DIY Cleaning Products: Drain Cleaner

Drain Cleaner is easy to make, without using chemicals.   I was going to blog about cleaning today, but there is too much to put in one post so I am doing a small series on DIY Cleaning Products. Hope you enjoy!

 Unclog a sink without chemicals.|Designers Sweet Spot|
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Drain Cleaner Friend or Foe?

Thursday is cleaning day at our house. I must admit that I am not very good at cleaning. It’s probably because I dislike it so much. I would rather be doing just about anything else around the house except cleaning. Perhaps it also has to do with my severe allergies to most cleaning products. Anything with perfume or chemicals in it gives me a nasty reaction.

Ironically enough, I was employed as a janitor for a number of years. I was amazed at how much better commercial cleaning products are compared to the over the counter variety available in the grocery store. One drizzle of the blue or pink commercial liquid and a swoosh of a brush would instantly produce sparkling sinks and toilets. So, how come cleaning at home was so much work?

Cleaning your home used to be more efficient. Remember the days when you could take the rust off of nails with Pine-sol, Mr. Clean or Top Job? My mother used to use Top Job when stripping furniture. It would eat through anything. Not so any more. Environmental concerns have ruined any decent cleaning products on the market, and the amount of perfumes and deodorizers in them is staggering, not to mention the hefty price tag. Do you notice how bad the soap isle smells at the grocery store? Yuck!

I first began to realize how much we were affected by chemicals after we moved into a house that had been a rental. It was completely filthy inside, and I went out and bought tons of cleaning products to cut through the crud and sterilize the germs. We were sick for weeks on end with runny noses, sore throats, watering eyes, coughs, headaches and asthma. I finally came to the realization that it was the cleaning products that were making us sick, not the germs. I began to box up all the items we had accumulated in a few short months. In a small home of 1200 square feet with only 1 1/2 bathrooms, we had been using 5 large boxes of chemicals. I was shocked! Here I thought we were only using a few things! I put the boxes out on the front porch and posted an ad on Craigslist for FREE cleaning supplies. They were gone in less than hour. I actually felt bad for whoever picked them up, they had no idea what they were in for! I am sure they thought they had hit the jackpot!

Finding Alternatives

I began to research organic alternatives. Buying organic cleaning supplies was even more expensive than the regular ones, so that wasn’t an option. I was pleasantly surprised to find that all I really needed was a few simple ingredients, and some old fashioned recipes. I will share more of them the next few days, but today let’s focus on drain cleaner.

Make your own drain cleaner with baking soda.|Designers Sweet Spot|

This drain cleaning recipe came from a late night TV show that I saw years ago, don’t ask me which one because I have no idea. You can purchase the products needed by clicking on my affiliate links below:

Drain Cleaner Ingredients:

•1 cup baking soda

•1 cup salt

•1/4 cup cream of tartar

• 2 cups boiling water

Clean your drain with salt.|Designers Sweet Spot|

Combine the salt and baking soda in a medium bowl. Mix.

Add the 1/4 cup cream of tartar. I find these little containers in the spice isle at the grocery store. They are rather like single serving containers, almost a quarter cup. Close enough in my book.

Combine all the ingredients.

Put 1/4 cup of the dry mixture down the drain.

Drain Cleaner Directions:

•Place 1/4 cup of the mix down the drain.

•Follow with about 2 cups of boiling water. See how it foams and steams? Hard to get a good picture through a cloud, but I think you get the idea. It works great!

I use this treatment about once a month for all our drains, and I use a double treatment for the bathtub since that seems to be where we get the occasional clog.

So simple that even your kids can do it. You’ll never need Drano again, not that it ever worked that well anyway. Several plumbers have told me that Drano is the worst thing you could possibly do to your pipes, not to mention the environment, so why use it? I think the last time I priced it in the grocery store it was in the neighborhood of $6.00 a bottle. This little DIY drain cleaner recipe costs you pennies by comparison.


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  1. says

    DIY methods are so amazing, thinking of the wonders of what ordinary household items can do. I’ve actually tried this trick. And yeah, it works! Anyway, I think anything about drains interests me. We’ve had countless problems about that, you know. Haha! The recent of which is a slow drain. Ugh.

  2. says

    I JUST tried the vinegar and baking soda drain cleaner. I was SOOO happy it worked! Having the bathtub drain stopped in my teenage son’s bathroom was not making life easy! (Think about having to share a bathroom with a 14 year old boy? Consider how he takes care of his room… Let’s just say I needed an extra set of bandages for biting my tongue so hard!) Thanks for the FABULOUS idea!

