Clogged drains happen to everyone, eventually. No matter how diligently you try to avoid grease, hair, or other common problem matter from gaining access to a sink or tub drain, they find their way in.
Cleaning clogged drains does not require either the use of caustic chemical products, or calling a plumber. DIY natural drain cleaners will help prevent grease, grime, and hair build up that prevent water from flowing through.
Why You Should Use Natural Drain Cleaners
Commercially manufactured drain cleaners are typically either chemical or enzymatic based. The latter is chemical free, but is usually a lot more expensive to buy when compared to making it yourself.
Chemical drain cleaners use sulfuric acid, or sodium hydroxide as active ingredients. These chemicals are corrosive to a host of metal types and organic matter. Chemical drain cleaners can damage and even eat through copper, iron, PVC, and galvanized pipes.
The environmental impact of using chemical drain cleaners can be massive, as well. The solution that is poured into a clogged drain can eventually make its ways into waterways and the ground we grow, raise, and hunt food upon.
The plastic containers the chemical based drain cleaners are sold in cannot usually be recycled due to the ingredients it once contained.
A chemical-based drain cleaner might clear the clog, but can also harm your skin and clothing. Enzymatic drain cleaners do not harm clothing, skin, waterways, or the environment. They live inside the drain, at least for a while, and eat away the debris that is causing dirty and stinky water to build up in your sink, washing machine, tub, or shower.
DIY Natural Drain Cleaner Recipes
Recipe #1: Salt, Baking Soda, And Vinegar
- Combine ¼ of a cup of standard table salt with ½ cup of baking soda.
- Pour the mixture into the clogged rain.
- Heat 1 cup of vinegar (both apple cider and distilled white vinegar work) to a simmer.
- Pour the vinegar on top of the salt and baking soda that were placed in the drain. The solution will foam a lot, and then bubble as the vinegar is added.
- Place a drain cover of some type over the solution to prevent it from escaping into the air instead pushing the foaming and bubbles into the pipe.
- Allow the solution to settle for approximately 15 minutes.
- Pour boiling water or very hot tap water down the drain continuously for at least 30 seconds (60 seconds is better) until the remains of the DIY natural drain cleaner has been washed into the pipes.
If you are dealing with a substantially clogged drain, you may need to repeat this process a second time. Get into the habit of cleaning your drains with this natural solution once or twice a month to prevent clogs.
Recipe #2: Baking Soda, Cream Of Tartar, and Salt
- Mix together ½ of a cup of standard of table salt, 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar, and 2 cups of baking soda.
- Pour the solution into a Mason jar and affix a firm fitting lid and ring.
- Boil 2 cups of water.
- Shake the solution in the jar vigorously for about 30 seconds while waiting for the water to boil.
- Slowly pour the boiling water down the clogged rain, followed quickly by the natural cleaning solution in the jar.
- Do not allow anything to flow into the drain for at least 60 minutes after using the solution.
Both the baking soda and the salt will work together to break up the goo that clogged the drain while the cream of tartar cleans the metal.
Recipe #3: Dish Soap And Boiling Water
- Boil a medium pot of water.
- Place 2 tablespoons of Blue Dawn or your natural homemade dish soap into the pot.
- Slowly and carefully pour the solution into the clogged drain.
- You may need to repeat this process twice for dense or grease clogs. Get into the habit of using this treatment once a week to prevent build-up.
Recipe #4: Baking Soda And Lemon Juice
- Pour a half of a cup of baking soda down the clogged drain.
- Pour a half a cup of lemon juice down the drain as a chaser.
- Cover the mixture in the drain for at least 60 minutes.
- Remove the cover on the drain.
- Pour a medium pot of boiling water down the drain to flush the solution inside.
Recipe #5: DIY Natural Garbage Disposal Cleaner
If you have a garbage disposal in your kitchen sink, it too can become clogged over time, even if you try to avoid putting big chunks of food inside.
Making vinegar and lemon ice cubes will help clear stuck on sticky gunk from the garbage disposal mechanisms. Both the lemon and vinegar will disinfect and clear nasty odors from the disposal area and pipes as it breaks up chunks of food.
- Slice lemon into small cubes – smaller than you would use when garnishing a drink.
- Place one or two chunks of lemon into each mold in an ice cube tray.
- Fill up the rest of the ice cube mold space with the vinegar. I prefer to use distilled white vinegar, but apple cider vinegar will work just as well.
- Place the ice cube tray in the freezer overnight.
- Remove the ice cube tray from the freezer.
- Release a couple of the frozen lemon and vinegar cubes from the molds and return the tray to the freezer.
- Place the cubes into the disposal, and turn the machine on.
- Repeat this process once or twice a week to keep the disposal clean, clear, disinfected, and smelling superb.
To avoid creating clogged drains as much as possible, do not run bones, thick vegetables, or fruit peels down the garbage disposal.
Never allow grease to flow into the drain. Instead, allow it to cool, and pour over cat or dog feed. You can also allow the grease to solidify and then put in your trash can – but do not let it linger long or it will stink and draw bugs.
Placing a hair trap cover on your tub and shower drains will not stop soap scum build up that can clog a drain, but will prevent the bulk of hair from getting inside.
Using these DIY natural drain cleaners and clog removers will help prevent not just the need to call a plumber or the use of caustic chemicals, but help ensure potentially harmful bacteria is not building up in your drain and sink.
Tara lives on a 56 acres farm in the Appalachian Mountains, where she faces homesteading and farming challenges every single day, raising chickens, goats, horses, and tons of vegetables. She’s an expert in all sorts of homesteading skills such as hide tanning, doll making, tree tapping, and many more.