Clogged nothing is good, not even a drain! It can be actually a very irritating situation when you just want to clean up your kitchen or bathroom or bathtub and you find it clogged even after a good routine of drain cleaning. Well, if you have been using a commercially available drain cleaner, just be aware that these have many chemicals in them and of course they are not good for people roaming all around your house! Your eyes and hands too are at a higher risk when you clean drain with these chemical laden drain openers. Certain acidic drain cleaner may even severely damage the rubber or other soft components down the line. Ruined drain cables as well as the fat bills of plumbers both hurt your pocket a lot! So, how to clean bathtub drain or any other drain without putting pressure on your wallet and health both? Why not use natural drain cleaner, the one that you can make with ingredients available in your kitchen and home! Here are some such home remedies (DIY) for unclogging drain naturally for your help.
How to Unclog a Drain Naturally
Use Baking Soda-Vinegar to Clean Clogged Drain
This drain cleaning remedy uses the very common vinegar and baking soda lying in your kitchen shelves. You use them with some hot water for drain cleaning. Baking soda and hot water work together to loosen up grimy sludge at the bottom of your clogged drain. When you pour vinegar over soda, the fizzy reaction further helps clean the drain. Here’s how you can use these kitchen ingredients to clean your clogged drain.
How to Unclog A Drain With Baking Soda and Vinegar
- Baking soda- ½ cup
- Vinegar- 1 cup
- Hot water- 2-3 pots
- Take a pot of hot water and pour it down your clogged drain.
- Now put the baking soda in the drain.
- Wait for a couple of minutes.
- Now mix the vinegar with 1 cup of hot water.
- Pour this mixture on top of baking soda.
- Cover the drain with its plug.
- Wait for about 5-10 minutes.
- Again pour a pot of hot water into the drain. This will clean the drain completely.
How to Clean Bathtub Drain with Baking Soda-Vinegar
When you need to clean your bathtub drain with the above remedy using baking soda and vinegar, the basic method will remain the same. You just need to use pressure of water filled in your bath tub. Here’s how you can do so.
- Baking soda- 1/3 cup
- Vinegar- 1/3 cup
- Combine baking soda and vinegar. It will immediately get fizzy.
- Pour it without wasting a second into the drain as the fizzing action should go on in the drain.
- Place the stopper over the drain.
- Leave for about an hour.
- Now fill the bathtub with water.
- Next, remove the stopper from over the drain.
- The pressure of about 60 gallons of helps dislodge the dirt that has been loosened up by the baking soda and vinegar mixture.
Use Salt-Baking Soda to Unclog Drain
If your drain is not that dirty or if you don’t have vinegar at the moment, you can even use salt with baking soda and hot water to clean your clogged drain. These three produce certain chemical reaction that’s enough to dissolve some blockage.
- Salt- ½ cup
- Baking soda- ½ cup
- Boiling hot water
- Combine salt and baking soda.
- Pour this mixture down the clogged drain.
- Leave it for about 30 minutes.
- Now pour boiling water down the drain.
Use Boiling Water to Unclog Drain
Yes, if your drain is not jammed with years of dirt and grime, simple boiling water too can open your clogged drain. You will need boiling hot water for this. Just ensure that your drainage pipe is not of low quality rubber or plastic that will melt itself when it comes in contact of that hot water.
- A kettle or a big pot full of boiling hot water.
- Take your kettle or pot whatever you are using and pour water into it till its neck or just below it, somewhere which is comfortable enough for you to handle hot water. The bottom line is you need lots of hot water.
- Bring this water to a boil.
- Now take this boiling hot water (with all precautions so that you don’t burn yourself) and pour one-third of it down your drain.
- Wait for few seconds, about a half a minute before you pour another 1/3 of your hot water.
- And then again after waiting for a ½ to 1 minute, pour the remaining 1/3 hot water down the drain.
- And you are done with your easy drain cleaning project.
Use Vinegar Ice Cubes to Clean Drain of Sinks with Garbage Disposals
Vinegar, as you have seen in the previous remedies, is a good cleansing agent due to its mild acidic property. You can use it with ice to clean sinks with garbage disposals. Ice can chill and scrape grease off its wall quite efficiently. You actually need to make ice cubes mixed with vinegar for this remedy to work. Here’s how you have to do this.
- Ice cube tray
- Fill the ice-cube tray halfway with vinegar.
- Now top it off with water. As vinegar can’t freeze alone so well, you need water with it.
- Mark your tray properly so that no family member uses it thinking it plain ice.
- Now place this tray inside your freezer and let it become ice cubes.
- Once you get vinegar ice cubes, turn the disposal on and dump in the cubes.