    • says

      I have not tried it in a septic tank system. I do not know if the salt would be harmful? I guess to me, I think that natural ingredients have to be less harmful than the chemical ones in the long run.

  3. Midge says

    Thank you, thank you, and thank you. Our kitchen drain WAS stopped up and I haven’t been able to get my husband to hold the plunger on one side while I worked the other, then we swap. lol He’s still asleep this a.m. and I put all the ingredients together and unstopped the sink, all by myself. lol It really does work. Just hope I don’t need baking soda in anything before we get to the store. lol Thank you. 🙂

    • designerssweet says

      Oh, I hate working with kitchen drains! I have had that same problem from time to time, so glad it worked for you! I buy my baking soda in giant bags from Costco or Sam’s Club so I will never run out! Have a great day!

    • designerssweet says

      That’s a great idea! I would think it would work just as well in a washing machine. Try it and let me know how it works! Thanks for reading my blog!

  4. says

    I went thru a few ‘windows’ to get to you so forgot the original site I was on. Can I just ‘subscribe’ to you straight out, or are you only on a particular site. LOVE your suggestions!!! I am very unorganized when it comes to ‘cleaning’. My house is very large and somewhat overwhelming for just one person. I have three messy, mentally challenged persons here with me.
    Sure could use your suggestions. Looks to me like you are a lady with it all together. Am definitely doing your ‘drain cleaning’ technique today. Thank you so very much.

    • designerssweet says

      Hi, Thanks for finding me! I did not realize my “subscribe” button has disappeared off my blog, I had no idea it was missing, thanks for pointing that out! You can follow me on FB (Designers Sweet Spot), or I am also on Twitter, Google Plus and Blog Lovin as designermom4. Thanks for visiting my site! Good luck with your clogged drain!

  5. Maureen Austin says

    Iv got a funny smell under my sink I think its coming from the u bend but cannot get it to undo will I get rid of the smell with anythink ?…

    • designerssweet says

      I think this drain cleaner will work to get rid of the smell. Baking powder is great for neutralizing odors, I would give it a try and see what happens. Good luck!

  6. Betty says

    Love using non-toxic cleaners. Please add me to your mailing list.

    Thank you for your time and advice.

    Betty B.

    • designerssweet says

      I have long hair too and this is the only thing that helps keep the drains clean. I use it once a month, but if the drain is really slow you may have to do more than one application to get it really cleared out.

  7. Betsy says

    I use a cup of salt, a cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of white vinegar. Pour in drain and let stand for 15 minutes then flush with 2 quarts of boiling water and run hot tap water down the drain for 1 minute. It always works for me and better than drano.

  8. Robert Powell says

    I purchase ZEP Drain Care from the Home Depot and use it monthly. Will this be a good and safe substitute? The Drain Care is expensive.

    • designerssweet says

      It only takes a few minutes for this solution to work. After pouring the boiling water down you can use the sink right away.

  9. martha harlow says

    Instead of Rid-x for septic tanks system what else will work,so to kill tree roots.rid x It just cost too much.

    • designerssweet says

      I really don’t know anything about septic systems, but you may give this homemade drain cleaner a try. Good luck!

  10. Darlene says

    As a renter I take offense when she says they moved into a house that was a rental and it was filthy. I guess I am a little touchy on the subject. Did it further the content of this article to point out that it had been a rental? Lots of people who OWN their homes live in filth as well, makes no difference. Sorry.

    • designerssweet says

      I am sorry this offended you. I agree that lots of home owners live in filth as well, and renting doesn’t mean you are cleanly or not. I am merely speaking from our personal experience. We have been both landlords and renters, the fact is that some people just don’t take good care of their homes whether they own it or not. Coming into a home that was not properly maintained can bring a number of problems along with it, especially when it comes to plumbing. We have struggled with those issues and that is why I decided to share our story.

  11. says

    Thanks for sharing this Jessica. We will surely use these tips in our services. Your each blog is worth of reading. Keep on sharing these tips because it is helping many families, single parents and cleaning businesses like us (Exit Clean Brisbane)

  12. says

    DIY cleaner I am impressed the way you have explained and the images.. everything has been composed so well. Thank you for posting such a great article . 🙂 keep up the good work.


  1. […] 1) DIY Drain Cleaner I had no idea that this post would be so popular when I wrote it. I was sure it would be the biggest bomb of all time. I recall I had nothing better to talk about that day than cleaning the drain. My photography has gotten lots better since then, so be understanding! Last summer I made a You Tube Video of cleaning your drain, if you need some pointers, check it out! […]

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