Do your showers turn into unintentional baths thanks to slow draining water? It doesn’t have to be this way. Plumbers can be expensive, so we’ve compiled a list of six homemade drain cleaner recipes you can try first.
There are a lot of reasons people are opting to use a natural drain cleaner. For one, many people feel more at ease using food-grade ingredients in their drains as opposed to harsh chemicals. Homemade drain cleaners tend to be more gentle on your pipes too.
1. Bicarb soda and vinegar
By now you must have seen this classic DIY drain cleaning hack on TikTok – bicarb soda and vinegar. Combined, these two ingredients make a fizzy chemical reaction that freshens drains and removes clogs.
Simply pour 1/2 a cup of bicarb soda down your drain and follow it up with 1/2 a cup of vinegar. Cover the drain with a plug or cloth to keep the reaction inside your pipes where it’s needed most.
Let this sit for 10-15 minutes. Then, pour a pot of boiling water down to get rid of any remaining buildup or residue left behind. Repeat this process if necessary.
When mixed, vinegar (acetic acid) and bicarb soda (sodium bicarbonate) make carbon dioxide gas, water, and sodium acetate. The fizzing and expansion from this chemical reaction can be very effective at clearing light to moderate blockages.
Using this homemade drain cleaner once a month can be a great preventative measure to minimise the risk of blockages developing. It will also keep those bad drain smells away.
2. Cream of tartar drain cleaner
Another homemade drain unclogger known for its ability to dissolve hair and soap scum blockages is this cream of tartar mixture. Take two cups of bicarb soda, 1/8th cup of cream of tartar, and half a cup of salt. Mix these together well in a jar or container.
Pour this mixture and two cups of boiling water down your drain and let it sit for about at least an hour. The salt and bicarb soda will work on your drain clog while the cream of tartar will clean the metal.
If the blockage persists, you can follow this up with the bicarb soda and vinegar method outlined above.
3. Detergent and hot water
Those who love cooking with oil and fat, or who indulge in an oil facial cleanser are no strangers to slow draining sinks. Over time, these can cause a buildup in your pipes and cause a blockage.
The easiest way to clear this clogged drain is with a mixture of detergent and hot water. For this method, take approximately two tablespoons of dishwashing detergent and mix it with hot water. Slowly pour this mixture down your drain. Run the hot water tap for 30-60 seconds following this.
This method is effective because detergent contains surfactants that are designed to wash away grease and oil. Mixing it with hot water helps to lift these grease clogs more easily.
You can take preventative action by doing this once a week in the sinks where you commonly use oil.
4. Borax, salt, and vinegar
If you’re out of bicarb soda, you can try this homemade drain cleaner recipe as an alternative. Take 1/4 cup of Borax and a 1/4 cup of salt and mix these together. Pour this down your drain and follow it up with 1/2 a cup of vinegar and some boiling water. Plug the drain hole and let this sit for at least an hour. Rinse this down with some hot water from the tap.
5. Bicarb soda and lemon juice
No vinegar? No problem. Substitute it with lemon juice!
Take 1/2 cup of bicarb soda and pour this down your drain. Pour 1/2 cup of lemon juice and block the drain while the fizzing reactions clears away any blockages in its path. After 10-15 minutes, pour boiling water down to wash away any leftover residue.
This method is a great alternative when you’re running short on vinegar or for those of us who simply prefer the smell of lemon. Lemon juice, however, is more expensive than vinegar.
6. Bicarb soda, salt, and hot water
The final natural blocked drains remedy on our list combines bicarb soda, salt, and hot water. Take 1/2 cup of bicarb soda. 1/2 cup of salt and mix well. Pour this down your drain and wait for at least 30 minutes. Leave it overnight for especially bad blockages. Pour some boiling water down the drain to clear away the blockage and any leftover residue.
Benefits of homemade drain cleaner
There is a range of benefits when you make your own natural drain unblocker instead of using synthetic cleaners from the shops.
The first is that you avoid using harsh chemicals in your kitchen and bathroom. Many storebought drain cleaners contain sodium hydroxide or sulphuric acid. Used incorrectly, these can eat away at your pipes can cause you more problems in the long run.
Opting for DIY drain cleaners also means you avoid washing these nasty chemicals into our oceans and environment.
Another benefit is that these recipes are cost-effective and save you from having to go out and purchase expensive drain cleaners. They’re convenient too – we’d wager to say you can mix up at least one of the recipes above with what you have in the pantry already.
When the homemade drain cleaner just doesn’t cut it anymore, it’s time to pull out the trusty plunger. If this still doesn’t work, it’s time to bring in a qualified plumber.
Plumbers have the skills and tools to remove especially tough clogs so your plumbing can get back to flowing as usual. From drain snakes to hydro jet drain cleaners, a plumber will have your pipes cleaner than before they started.
With these homemade drain cleaner recipes, you can freshen drains on a regular basis and prevent the need for a plumber.