A clogged drain is one of the most common hassles you have to deal with at home. It’s always a pain to see a pool of water rising near the drain. Fortunately, such an ordeal doesn’t mean having to call a costly plumber since you can remedy this situation using everyday household items like salt.
You can unclog a drain with salt. It is a highly effective way due to the salt’s abrasive properties. Mixing it with hot water creates a flushing agent that can scrape residue and dissolve sludge that blocks the continuous flow of water through your plumbing.
This article will discuss what makes salt such an effective declogger and how you can use it with various household items to keep your drains clog-free. We will also cover other tools you can use to get rid of clogs effectively.
Unclogging a Drain With Salt and Hot Water
Most clogs occur due to a build-up of solids that get washed down the drain. The drains in your bathroom can get clogged with small pieces of soap or tiny hairs from shaving, while the drains in your kitchen can accumulate food scraps. Over time, the residue clings to the wall of your pipes until it obstructs the water from continuously flowing.
Salt’s grains have sharp edges, making them coarse and highly abrasive. Its abrasiveness helps salt scrape residue from clogged drains. Aside from acting as a flushing agent, hot water can dissolve soap residue and grease, so the combination of salt and water might be enough to clear your drain.
Start by mixing the salt with water 50/50. Heat the solution before it reaches boiling point, then slowly pour the mixture down the drain. Repeat the process as necessary and then finish off by flushing the drain with cool water.
If you have metal pipes, you can increase the water temperature to get better results. However, if you have PVC pipes for your plumbing, keep the water temperature below 140 °F (60 °C) since boiling water can soften or melt the PVC joints, causing a leak.
Make sure to pour the salt and water mixture slowly and directly down the drain to avoid scalding yourself. Hot water can cause severe burns.
If the salt and water mixture doesn’t do the trick, rest assured that you can mix salt with other household ingredients to deal with more stubborn clogs.
Unclogging a Drain With Salt and Baking Soda
Combining salt and baking soda will give you a more robust solution for unclogging a drain. Baking soda is a mild alkali, making it an excellent cleaning agent since it can dissolve dirt and grease in water.
To create a powerful declogging agent, mix 1 cup of baking soda with ½ a cup of salt. This ratio should make it strong enough to dissolve and cut through the drain’s blockage.
Next, pour the mixture down the drain and leave it there for 2 to 3 hours. You need to give the salt and baking soda enough time to work through and disintegrate the sludge.
After a few hours, check to see if the clog has cleared up by pouring hot water down the drain. The hot water will help clear any remaining residue left by the salt and baking soda mixture.
Unclogging a Drain With Salt and Vinegar
You can also add vinegar into the mix to deal with a clogged drain. When you dissolve salt in some vinegar, you create sodium acetate and hydrogen chloride, forming a powerful chemical reaction that can get rid of lots of debris. Combining salt and vinegar gives you an abrasive and cleaner in one.
To use salt and vinegar for declogging, mix 1 cup of salt and 1 cup of vinegar in a small bowl. Keep stirring until the mixture is smooth.
You can add ½ a cup of lemon juice to give the mixture extra acidity, making it a better declogger. If lemon juice is not available, you can increase the amount of vinegar to liquefy the mixture to flow through the pipes more easily.
Now, pour the mixture down the drain and let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes. Put an adequate amount to ensure the clog absorbs the mixture.
Finally, heat 4 cups of water and pour it directly down the drain. Avoid having the water run down the sink’s basin since that will cool the water down. The water needs to be as hot as possible to clear any residue effectively.
Again, you can use boiling water if you have metal pipes, but keep the water below 140 °F if your plumbing is PVC.
Using Epsom Salt to Unclog Drains
If you keep a packet of Epsom salt in the house as a skin conditioner, or to treat body aches, you can also use it to unclog your drains. Epsom salt, also known as magnesium sulfate, is completely different from table salt since it is a chemical compound made of magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen.
The coarse texture of Epsom salt and the fact that it takes a while to dissolve in water makes it suitable for dealing with clogged drains. Its composition also triggers a chemical reaction causing it to fizz and become soapy, making it a very effective declogger.
To use Epsom salt to unclog your drain, start off by pouring hot (but not boiling) water down the drain. Next, add two teaspoons of Epsom salt, and then pour more hot water.
Let it settle for a few minutes, before flushing the drain with more water. You may have to repeat this process several times until the clog is clear.
Epsom salt is effective in clearing clogs due to grime and sludge. Clogs due to hard objects will require other methods, or a professional plumber, to address.
The Downsides of Using Salt to Unclog Drains
Salt is corrosive, so it can damage your plumbing if you still use metal pipes. On the other hand, if your plumbing is made from PVC, it can melt or get damaged if you use water that’s above 140 °F.
Fortunately, PVC or any plastics are inherently resistant to salt corrosion, while metal pipes can withstand more heat. So, to get a stronger declogging mixture, just use more salt with PVC pipes, and hotter water with metal pipes.
A clogged drain can be a real nuisance for any homeowner. Fortunately, you can use household ingredients like salt to get rid of blockages. Whether you use table or Epsom salt, it’s reassuring to know that there are easy and affordable ways to deal with a clog, before having to call a plumber.