Monday, June 28, 2010

Homemade Drain Cleaner/Unclogger

A few weeks ago my kitchen drains seriously started to back up. Slow wasn’t the word for what happened. It seemed overnight, they completely backed up! It was hard to run the dishwasher for the water backing up into the sink. Heck, I couldn’t wash a few potatoes for dinner without water collecting in the sink. It would take over an hour for just a bit of it to drain.

I have no idea what got in there but “it” wasn’t letting hardly any water pass through the pipes. Being the cheap budget savvy person I am, I refused to pay $20 or more for drain cleaner! After a little Googling and some testing in my own kitchen, I discovered some positive results.

Recipe #1

  • 1/2 cup borax (per side of the kitchen drain)
  • 1 cup boiling water

Use a funnel to help sprinkle the borax into one side of the kitchen drain and block the other side with a stopper. Allow the borax to settle in the drain for a few minutes. While you’re waiting, boil at least one cup of water in the microwave or on the stove top. Slowly and carefully pour the water down the drain to activate the borax. Repeat for the other side.

Depending on how backed up your drains are, it may take several treatments. It took me three treatments to fully opened my completely backed up drain.

Recipe #2

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 2 cups VERY hot vinegar

Same process as before. Pour one cup of baking soda down one side of the drain. Don’t forget to block the other side with a stopper. Slowly pour the hot vinegar down the drain and allow the baking soda to activate and bubble the clog away. Repeat for the other side.

This worked somewhat well but I think I’ll use it for slow drains instead of completely clogged pipes.

What’s your best recipe for clearing clogs???

frugal front porchJenn is a stay at home southern mom raising her kids in Northwestern Minnesota with her trucker hubby. She loves to cook, craft and blog. Soon she’ll be going back to school for a new adventure in Graphic Design. You can find recipes, crafts, parenting strategies, budget tips, product reviews and fabulous giveaways on her blog, Frugal Front Porch.


  1. wow, what a great idea. I've also heard and used a half of a cup of dish washing liquid (really useful for toilet clogs) Pour it in and let it sit for 5-10 minutes, plunge and viola. I'm definitely trying the borax because that is a laundry staple in our home.

  2. Wish someone would post a DIY way to unclog a shower drain! I can't plug one side of that while I pour something in! Ours is stopped up bad!!! -Karen

    1. If your shower drain is clogged by hair, get a drain cover to keep the hair OUT. I've seen two types: one just sits on top of the tub drain. It's flexible plastic. For the other, you have to remove the stopper that is part of the tub. I take showers almost exclusively, so that works for me. The drain cover fits over the hole. It's hard plastic, with a projection out of the center both ways. When I shower, I can just use my toes to lift the cover off the drain (to avoid mold, bacterial growth). Sometimes I do want a bath, so I use a flat silicone cover to block the drain.
      Also, if you use a bar soap, especially Ivory (the worst for this) it will make for more cleaning of the shower walls AND clog the drain. I switch to a shower liquid, dilute it some and put it in a pump. Squirt it on a net puff for my shower. Husband still uses bar soap. His shower drain (separate bathroom) gets clogged regularly.

      You will not need to plug one side to do the shower drain. I used the baking soda version, also a metal kbob thing to poke down the drain. It helps the vinegar keep getting to the baking soda.

  3. via a Facebook comment:

    Kari Plas
    baking soda and vinegar actually works very well. I use it in my shower drain, and bonus, the kids think the chemical reaction is cool.

  4. Stephanie, thanks! I'll try it out! - Karen

  5. thanks!! will definitely give it a go.

  6. This works on all kinds of drains but I've heard the baking soda/vinegar method works well on toilet drains too!

  7. Wow, I never knew about this idea! Thanks Good advice

    Denver Drain Cleaner

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