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Have you ever started the shower and then got in to realize you were about to take a bath instead, thanks to a clogged drain? (People with long hair — I know you feel me on this one.) Drains can clog at the most inopportune times, usually in the bathroom (generally due to hair clogs) or in the kitchen (because of grease clogs). But don’t run out to buy a commercial drain cleaner just yet. You can clear the drain yourself with some ingredients you’ve probably already got at home.
I spoke to Tanya Klien, CEO of Anta Plumbing in Toronto, Canada, to get her tips on the best clogged drain home remedy.
How to Use Your All-Natural Drain Cleaner
According to Klien, there are a few ways you can do this.
Method 1: Use all the ingredients separately.
Pour the ingredients down the drain separately, starting with the baking soda, then salt, and vinegar. Wait 15 minutes. Then, pour the boiling water down the drain. Et voila! Clog no more.
Method 2: Pour baking soda and vinegar for the chemical reaction.
Pour baking soda and vinegar down the drain. You want the chemical reaction of the baking soda and vinegar to help dislodge any gunk. Let it sit for an hour and then wash it down with hot water. Klien notes this method is particularly effective for hair clogs.
Method 3: Use baking soda, salt, and boiling water.
Same as the first method, but leave out the vinegar. The mixture of ingredients “creates a strong chemical reaction that will unblock most clogs in the kitchen or bathroom,” Klien says.
How to Prevent Your Drain from Clogging
Here’s the good news: You can prevent a grease clog in your kitchen sink pretty much any time you wash the dishes. Just use an anti-grease dish soap. Klien says it will naturally keep grease clogs at bay. You can use method three above once or twice a year, but don’t do it more than that. “Overuse will cause the chemical reaction to damage metal pipes,” Klien says, but plastic or similar pipes will be able to handle it just fine. So as long as you’re aware of what type of plumbing you have, you could be clog-free for life!
A version of this story was first published on April 30, 2007 by Jonathan.