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Do Homemade Drain Cleaners Really Work?

Although there are many commercial drain cleaners available for purchase, they may not always be the most effective solution for clearing clogs. When faced with a blocked drain, resolving the issue without professional assistance can be difficult. 

While homemade remedies may not be a viable option in every scenario, they often provide better alternatives to commercial products that can be harsh, poisonous, and harmful to sink and tub surfaces. Nevertheless, certain homemade drain cleaners can be just as efficient as hiring a professional plumber.

Drain Cleaning Tricks to Try First

There are numerous causes for a clogged drain, and just as many techniques for resolving the issue. To begin with, we will focus on the most common method. Baking soda and vinegar drain cleaners are frequently mentioned and with good reason. Follow these steps after removing all the water from the sink or tub:

  1. Pour one cup of baking soda into the drain.
  2. Add two cups of boiling water to the drain.
  3. Pour an additional cup of baking soda and one cup of white vinegar down the drain.
  4. Cover the drain and wait for the bubbles to subside.

This method is effective because hot water can dissolve any sludge buildup in the pipes. The baking soda and vinegar react to create a bubbling foam that dislodges any blockages in the drain. To ensure that all the material is cleared through the pipe, pour additional water down the drain. Congratulations! You may not need to call a 24-hour plumber.

Homemade drain cleaner without baking soda

While baking soda can effectively clear many clogged drains, it may not be sufficient for those caused by the buildup of fats, oils, and grease in kitchen sinks. In reality, certain studies have revealed that hot water and detergent are more effective in dissolving these types of blockages.1

Natural drain cleaner hair dissolved

In the case of a clogged drain with excessive hair, water, vinegar, or baking soda may not be effective. Enzyme drain cleaners are a viable option as they can break down and dissolve the hair. Although not typically made at home due to difficulties in concentrating sufficient bacteria and enzymes, they are worth considering as an eco-friendly and efficient solution.

Another effective homemade drain cleaner is made using salt, vinegar, and borax. When combined with hot water and given enough time, this solution can clear a variety of clogs. If you can successfully unclog a drain using this mixture, then you have found an alternative to baking soda for a DIY drain cleaner. Many people still prefer baking soda, but it can be substituted with lemon juice, which produces a pleasant odor and creates foam when combined with hot water, effectively resolving plumbing issues after running the water for several minutes.

Do Homemade Drain Cleaners Always Work?

The effectiveness of baking soda or vinegar in removing a blockage from a pipe depends on the type and severity of the obstruction. For instance, these remedies may not be effective in cases of severe blockage or when a foreign object is lodged in the pipe. In such situations, a plastic drain cleaner may be necessary to remove the obstruction.

If homemade unclogging methods fail, it may be necessary to seek professional assistance to prevent serious damage to the pipes. In some cases, an emergency plumber may be the safest option for pipe cleaning, especially if the pipes are old. A professional plumbing inspection can also help identify any potential issues and prevent costly repairs down the line. To ensure prompt and efficient plumbing repair, contact MET Plumbing & Air Conditioning at 281-603-9949 today!


  1. https://brendid.com/why-you-should-never-use-baking-soda-and-vinegar-to-clean-clogged-drains/
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