DIY Drain Cleaning Methods

White Kitchen Sink

Tired of slow-draining sinks ruining your morning routine?

Did you wake up to the nasty sight of your bathroom’s floor covered in toilet water?

That’s a clog working hard to make your life challenging!

Emptying your store-bought drain cleaner into the sink will only offer temporary relief. Moreover, it might damage your plumbing in Old Bridge. So, we suggest you take the DIY route.

The beauty of DIY drain cleaners lies in their cost-effectiveness, ease of preparation, and the satisfaction that comes with resolving a common household issue independently. We still recommend calling plumbing services in East Windsor to ensure the pipes are not damaged.

Before we dive into the DIY cleaner recipes, let’s take a look at the common ingredients used and what makes them effective at clearing clogs:

Drain Cleaning Ingredients


When it comes to drain cleaning, vinegar can be an effective option for several reasons. The primary active ingredient in vinegar is acetic acid, which gives it its distinctive sour taste and strong odor.

Vinegar’s acidity effectively breaks down and dissolves various substances that can clog drains. Vinegar is non-toxic and environmentally friendly, unlike commercial drain cleaners that contain harsh chemicals. This makes it a safer option for homes with children and pets.

Baking Soda

Baking soda has a gritty texture, which acts as a mild abrasive. When mixed with water, it forms a slightly abrasive paste that can help scrub away debris, grease, and other substances clinging to the walls of the pipes. This abrasive action is particularly useful for breaking down minor clogs.

When combined with vinegar, baking soda undergoes a chemical reaction that produces carbon dioxide gas. This reaction creates fizzing and bubbling, which can help dislodge and break down stubborn clogs. The fizzing action helps to agitate and loosen the debris in the pipes.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is naturally acidic due to the presence of citric acid. The acidity helps break down and dissolve certain types of deposits in drains, such as soap scum, grease, and mineral build-up. This makes it a mild but effective solution for maintaining drains and preventing clogs.


Salt has abrasive properties that help scrub away debris and buildup on the sides of the pipes. When mixed with other substances like vinegar or baking soda, salt enhances its abrasive action, making it more effective in cleaning.

It also creates an osmotic effect, drawing water out of bacteria in the clog. This breaks down organic matter that might be contributing to the blockage. When mixed with water, salt undergoes hydrolysis, forming hydroxide ions. These react with grease and fatty acids, turning them into soap and dislodging greasy clogs.

Cream of Tartar

Cream of tartar, chemically known as potassium hydrogen tartrate, is not typically used as a drain cleaner. However, it is used as a cleaner. The white powder is mildly acidic in nature, which makes it useful for breaking down and removing certain types of stains.


Borax’s mildly abrasive quality and 9.5 pH level make it a great drain cleaner compared to commercial chemical cleaners. When mixed with water, it forms an alkalic solution that dissolves oily and fatty substances.

DIY Drain Cleaner Recipes

Vinegar and Baking Soda


  • Distilled White Vinegar: 1 Cup
  • Baking Soda: 4 Tablespoons


  • Start by pouring a pot of boiling water down the drain. This helps to soften and loosen any substances clinging to the sides of the pipes.
  • Sprinkle baking soda down the drain.
  • Pour distilled white vinegar over it.
  • Allow the vinegar and baking soda to sit in the drain for 15 minutes. This gives the acid time to work on breaking down the clog.
  • After the waiting period, flush the drain with another pot of boiling water. This helps to wash away the loosened debris, leaving your drain cleaner and more efficient.

Lemon Juice and Baking Soda


  • Fresh Lemon Juice: 1 Cup
  • Baking Soda: ½ Cup


  • Sprinkle baking soda down the drain.
  • Follow it up with the fresh lemon juice.
  • Allow the mixture to sit in the drain for 30 minutes. Wait to hear the fizzing noise. This means the baking soda is doing its job of breaking down the clog.
  • The lemon juice and baking soda are working to break down deposits.
  • After the waiting period, flush the drain with hot water to wash away the dissolved debris.

Baking Soda, Salt and Vinegar


  • Salt: ½ Cup
  • Baking Soda: ½ Cup
  • Vinegar: 1 Cup


  • Mix salt and baking soda and sprinkle it down the drain.
  • Pour in the vinegar next.
  • Let the mixture sit for at least 15 minutes.
  • Flush the drain with hot water.

Borax (For Stubborn Clogs)


  • Borax: ½ Cup
  • Boiling Water: 2 Cups


  • Sprinkle borax into the drain.
  • Pour in the boiling water next.
  • Allow the mixture to sit for 15 minutes.
  • Flush the drain with cold water to help clear away any remaining debris.

Note: While borax is generally safe to use, it’s a good practice to wear gloves and gloves when handling it to protect your skin and eyes. Ensure proper ventilation in the area where you are using borax, especially if you are working in a confined space.

Cream of Tartar


  • Cream of Tartar: 1/8 Cup
  • Baking Soda: 2 Cups
  • Salt: ½ Cup


  • Add cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in a jar. Shake it well to mix all the ingredients
  • Pour hot water down the drain to wet the pipes
  • Sprinkle the mixture down the drain and wait for one hour
  • Pour a pot of boiling water to flush the drain

In conclusion, DIY drain cleaners are gentler on your plumbing system and a more cost-effective solution compared to some commercial alternatives. Harsh chemicals found in store-bought drain cleaners can erode pipes over time, potentially leading to more significant plumbing issues. DIY solutions, on the other hand, are milder and less likely to cause long-term damage.

Plumbing Problems Are Bob Hoegler’s Specialty

A clogged drain can be a real headache. It disrupts the flow of your daily activities and can lead to more significant problems if not addressed promptly.

Bob Hoegler Plumbing LLC offers Sewer and Drain Cleaning services. Our goal is not just to clear the immediate clog but to provide a comprehensive solution. Once we have the necessary details, we will work with you to find a convenient time for our plumbers to visit your property. We value your time and will do our best to accommodate your schedule.

For more information about our plumbing services in East Brunswick, call 732.595.2078.