5 effective home-made ways to unclog the sink and avoid damaging the pipes

5 effective home-made ways to unclog the sink and avoid damaging the pipes

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon in the home, between the shower and the sink, for there to be annoying blockages in the pipes: hair, food residues and various kinds of dirt are the main causes of “blockages”. In the long run, in addition to creating a number of inconveniences and bad smells, the pipes themselves can be damaged.

Of course, there are countless products that can easily be bought in any supermarket, but there are just as many home methods that will save you a few pennies and give you the desired effect. Moreover, it is not always a good idea to use harsh chemicals on our pipes: it is better to try more “natural” solutions.

1. Salt, vinegar and bicarbonate

1. Salt, vinegar and bicarbonate


If the drain is rather clogged, you might want to try this “recipe”:

  • 60 g baking soda
  • 40 g salt
  • 230 ml vinegar

Mix the salt and the baking soda and pour it down the drain; heat the vinegar over a low heat and pour it over the other ingredients. Immediately plug the drain to prevent the foam that forms in reaction from escaping.

Leave everything to work for at least 20 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with hot water.

2. Water and salt

2. Water and salt

When the blockage does not seem too large, a simple mixture of water and salt can be used. Pour 60 g of salt into the blocked drain and pour boiling water over it (boil the water). Leave to work and then rinse with hot water.

This may have to be repeated several times before satisfactory results are obtained.

3. Bicarbonate and vinegar

Bicarbonate and vinegar

Boil water and pour it down the blocked drain; then add 60-120 grams of baking soda and wait a few minutes for it to work. Separately, make a mixture of equal parts of water and vinegar and pour it down the drain, taking care to close it with a stopper immediately afterwards to prevent foam from escaping. Finally, pour in some hot water to rinse.

4. Caustic soda

Caustic soda

If you have this product at home, you also know that it should be used with extreme caution and kept absolutely out of reach of children.

To use caustic soda, or sodium hydroxide, you need to fill a 3 litre bucket with water and add 750 ml of caustic soda (always use protective gloves to handle the container!).

After a few minutes you should see foam forming, then pour the foam into the blocked pipe and wait 20 minutes.

Finally, rinse everything out with boiling water.

5. Using coat hangers as tools to unclog a sink

Using coat hangers as tools to unclog a sink

Many people already know about the coat hanger method, which is useful for removing “masses” of dirt stuck in drains. All you have to do is take an iron coat hanger and shape the handle so that it becomes a kind of fine hook, able to be inserted into the drain.

How to prevent future sink clogs

Now that your kitchen sink is draining properly again, make sure you’re taking measures to prevent clogs from coming back. The most important preventative measure is refraining from disposing of harmful items down the drain. That includes:

  • Grease, fats and oils.
  • Meat.
  • Coffee grounds.
  • Egg shells.
  • Starchy foods, such as pasta, rice or bread.
  • Fruit peels, pits and stickers.
  • Gum.
  • Paint.
  • Paper products, such as paper towels or food wrappers.

Instead, pour cooking grease in an old can and dispose of the container once it’s full. You can add certain waste, including coffee grounds, to mulch or compost piles.

The Home Depot also advised homeowners not to overload the garbage disposal. Try not to grind more than one cup of food waste at a time, and, of course, avoid sending any of the above items to the disposal. Another pro maintenance tip: Create an equal solution of vinegar and water, and freeze the mixture in an ice cube tray. About once a month, grind a few of the cubes down your disposal to scrape away food-waste buildup and keep the unit fresh. Here are more garbage disposal do’s and don’ts to keep your drains clean and clear.

Another good habit for your pipes sake is running hot water down the drain after each sink use to keep everything clear. You might also want to use a drain cover to catch debris before they cause damage in the pipes.

While clogged drains are an easy DIY fix, being prepared for serious plumbing troubles before they arise is always a good strategy.

Did you already know about all these remedies? Tell us which one worked best for you!