- The mildly acidic vinegar ice cubes will clean the disposal where ice would literally chill and scrape the grease off its walls.
Use Dish Detergent to Unclog Drain
A clogged kitchen sink drain is really an irritating thing to handle. And this one seems much difficult to clean due to oil and other greasy substances that clog your drain. But there’s a way out and it’s an easy one- the humble dish detergent. Yes, if it can clean your oily and greasy dishes, why can’t it clean your drain?
- Dish detergent- ½ to 1 cup
- Boiling hot water- 1-2 pots
- For a moderately clogged drain, use ½ a cup pf detergent and for stubbornly clogged ones, use 1 cup of it.
- Pour the detergent down your drain and let it sit there for about 30 minutes.
- Now boil a pan of water and pour this hot water down the drain slowly and steadily. Be careful while handling the hot water.
- After you are done with the hot water treatment, pour some normal water to see if the drain has cleaned off or not.
- If required, pour some more hot water or repeat the whole process with detergent and hot water.
Use Wet-Dry Shop Vacuum to Unclog Drain
A shop vacuum, or a wet/dry vac can effectively clean not only spills, dirt, dust and debris but your clogged drains too! Here’s how you can use this vacuum to clean your drains.
- Set up your vacuum for vacuuming liquid. Remove the inside bag and filters.
- Cover up the vent using a tape so that it doesn’t create a mess.
- Place the hose on the drain and turn on the shop vacuum. However, when the vent is covered and it’s quite tight, ask someone else to turn on the vacuum. It’s far safer and easier too.
- The vacuum will draw all the dirt up the water trap and into the vacuum.
Caustic Soda to Clean Clogged Drain
In the beginning, I mentioned that store bought drain openers contain harmful chemicals and that they are expensive. However, if your drain is clogged with oil grime, you may not be able to unclog drain just with warm water or mild kitchen ingredients. You need to take help of some chemicals. You can, however, cut on the cost by using raw ingredients that are sometimes used to manufacture commercial drain cleaners. Caustic soda is one of them. It is a strong alkaline and can easily dissolve with water. For this property, it is used as a cleaning agent for various household and industrial purposes. You need to exercise caution when using caustic soda to unclog drain because it can cause serious burns and other injuries.
- Caustic soda- 3 cups
- Cold water- 2- ½ to 3 litres
- Mop bucket
- Wooden spoon
- Rubber gloves
- Protective eye wear
- Hot water
- Wear your rubber gloves and eye wear.
- Pour the water in the bucket.
- Add the caustic soda to this.
- Stir well using wooden spoon. Never use hands even if you are wearing gloves.
- While you stir it, the solution gets fizzy and heated up. So, keep your face, eyes and other body parts at a safe distance from the bucket.
- Now pour the prepared solution into the drain.
- Leave it for about half an hour.
- Now flush your drain with hot water.
Warning: You may or may not use this method because it is not a hundred percent safe remedy for drain cleaning due to its potential harmful effects. Caustic soda is highly corrosive and when exposed to your skin, it can lead to serious burns, permanent injury or scarring and even blindness. Therefore, if using this remedy, take all precautions and use good quality rubber gloves and eye protection.
Use Bent Wire Hanger to Clean Clogged Drains
This is one of the basic manual method to unclog drain, especially to clean deeply inset clogs. You will just need a wire hanger that you can get from your wardrobe- the one that is no longer that good to hang your coats!
- Wire hanger (or anything resembling a wire hanger that can be bent to make a hook)
- Straighten out your hanger and make a hook at its end.
- Now use this bent wire hanger having a hook to pull out any dirt including hair etc. that get stuck in the drain.
- While pulling the dirt out, do not push it in. This can further clog your drain. Always pull the dirt outwards and never push it inwards.
How to Clean Bathtub Drain Clogged with Hair
This is a common problem, and more so if the drain of your bath tub uses a screw to hold itself on. Here are the steps (rather tips to unclog drain having hair in it) that include certain remedies too that you can use to clean your clogged drain due to hair and of course other dirt. You might need to follow only the first step to clean your drain or may have to do the following steps too. All depends upon how much and with what is your drain clogged!
- Remove the cover of your drain and clean under the surface of the drain. Remove hair and all other dirty material you see there. You may choose to use your hands for the purpose. Wear gloves if doing so.
- If your drain has pre-installed tub stoppers then you will have to first pop up the stopper and twist to unscrew it. Then remove the plate with trip for the stopper and cautiously remove the stopper assembly.
- You may now use ‘bent hanger’ method to clean the drain as it is perfect to pull out hair and any other thing that get stuck to the stopper of the drain. It is as good as the commercially available drain snakes. Bent hanger method has been explained in the previous remedy to unclog drain.
