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How To Make A Drain Cleaner At Home

If your sink, tub, or shower drain is clogged, it can get in the way of your daily life until you find a drain cleaner that works. Chemical drain cleaners can be dangerous, highly toxic, and so acidic that they can burn your skin. On the other hand, a homemade drain cleaner can be safe and cheap, but it might not work as well on tough clogs as a commercial drain cleaner. Using do-it-yourself diy drain cleaner takes patience because it may take more than one try to completely clear your drain, especially if your drain is slow or clogged.

What Does The Drain Cleaner You Make At Home Do?

You don’t always need a chemical drain cleaner’s strength. A homemade drain cleaner made of boiling water, baking soda, and white vinegar often work to clear a drain that isn’t draining well. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate, a base) and vinegar (a mild acetic acid) react to make a fizzy, bubbling action that releases carbon dioxide, which can loosen clogs so they can be washed down the drain.

Follow these steps to make a drain cleaner that you can use to clear a clogged drain in your sink, tub, or shower.

What You Need To Know

Equipment / Tools

  • Cup
  • Bucket
  • Plug for the drain


  • Boiling water
  • 1/2 cup Baking soda
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar


  1. Drain Any Water That Is Still.

If water is backing up in your sink, tub, or shower, use a cup to scoop out as much water as you can and pour it into a bucket. You can leave a little water in the drain opening, but the sink, shower, or tub should be mostly empty so the drain cleaner can get as close to the clog as possible.

  1. Add Water That Is Boiling

If you’re working on a sink or tub drain, take the pop-up sink stopper or tub stopper off first so you can get to the drain better. Pour hot water from a small pot down the drain.

  1. Add Baking Soda

Into the drain, pour 1/2 cup of baking soda.

  1. Add Vinegar

Pour about half a cup of vinegar down the drain.

  1. Plug Up The Drain

If you have a plug, put it over the drain and let the mixture work for 10 minutes. Baking soda and vinegar will bubble and fizz a lot. If you cover the drain, the reaction will go down instead of up and out of the drain, but it’s not necessary.

  1. Pour In More Hot Water

Pour hot water from another pot down the drain. This will aid in the removal of any clogs that the baking soda and vinegar loosened.

  1. Drain The Water

Run hot water down the drain to help get any leftover debris out of the drain pipe.

  1. Do It Again If Needed

If the first time you use the drain cleaner makes a difference, try it again. If you try more than one thing and the drain is still slow, you may need to try something more extreme.

If this doesn’t get rid of the clog, you may need to take apart the drain trap or use a drain snake to clear the drain. Before taking the trap apart, put a bucket under it to catch water (and crud). When you use a drain cleaner you made yourself, you don’t have to worry about nasty chemicals going down the drain with the water.


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