Do you unclog drains using expensive harsh drain cleaners? Not after learning how easy it is to make a natural drain cleaner yourself, safe & cheap.
Clogged Sink? No problem that was when I would just pour in half a bottle of smelly harsh drain cleaner. Then two issues came up: I thought this would be a little harsh to use in a home with a toddler and a cat. And worse: I wouldn’t find one anywhere in Morocco.
Is there a frugal, all natural way to deal with a clogged drain? Can you really unclog a drain naturally, easily and for pennies. Unclog a sink with a homemade natural drain cleaner?
The problem: Clogged Drain
When we moved into our second home in Morocco I noticed that the water in the kitchen sink took ages to flow off. Soon after that, it got almost completely blocked.
The clogged kitchen sink would fill up with yucky, smelly, dirty water with food residues floating around. I considered just moving out to another plave when I failed to find drain cleaner in the stores!
First Try to Unclog the Sink Naturally
When I read that a popular caffeinated soda drink would do the trick I was curious if that worked. There is always a good amount of soda in our house. Can a sugary drink be a drain cleaner to unclog our kitchen sink??
Before going to work in the morning I poured half a bottle of that world-famous soft drink into the clogged drain and off I go.
Then, returning a couple of hours later, I found…. an ant highway through our corridor leading right into the drain. Wow. I had never seen ants partying before. They were going nuts and obviously having a good time. yuck… I spoiled their party with water and dish washing liquid. And magically after another hour hundreds of ants were gone traceless.
By the way, no drain cleaning happened, drain remained clogged.
Second Try to Unclog the Sink
Then I read that (used) coffee grounds are some kind of drain cleaning peeling. I had too many concerns that this might clog the drain even more and decided to not try this.
However, hubby thought that he could clean our Moka pot in the clogged sink. Of course, without getting the coffee grounds out first. After they landed in the sink anyway I wondered if they would help clean the clogged drain. But I couldn’t see any benefit from it. At least, the ants didn’t decide to have a kaffeeklatsch.
So, coffee grounds didn’t help to unclog drains. Quite the contrary, as is stated on a plumbing firm’s website, coffee grounds are the number one thing that do clog drains. Ouch… So better no drain cleaning with coffee grounds.
Third try with baking soda to unclog drains naturally
Baking soda is the silver bullet for so many dirty things as we have learned while preparing immaculate jars. It is recommended to unclog a drain, too. So, here we go. Found baking powder in the stores and gave it a try. I used lots of it. But actually, nothing happened. No drain cleaning, but no ant disco either. hmm..
Fourth try – the breakthrough in unclogging a drain with household items
Then I found out that baking soda (or in my case baking powder) in combination with vinegar is used as a natural drain cleaner to unclog a sink. The two ingredients undergo a chemical reaction and remove the yucky stuff that clogged the drain while doing so. And yes, it does work in drain cleaning. I finally found the best drain cleaner that you can make yourself with things you probably have at home anyway.
Here is what I used:
- 4 sachets baking powder or baking soda (4 Tbsp roughly)
- half a cup of white vinegar
- a plunger or a soda bottle with a cut neck to use as a plunger if you – like me – don’t own such an asset
- a piece of cloth (make it two if your sink has another opening for overrun)
Here is what I did. My Natural Drain Cleaner in Action
Put the baking soda/powder into the drain. Carefully pour the vinegar into the drain, too. Put the cloth(es) over the opening(s). I placed a cup on it to weight it.
Now wait and listen to the whizzing and fizzling. Let it sit for a few minutes after the noises stopped. Remove the cloth and take the plunger to get the dissolved dirt moving. Flush with hot water and you are done!
Yippie! The drain is free and clean now using safe household items as a natural drain cleaner! I was thrilled and felt like MacGyver.
Some words of caution if the sink is clogged
ahem… now let the Ph.D. in me say a few words. First, if your drains are clogged try to remove the dirt mechanically with a plunger, a drain gun or some clog remover tool before you try anything else.
Second, vinegar is nothing but low-concentrated acetic acid. Acids wear out plastics. Your drainpipes are probably made from plastic. So, make sure you do not use this method to maintain your drains or clean with this method regularly to keep it from clogging but only to remove dirt IF the drain is actually clogged. Then the acid can work on the dirt rather than on your drainpipe. Don’t let the mixture sit in your drain for hours or overnight.
And lastly, I found that this is not working on hair clogged drains that may occur in the shower. So remove hair from the drain manually after having your hair washed or use a sink strainer.
So, now you are totally educated about unclogging drains naturally and how to make your own natural drain cleaner. The why, the how and the ugly truths. Let me know how your drain cleaning is going.