drain cleaner

Clogged drains can be such a pain. Dirty water sits in your tub or sink and takes what can feel like forever to finally make its way down the drain.

The average bottle of store-bought drain cleaner can start at $4 and go up from there. You only get about one or two uses out of these before having to buy more. This can add up. Not to mention the fact that you’re pouring tons of chemicals down your pipes and eventually into your local waterways. Also, if these cleaners damage your pipes, you could be spending hundreds of dollars for a professional to do repairs.

Luckily there are some simple homemade solutions. Jamie Novak, author and green organizer, has one possible solution that we’ve shared below.

1. Baking Soda and Vinegar

This homemade option costs about $7.75 and is enough for 8 uses!

You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup baking soda – about $3.50 for a 32 oz box
  • 1 cup white vinegar – about $4.00 for a 32 oz bottle
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 fresh lemon (optional, if drain smells unpleasant) – about 25 cents


Warning: If the drain has industrial cleaner or bleach in it from a previous unclogging attempt, do NOT use the vinegar. This can mix with the other chemicals and become toxic.

  1. Take out the drain stopper or plug.
  2. Sprinkle in one cup of baking soda, as far down the drain as possible. You can use a funnel or make a funnel from aluminum foil, or pour it in a baggie and cut the corner out of the baggie.
  3. Pour in one cup of white vinegar. Stand back from the drain, as some initial fizzing/bubbling should occur.
  4. If the drain has an unpleasant smell, pour the lemon juice down the drain.
  5. Let these sit in the drain while you boil 2 cups of water. Pour the 2 cups of boiling water down the drain. Again use caution; the water is hot and depending on where the clog is located inside the pipe there may be some back-splash.
  6. When the hot water has run down through the pipe, continue to run the hot water for about a minute to flush the line.

Repeat as needed or use this method monthly for preventative maintenance. Replace the stopper or plug and resume regular use.

Other Ideas
  • You could also pour ½ cup of blue Dawn dishwashing liquid down the drain, followed by two cups of boiling water.
  • Unfold a wire hanger, and create a hook on one side to go fishing for gunk!

Still looking for more options? Johanna Ferreira, beauty and fashion staff writer at MamásLatinas, recommends this recipe.

2. Salt and Baking Soda

The chemical reaction that happens when salt and baking soda are combined with warm water helps flush the gunk out of your drain.

You’ll Need:

  • ½ cup table salt – about $2.50 for a 4 lb box
  • ½ cup baking soda – about $3.50 for a 32 oz box


  1. Mix the table salt and baking soda together.
  2. Pour the mixture down the drain and let it sit for about 20 minutes.
  3. Turn on the warm water and let it run until the drain appears unclogged.