DIY Sewer Root Killer

Updated July 05, 2018

An obstruction in your sewer line can create many problems. Tree roots that grow into sewer lines and cause obstructions, cracks and breaks in your line are a common example of this. Before tearing apart your yard to replace pipes and plumbing backups, there are several home remedies you can use to clear your sewer lines of unwanted tree roots.


There are several methods you can try to clear your sewer line of tree roots. The ingredients can be commonly found in your pantry or local home improvement store. The first method, flushing copper sulphate down the sewer line, is commonly recommended because it is the active ingredient in many commercial root-killing products. Copper sulphate is a blue crystal with high acidity that kills roots, but can later lead to corrosion problems in metal pipes. It is also considered a hazardous material and should only be used as directed with caution.

You can also use pantry items to make a concoction. Rock salt will kill any plant or root it touches. Flushing it into the sewer system several times daily should penetrate and kill the roots. You may also want to saturate the ground with a highly concentrated saline solution that the external root will absorb. This would not be ideal if you want the ground to remain fertile, but will diminish future problems. A less harsh solution is to mix vinegar with baking soda and flush it down your sewer lines. Mixing two parts vinegar with one part baking soda creates a fizzing reaction with enough acidity to kill roots. However, you may need to repeat this several times to effectively clear the sewer line of tree roots.

Clearing you line of tree roots should be on your annual maintenance list. It is important to maintain the root situation rather than wait for a problem. If you already are at the point of a problem, you may need to be more aggressive with your methods, performing a root clearing every couple of months.

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About the Author

With more than 15 years of professional writing experience, Kimberlee finds it fun to take technical mumbo-jumbo and make it fun! Her first career was in financial services and insurance.