/2 cup.
Step 3: Next, slowly pour the entire cup of vinegar down the drain. It’s important that you pour it slow so the ingredients mix in the drain and not on the surface of the sink.
Step 4: Block the sink drain off with a lid. This can be a plug, a makeshift cover or even duct tape will work to cover the drain.
Note: The vinegar and baking soda mix will foam and bubble up out into the sink. The plug or tape will force your cleaner downwards towards the clog. Just make sure the area over the drain is dry so duct tape will stick to the surface.
Step 5: Let it sit for 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the severity of the blockage. A half hour of waiting is required only for completely blocked drains.
Step 6: Pour 1 litre of boiling water down the drain to break up remaining blockage.
Step 7: Turn on the tap and flush the drain with hot water for two minutes to remove any leftover clog debris.
And that’s all it takes to craft a homemade drain cleaner and clean the drain – no more than $5 and 30 minutes of your time.
There are reports and tips suggesting other recipes also do the trick. Baking soda and lime juice, baking soda, salt and cream of tartar and baking soda, vinegar and salt all appear to all achieve positive results. So feel free to test out these alternative recipes if the products are already stocked in your pantry.
If the drain cleaner fails to remove the grease, clogs or blockages stopping the water from flowing, repeating the process could prove successful. If not, then it’s time to call in a plumber. Jim’s Plumbing has a team of professionals available in your area 24/7 who specialise in drain cleaning.
A Jim’s Plumbing technician will provide a thorough investigation of your pipes using CCTV technology before removing the blockage using either hydro jet technology or an electric drain cleaning machine. Whichever tools in use, you can guarantee a drain that’s clean, smells fresh and is completely free of blockages.
If your drain shows a sign of clogs or slow water flow, baking soda and vinegar is the way to go. You can also call a Jim’s Plumber anytime or request a callback online.