- After cleaning the drain, replace the cover or stopper of the drain that you had removed.
- Use a drain claw to clean your hair clogged drain. In fact, you should use this simple instrument the moment you realize that your drain has slowed down. This will prevent it from being clogged completely. For this, you simply need to insert the drain claw into the drain and work your way around the opening or stopper while giving it a twist. Drain claw has numerous small interlocking hooks that grab hair. Once it’s done, you may pull the claw out.
- If you are a little more enthusiastic, you can make your own drain de-clogger using a plastic bottle lying somewhere around your house. How to make this drain de-clogger has been explained in the next remedy.
Make Recycled Plastic Bottle Drain De-clogging Tool
This is something you will love if you are a sort of a person who likes ‘DIY’ kind of remedies or who is more aware about environment and recycle everything. So, you need a plastic bottle that can be recycled into a drain tool to unclog your clogged drain, especially due to hair etc.
- Plastic bottle, preferably 2 litres bottle (soda bottle or any other will do)
- Masking tape
- Sharp Knife
- Clean your plastic bottle and remove its label. You need to cut a continuous long strip out of this bottle.
- Now take the newspaper and cut out a 2cm wide strip from it. This will act as a guide for the strip you are about to cut from the bottle. This helps in maintaining consistent width of the plastic strip.
- With the help of the tape, stick the newspaper strip close to the bottom of the bottle. Leave enough space at the bottom of the bottle (about 5-6 inches or a little more).
- Wind the strip around the bottle but don’t overlap the strip.
- Now with the marker, outline the newspaper width between newspaper edges.
- As your newspaper strip is not long enough to mark the entire bottle, after you mark a section, remove the guiding strip and move it upwards on the bottle. Line it up with the previous markings. Keep on marking like this till you reach the shoulder of the bottle.
- After marking the bottle, you now need to cut strip from the bottle. For this, make an incision around the circumference of bottle at the top where you had stopped marking.
- To make the bottle somewhat rigid so that it is easier for you to cut it, stuff it with newspaper.
- Now cut along the spiral marking on your bottle. Do this till you get close to the bottom of the bottle. Stop cutting when you reach close to the lower taper portion of the bottom as this portion has to be used to make a ring-like handle.
- Using the marker once again, draw a finger loop near the point where you stopped cutting the bottle. Cut out the inside of the loop to create a handle to be used to pull our cleaner after you insert it in the drain.
- Now you need to make small teeth along the edges of your plastic strip. These teeth should be aligned in the same direction pointing upwards when you insert it into the drain.
- For making teeth, use scissors (angled at 45°) and make small cuts along both the edges of the strip at regular intervals. Teeth cuts don’t need to be deep. Just create a sharp point along the edge.
- After you have made teeth along both the edges of the strip, gently bend out each tooth to make it some more effective as catch points.
- Now gently fold your plastic strip lengthwise to create a V-shape drain cleaner. While folding it, make it some rigid.
- Now cut the bottom into a sharp taper.
- Next, insert the tapered end into your clogged drain. While you do so, hold V-shape folded lengthwise closed with your fingers till it reaches the clog.
- Once it reaches the blocking material, using the handle, pull the strip back up. It will come out capturing hair in the teeth you made.
- After you pull out the hair out of drain, clean your self-made device by pulling out hair in the same direction as the teeth.
- Insert the device once again into drain and repeat the de-clogging procedure until all the hair and other dirt is removed.
Some Tips to Prevent Drain Clogs
How to prevent drain clogs? This is a question that should come to your mind if you struggle often to unclog drains of your home. The answer to this question is very simple- through regular cleaning of drains! Here’s how you can prevent clogging of drains.
- About once a week, lift up the pop-up stoppers in your bathroom sink. Remove any debris there and put it in the trash. Now wash the stopper and replace it in the drain.
- Once a week, remove the drain cover of your shower or bathtub drain. Take help of a bent wire (explained earlier in this article) or a hair catching brush and clear out any debris that has got deposited there.
- About once a month, clean your garbage disposal using a sturdy disposer brush. You may also grind up some ice and table salt to clean them up. This will cut the grease and slime off the edges of the disposer. Afterwards, flush it out with water. You may then put juice of half a lemon in order to deodorize it.
- Clean your bathtub at least once a month. Remove the overflow plate and raise the pop-up assembly so that you reach the spring or rocker arm. Remove any debris there. Wash it thoroughly and then replace it just as you have removed it.
- Place mesh screens over all of the drains in your house. They are particularly good for bathtub or shower drains as they can effectively catch hair, food particles, and other dirt.
Once you make it a habit to clean your drains weekly and monthly, you won’t need to find the home remedies to unclog drains!