Home remedies to clean a clogged drain

Written by dan ketchum
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Home remedies to clean a clogged drain
Natural home remedies cut through moderately clogged drains. (down the drain image by pix29 from Fotolia.com)

Discarded food, grease, hair and other elements clog drains in the kitchen and bathroom. Pesky drain clogs cause water to back up and sometimes release undesirable odours throughout the house. Luckily, a variety of home remedies cut through drain clogs with relative ease. These remedies offer cost-effective, accessible and safe, eco-friendly alternatives to commercial chemical drain openers.

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Boiling Water

Boiling water is the initial home remedy for clogged drains. This simple, readily available remedy is especially effective against grease, which cools and congeals when poured down the drain. Grease works with bits of food to clog plumbing. Bring a kettle of water to a boil and slowly pour it down the drain. This should cut through light clogs and grease. Repeat the process numerous times to combat tougher build-up. Only use boiling water on drains with metal pipes, as the heat may melt plastic in some cases. For a water-based drain opener with slightly more punch, add 1/2 cup of salt to every 4 L of water.

Baking Soda

Baking soda remedies are a bit stronger than boiling water when it comes to unclogging a drain, though still safe, accessible and natural. Pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain and follow it with 3 cups of hot water. The diluted baking soda acts as an alkaline liquid that may dissolve elements clogging the drain; it also creates a slippery surface for smoother drainage. If this remedy doesn't cut it, try 1/2 cup of baking soda poured down the drain followed by 1/2 cup of plain white or cider vinegar. Cover the drain and let it sit for a few hours, allowing the chemical reaction to cut through clogs before flushing the drain with hot water. Don't follow commercial or chemical drain openers with a vinegar solution, as this may create a chemical reaction resulting in dangerous fumes.


Most brands of carbonated cola soft drinks can double as handy household drain cleaners. Depending on the severity of the clog, pour a can, bottle or 2-L container of cola down the drain and let it sit overnight. In the morning, flush the drain out with hot water. The phosphoric acid contained in soft drinks eats through many clogs. Cola also cleans toilets; simply fill the toilet bowl with the soda and let it sit for an hour before flushing. This home remedy is a safe and environmentally friendly alternative to harsh chemical drain openers.

Home remedies to clean a clogged drain
The phosphoric acid contained in cola cuts through some clogs. (water splash (in fact it's cola) - bottle and cola image by Stasys Eidiejus from Fotolia.com)

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