How to Unclog a Drain With Salt & Boiling Water

Clogged drains are a common household annoyance that can occur rather frequently. From the sink to the bathtub, and even the shower, all of these drains can become clogged, leading to water overflow that can cause some serious damage. What many homeowners don't know is you can actually unclog a drain using baking soda and salt along with some hot water.

Belfast Sink with Running Water Tap
credit: Catherine Falls Commercial/Moment/GettyImages
Clogged drains are a common household annoyance that can occur rather frequently.

What Causes Drains To Clog?

Drains can clog for multiple reasons that you can prevent with regular maintenance care on your plumbing. Some may not realize just how much goes down the shower drain or kitchen sink until they're stuck snaking the drain and pulling out clumps of hair and slimy buildup.

Over time, all the little hairs from shaving or the little pieces of food from our plates that get rinsed down the drain begin to adhere to the sides of the plumbing and cause obstructions along the plumbing passageways. These little clumps that gather on the inside of the plumbing are actually the starting point to having a large amount of buildup in the pipes causing a clogged drain. The good news is that calling a plumber or a handyman should not be the first thing on your mind. There are some great home remedies using salt and hot water to unclog drains.

Unclog Drain with Baking Soda and Salt

Running to the hardware store could also be a tempting solution when faced with a clogged drain. But instead of turning to harsh chemicals, why not try using household items to fix the problem? There are many different mixtures and techniques you can use, but some of the main ingredients that will be useful are baking soda, salt, vinegar and boiling water.

Baking soda is a great ingredient to use because it has a lot of hidden power. According to Amarco Plumbing, When you mix baking soda with salt in a ratio of 2:1 it creates an ideal cleaning agent for unclogging your drain. Pour the mixture down the drain (use a larger ratio like 1 cup baking soda to 1/2 cup of salt for a stronger clean) and let the powder sit in the drain for a few hours. This gives the baking soda and salt time to activate and begin pulling away at the adhered clumps of sludge. Follow up by pouring some boiling water down the drain and the drain should be back to working order.

You can also get a powerful clean using baking soda only followed by vinegar. The key is to soften the sludge and pipes first with boiling water, then pour the soda down the drain. Follow this with some vinegar, which will cause a bubbling chemical reaction ridding you of the pesky clogged drain. If the simple methods of baking soda or salt don't work, then more drastic measure may need to be taken.

Importance of Ratios

The ratio of baking soda and vinegar to clean drains is very important because they cause slight chemical reactions to occur. Start with small portions and work your way up to bigger quantities if you are not finding the results you want. Do not pour an excessive amount of baking soda down the drain. If you follow that with vinegar, you are more than likely going to have an eruption on your hands, which will make for a messy cleanup (think volcanoes from your elementary school science fair, but in your bathroom sink).

Once the drain is evacuating freely again, doing regular maintenance using the same items and methods would be beneficial. It will avoid any clogs in the future and will keep your plumbing in functioning order. Regular maintenance and cleaning is not only important for the bathroom drains, but for the room as a whole.


Lisa Dingman

Lisa Dingman

Taking on the role of the household's 'handyman' was a natural path for me. Watching my dad as a child be able to fix anything made me want to be just like him. Now with I toolbox of my own I tackle any task that my home throws my way. If the task can be accomplished with my own two hands I have never been the type to hire someone else to do it. There is nothing more satisfying than staring at your completed project while you brush some dirt from your hands.