How to Unclog a Drain Naturally?

Clogged drain is one of the most common household issues that we encounter, whether it is clogged bathtub, slow-draining sink or shower drain, the inconvenience that it causes is very frustrating. While there are various methods to address this problem such as calling plumbing experts and using chemical drain cleaners available in the market, considering easy DIY natural remedies that can be done with readily available household items is a wise and economical alternative. 

These natural drain cleaning remedies are not only easy to execute but are also a green and safe alternative for regular maintenance and unclogging of the drain. Household items such as Baking soda, vinegar, salt, and hot water can work as an excellent DIY cleaner and deodorizer and we are going to teach you how you can use a combination of these to get rid of clogged drains without a fuss. 

How to Unclog a Drain Naturally

Dealing with a clogged drain can be a frustrating experience. While minor clogs can be effectively tackled using common household items and DIY remedies, larger clogs might require tools such as a plunger or plumbing snake. Unclogging the drain naturally with kitchen ingredients is non-toxic and environmentally friendly. 

Natural methods of cleaning drains also help in maintaining a clean drain and sink setup without introducing harsh chemicals into it, making it safer for your health and preventing potential allergic reactions. There are various DIY remedies that can aid in unclogging a drain naturally, some methods include using baking soda and Vinegar, Baking soda with boiling water, borax, salt and so on.

How Does Baking Soda and Vinegar Work?

How to Unclog a Drain Naturally

Baking soda and vinegar is a perfect duo that is widely used as a DIY natural drain cleaner that can effectively break down clogs, remove odors and help maintain clean drains. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a base, whereas vinegar (acetic acid) is an acid and a chemical reaction happens when a base and an acid are combined. 

When baking soda (base) combines with vinegar (acid), a chemical process occurs that creates carbon dioxide (CO2) gas, water, and a soluble salt and this response aids in the breakdown of the blockage. Once the obstructed waste is loosened by the combination of these materials, pouring hot water creates pressure, which helps to effectively clear the drain and remove the blockage. 

Here is the step-by-step instruction on how to use baking soda and vinegar to naturally unclog drains at home:

  1. Step 1: Remove standing water from the drain hole before proceeding with the solution to make sure baking soda comes into contact with the clog.
  2. Step 2: Start by pouring ½ a cup of baking soda and then follow it with ½ a cup of vinegar, directly into the drain.
  3. Step 3: You might start noticing fizzing and bubbling sounds which indicates that the soda and vinegar (acid+base) reaction inside the drain has started.
  4. Step 4: Let everything sit for 15 minutes while the natural chemicals react and work to break the clog
  5. Step 5: Lastly, pour a pot of water down the drain which should take away all the debris and scum with it, clearing the clog.

This simple and 100% natural drain cleaning solution is effective to fight against minor clogs that may happen due to some accumulation of food waste in kitchen sinks or soap scum and hair in bathroom and bathtub sinks. However, they might not be equally good against mineral deposits or huge chunks of foreign debris. If 2-3 rounds of baking soda + vinegar don’t work, you might need to look into stronger alternatives. 

How Does Baking Soda and Boiling Water Work?

Baking soda and hot water is a widely used natural home remedy and everyday item that aids in unclogging the obstructed drain effectively. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a base, which when put under heat can trigger a chemical reaction. Here we are using hot water as a source of heat and also a solute to make it easy to wash things away after they are broken down by soda. 

When you add baking soda to boiling water it undergoes a chemical reaction and it breaks down into three components; Sodium carbonate(Na2CO3), water (H2O), and carbon dioxide (CO2) gas. Sodium carbonate aids in the neutralization of acidic compounds that may be generating drain blockages. 

Water is an important component of the reaction because it aids in the dissolution and movement of the blockage material and the carbon dioxide gas is emitted as bubbles which assist in dislodging and breaking down the debris or particles creating the blockage. Boiling water’s heat can also aid by dissolving grease or other items that may be clogging the drain. Some easy steps to utilise this effective home remedy are:

  1. Step 1: Boil a pot of water on the stove for about 5 minutes and carefully bring it close to the drain.
  2. Step 2: Clear any standing water in the drain and pour ½ cup of baking soda powder directly into it. 
  3. Step 3: Pour the boiling water carefully on top of baking soda which will initiate the chemical reaction, causing the debris to break down.
  4. Step 4: Let it sit for 20 minutes while water and soda work to loosen the objects and deposits causing the blockage in the drain pipe.
  5. Step 5: To see if it worked, pour another pot of cold (or warm) water and see if things slide down easily. If they do, the clog has cleared.

If the clog is not cleared in the first attempt you can repeat the same process 2-3 times. Keep in mind that, while this procedure is excellent for mild clogs produced by organic waste or soap scum, it may not be appropriate for severe obstructions caused by foreign objects or mineral deposits. If the problem persists, contact a professional plumber for a full inspection and repair.

How do Salt and Borax work?

Salt and Borax are both common home ingredients that work in combination with a simple acid like vinegar or lemon juice to break down clogs in drains and pipes. Borax is also known as sodium borate and can react with acid to trigger a chemical reaction that helps to disintegrate soap scum and organic waste.  

Water is needed to initiate this chemical reaction and it’s so easy to follow that this method could be your lifesaver as it only involves common kitchen ingredients that everyone always has and can help get rid of minor to moderate clogs in kitchen sinks, bathroom drains, and even toilets. Here’s how you can use these 3 magic ingredients to get rid of that nasty clog in your drain:  

  1. Step 1: Start by removing any visible debris from the drain hole to ensure borax and salt reach the root of the problem and start reacting with them.
  2. Step 2: Take a measuring cup and mix ½ cup of borax with ½ cup of salt and slowly pour it into the drain.
  3. Step 3: Let the mixture sit in the drain for 15-20 minutes and start reacting, and then slowly add a cup of vinegar or lime juice. 
  4. Step 4: Adding vinegar will trigger an acid-base reaction that will generate heat and start to break down grease, fat, scum and hair that’s been clogging your drain.
  5. Step 5: Lastly, flush with a pot of boiling water to ensure everything is washed away and your drain is unclogged. 

If the drain does not clear after trying the above method, you could do it again after a while because sometimes clogs are more severe than we think they are. Some clogs require 2-3 attempts of these natural drain cleaning methods because they are caused by things that are not easily disintegrated by borax, salt and vinegar. If your drain remains clogged even after a couple of attempts of these methods, maybe it would be best if you sought the help of a professional plumber to fix the issue for you.

When to Call for Professional Help for Unclogging Drain

While DIY remedies are a safer and budget-friendly alternative when dealing with minor clogs, it is crucial to recognize their limitations when dealing with more severe cases. As they can be a symptom of more severe underlying causes. It is not only advisable but necessary to seek professional assistance if the problem is recurring and persists for an extended length of time. To guarantee a complete and long-lasting cure, the recommended strategy is to use DIY solutions for mild issues and swiftly hire specialists when blockages are recurring and remain over a longer period.

Roto Rooter Plumbing & Water Cleanup has been providing exceptional plumbing solutions to people around the country for the past 35 years. Our team of expert plumbers are well trained and certified in clearing all kinds of clogs from your kitchen sink drains, bathroom drains, toilets and other kinds of plumbing in residential and commercial buildings. With our modern tools and machinery, drain cleaning techniques and dedicated team of professionals, we can come to your aid anytime you ring us. 

Feel free to reach out if you want your drains inspected to keep them free from future problems or if you are facing a clogged drain right now and need help in fixing it.