Water slowly going down the drain of a clogged sink

5 Alternative Home Items You Can Use to Clean Clogged Drains

Pooling water, gurgling noises, and a foul smell are just three signs that tell you that your drainage is clogged and needs immediate cleaning. Not only is it annoying to use a sink with a clogged drain, but leaving it like that for too long can also damage your home’s pipes.

Drain cleaners are expensive, and it uses harsh chemicals which may not be good for your drainage pipes. Plastic pipes or even metal ones can degrade and melt, since drain cleaners create heat. Instead, here are five alternatives that you can use as a drain cleaner:

1. Baking Soda and Vinegar Solution

Baking soda, when mixed with vinegar, can be a powerful cleaning solution. This solution can break down fatty acids that build up in your clogged drain caused by grease, food, and soap.

How to use a baking soda and vinegar solution as a cleaner:

  1. Pour about two ounces of the baking soda and vinegar mixture into your drain
  2. Cover it with a cloth while it fizzes
  3. Flush with boiling water after 10 to 15 minutes
  4. Repeat until your drain is clear

2. Alka-Seltzer

Package of Alka-Seltzer
Image source: Amazon

Alka-seltzer is an effervescent antacid usually used to relieve minor aches, heartburn, inflammation, and acid reflux. Aside from its medical use, this can also be an alternative for expensive commercial drain cleaners that contain harsh chemicals that may destroy your pipes.

How to use as alka-seltzer as a cleaner:

  1. Slip down three tablets of Alka Seltzer into the drain
  2. Immediately pour boiling water down the drain for a few seconds
  3. Wait for 15 minutes as the tablets fizz up
  4. Flush it all down with regular tap water and your drain should be cleaned

3. Dry Yeast and Salt

Use a dry yeast and salt solution to clean out grime and grease in your drain before it gets even more clogged. When mixed with salt and poured with hot water, yeast will reproduce and expand, breaking up unwanted dirt and grime that has gathered in your drain.

Loaves of bread and salt on a counter

How to use as a dry yeast and salt solution as a cleaner:

  1. Put two packets of dry yeast and a pinch of salt down into your drain
  2. Flush down with hot water
  3. After an hour, flush again with hot water until it cleans your clogged drain

4. Coffee Grounds

To prevent your drain from being clogged, try pouring coffee grounds into it. The coarse texture of coffee helps clean up the pipes while neutralizing the smell that emanates from the drainage.

Whole coffee beans and coffee grounds on a counter

How to use as coffee grounds as a cleaner:

  1. Pour coffee grounds into the drain
  2. The acids of the coffee will break-up the grease
  3. Flush down with water and your clogged drain should be working just good

5. Dishwasher Detergent

Lastly, you can use something that you already have in your kitchen—a dishwasher detergent. Any gel dishwasher detergent can be used as an alternative drain cleaner. It breaks up the grease, oil, and other dirt particles that have gathered in the drain.

How to use dishwasher detergent as a cleaner:

  1. Pour a good amount of detergent into the drain
  2. Flush it down with boiling water


There are many alternatives that you can use to unclog your poorly-working drainage. Most of these alternative “ingredients” can be found in your home. Instead of using an expensive drain cleaner, use baking soda, Alka-seltzer, dry yeast, coffee grounds, or dishwasher detergent to unclog your drain. These items are cheaper, and it saves your pipe from the harsh chemicals that a standard drain cleaner may have.

We provide various residential plumbing services in Langley, BC, giving plumbing assessments to any homes that may have clogged drain issues – contact us now!

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