Published on July 17th, 2008 | by Stephanie Evans
Homemade Drain Cleaner
It happens to all of us. At some point, the kitchen or bathroom drain clogs and water backs up. At times horribly unpleasant odors are unleashed. While standard practice calls for lye-based drain cleaners, these toxic products can damage the pipes as well as your lungs. If preventative measures have failed to keep your drains clear, there is a natural, homemade, drain cleaner solution.
Instead of reaching for that bottle of caustic drain cleaner under the sink, keep our water clean by whipping up your own!
A Simple Recipe for Homemade Drain Cleaner
You Will Need:
2 cups baking soda
4 cups boiling water
1 cup vinegar
Directions for Homemade Drain Cleaner:
- Remove all water from the sink or tub and pour about 1 cup of baking soda down the drain. Make sure that baking soda makes it down the drain.
- Next, pour about 2 Cups of boiling water down the drain. The baking soda mixed with boiling water dissolves the sludge and gunk in the pipe, even if you don’t see it happening. Wait a few minutes.
- Now, pour another cup baking soda down the drain then add 1 cup of white vinegar and plug the drain immediately. If you’re unclogging a double sink, plug both drains. You’ll hear sizzling coming up from the drain and see bubbles foaming up.
- When the bubbles have died down, add the remaining boiling water down the drain.
- Repeat this process if necessary. This can be used as a monthly treatment to help prevent future clogs too; simply pour a cup of baking soda down the drains followed by boiling water.
If the Drain Remains Clogged:
If the the drain remains clogged after using the homemade cleaner, you might need to use a small plunger for sinks. The baking soda and vinegar loosens the clogging material, freeing the gunk that should start moving around with the plunger’s pressure.
- Fill the sink with enough water to seal the plunger around the bottom against the sink.
- Push down fully and pull up quickly. Repeat if necessary.
How Does Natural Drain Cleaner Work?
Baking soda is a base and when combined with vinegar, an acid, reacts to form carbon dioxide and sodium acetate (remember the volcano you built in science class back in school- same concept! This also works as a magic combination for vegan baked goods!). In drains, it works to create scrubby bubbles on the drain’s insides. Instead of rising up and out, as with the volcano, it is sent down into the drain dissolving the gunk. These natural, non-toxic ingredients get flushed further down ensuring a clog-free drain. Baking soda and vinegar are common, non-toxic ingredients posing no health dangers when used as discussed. They are natural ingredients preferable to the sodium hydroxide, commonly known as lye, found in most drain cleaners. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, sodium hydroxide can burn skin. If swallowed, it can cause chest and abdominal pain, and has the potential to lead to death if it severely damages the lungs, tissue, or causes a loss of pulse or shock. Ewww.
Here’s more information about why we should look into greener house cleaning products, and check out the following posts for specific types of products:
Natural household cleaners
Natural ways to eliminate ants
More cleaners using lemon, orange, and hydrogen peroxide
Homemade body care products (lip balm, foot spray, body scrub)
Natural ways to deodorize a fridge
More awesome cleaning products: