DIY Non-Toxic Drain Cleaners

This is a guest post from  Jay Richardson of Richardson Plumbing.

DIY Natural Drain Cleaning with vinegar, lemons and bicarb soda

Almost everyone has experienced problems with clogged drains at one time or another. Most people really don’t think about potential issues with their drains until a problem actually occurs. When it does, the reaction of many people is to run out and buy commercial drain cleaners in the hopes of quickly putting an end to the problem. However, there are many things that you should be aware of regarding the use of commercial drain cleaners.

There are a number of reasons that clogged drains occur. Most of the time it is because things are allowed to fall down the drain and obstruct it. Hair and food particles are the most common problems. In addition, drains have a tendency to become clogged from time to time after they have been in use for several years without any routine maintenance.

However, using powerful commercial cleaners can often produce more harm than good. While they very well may quickly unclog drains, they are dangerous to use around young children and pets and they often cause a great deal of damage to drains, sinks or bathtubs when they are poured onto the surfaces. As a result, it is often much safer and more economical to use drain cleaners that you can make at home.

Options For Homemade Drain Cleaners

In order to keep your plumbing in good shape and avoid damage to the pipes that some commercial drain cleaners can cause, you might want to try a variety of nontoxic, homemade drain cleaners. These are safe for use around young children and pets and they do not harm ceramic or plastic tubs and basins. In addition they do not cause damage to the underground water supply. Depending on the severity of the clog and your own personal preferences, you can make homemade drain cleaner using baking soda and vinegar or baking soda and lemon juice. You can also create a drain cleaner by combining salt, borax and vinegar.  Borax is a more alkaline than baking soda, and therefore creates a stronger reaction, but there is some controversy over it’s non-toxicity.

The basic formula is to pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain, and follow it up with the same amount of vinegar. Alternatively, mix them together right over your drain and quickly pour down, while they’re bubbling. Now, leave this mixture in your drain for at least forty-five minutes, and better yet, over night. Finish up by flushing with copious amounts of boiling or at least hot water.

The best thing about creating a homemade drain cleaner is that you can find these ingredients in virtually any store and it is inexpensive. If you have never done this, you are likely to be surprised at the amount of stuff that is boiled out of the drains. To say the least, it is usually an impressive sight. If you want to get the same effect and you like your home to have a fresh citrus smell, you can combine baking soda and a cup of lemon juice.

If you find that you need something that packs a little bit more of a punch though, you can try combining cup of salt with cup of borax and cup of vinegar. This combination can often unclog drains that you have not been able to successfully unclog using other methods. Of course, it is important to remember that you should always follow up each of these efforts with large amounts of hot water.

Other Drain Cleaning Options

Sometimes you may be able to unclog a drain with nothing more than boiling water. It is important to use caution when doing this in order to avoid burning yourself or someone who is standing nearby when you pour the water down the drain. Also be careful that you do not cause cracks in plastic basins or tubs with excessively hot water. Unfortunately, there are times when there is no amount of product that you can put down the drain to unclog it. Sometimes it is necessary that you snake the drain or call an experienced plumber if the situation worsens. But hey, there’s no shame in calling in a little help every now and then!

In most cases, by using one of the three options listed above you will be able to unclog drains and keep them smelling fresh without the use of harsh chemicals. This provides the best of both worlds, as it keeps your drains in good condition and it allows you to use nontoxic products that are friendly for the environment and safe for children and pets.

About the Author: Jay Richardson is owns Richardson Plumbing in Greater Cincinnati Ohio. He always recommends his clients go green with plumbing, choosing environmentally friendly, non-toxic methods of clearing clogs and caring for their pipes in general. He recommends these safe, organic methods because they are good for your health and good for the environment!

  16 comments for “DIY Non-Toxic Drain Cleaners

  1. January 6, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    Drain cleaning is a great way to ensure that your plumbing lasts as long as the rest of your plumbing. Blockages and clogs increase the wear and tear on the material of your drains, whether cast iron, or PVC.

  2. Eva Bertram
    January 21, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    The most commonly used product to clear clogged drains is the combination of baking soda and vinegar. And the best part is that it is my plumber from Hy-Pro plumbing and Drain Cleaning Services, Toronto who told me about this homemade tip.
    You pour about a cup of baking soda into the drain. And then pour half a cup of vinegar and immediately close the drain, this is to prevent foaming burst up (remember the model volcanoes) . Leave everything to sit and work for about 30 mins and after that remove the cover and let hot water run through the pipes for about 2-3 mins. If you do this on a regular basis it prevents drains from clogging and also keeps drains fresh and clear with out any problems.

  3. February 15, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    The design of the drain as well as plumbing plays a vital role behind drain blocking. The width of the drain should be larger so that the wastes within don’t get stuck.

  4. March 27, 2014 at 4:02 am

    I didn’t know that vinegar is that universal! Best DIY element ever!

    • Kirsten
      March 27, 2014 at 4:43 pm

      Absolutely Audrey, it’s a very useful product to have around, from the shower to the laundry!

  5. Greasey
    March 25, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Drain cleaning allows your pipes to dispose of your wastewater quickly. The more efficient your waste plumbing, the less of a risk to cross-contamination issues, such as backflow. We do not want organic waste to begin to accumulate inside our piping, which can lead to blockages and piping damage.

  6. Ianna Reign Stevenson
    May 28, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    Baking soda is really effective in removing stain especially in the kitchen. I love this one because you just point out that this DIY cleaner is non-toxic.

  7. March 8, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    Sometimes a little jiggling of the handle or flush valve mechanism temporarily solves the problem but it still costs. We have the parts to eliminate this nuisance.

  8. April 5, 2017 at 7:58 am

    Thank you for sharing this. It is so important to use safe products for your drains!

  9. April 21, 2017 at 2:12 am

    Great advice, and I am very interested in trying this baking soda followed by white vinegar method for unclogging drains! Very helpful, thanks for sharing!

  10. May 17, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Looks like you solve the problem. Now you should do regular maintenance on it. Educating yourself on how to make things lasts longer really does wonder. Great job.

  11. August 19, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    When it comes to DIY cleaning, the most useful in our kitchen is the baking soda and vinegar. And it really shows that they are most used cleaning agents in the whole world. Hope this DIY cleaning can also be done in the offices as we are hiring office cleaning services here in Dubai .

  12. September 28, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    This is such an informative story and very clearly written. Every single thought and idea is direct to the point. Perfectly laid out. thank you for taking your time sharing this.
    Drain Cleaning Chattanooga

  13. December 6, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Duo Star is a cleaning company in Dubai and maintenance cleaning services, so I think if you have time to do some DIY at your home, you can call them.

  14. Joy
    June 7, 2018 at 6:32 am

    I have used baking soda and vinegar to unclog my kitchen sink and toilet. it may not be as strong as Borax, but if you can be patient, it’ll work. Just use a good amount. I do about 2 cups of baking soda followed by 2 boiling cups of white vinegar.

    • July 14, 2018 at 12:26 pm

      Great, thanks for your input Joy.

Comments are closed.