Clogged pipes and slow-flowing drains are common household headaches. Typically, clogs are caused by hair, grease, food waste, and other debris.
It’s common to see recommendations for coarse salt, boiling water, vinegar, and other household solutions online. But do any of these actually clear plumbing clogs? Here’s what you need to know.
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Can I Clear My Drains With Salt?
Generally speaking, salt doesn’t work that well for clearing clogged drains. The idea is that the coarse texture of salt will break up any debris or clogs when flushed with boiling water. In reality, you would need a lot of salt, and it might damage your pipes in the process.
Can a Salt Rinse Damage My Pipes?
A little bit of salt won’t damage your drains, pipes, or plumbing system. However, you would need a large quantity of salt to coat the interior of your plumbing system. Plumbers and professionals don’t recommend pouring large amounts of anything except water down your drains.
Not to mention, if you have pipes made of PVC, pouring boiling water could cause damage, warpage, and leaks.
Do Homemade Remedies Work?
Homemade remedies using household ingredients are generally not suited for dealing with plumbing clogs. Pouring coarse salt and boiling water won’t do much when it comes to a clogged drain. The salt doesn’t have enough friction to remove anything or break up the clog. The boiling water will just dissolve the salt, leaving you to deal with the clog anyways.
When Are Homemade Solutions Recommended?
In some cases, plumbers will advise you to pour a little bit of salt down your drain to prevent drain flies. The salty conditions make the environment inhabitable for drain flies. You can combine a bit of salt left in the drain overnight, fly tape, and other traps to remove drain flies.
Homemade remedies using baking soda, hot water, or vinegar can help prevent smells. These mixtures can kill and deter smelly bacteria. However, these solutions won’t remove any severe clogs. These homemade remedies will simply get stopped by the clog, stagnate, and potentially cause damage in the process.
How Can I Deal With a Clogged Drain?
If coarse salt, baking soda, and other homemade solutions won’t unclog a drain, what will? There are a few different solutions for dealing with a clogged drain. The best method will depend on the type of clog and the drain in question. These are some general techniques you can try to get started.
Use a Plunger
You can use a plunger to unclog a drain as well as a toilet. You may want to use a new plunger on the sink or at least clean it beforehand.
To use a plunger on a sink, unscrew the sink-hole cover or stopper. Fill the sink with water no more than an inch high. Take your plunger, center it over the drain, and create a strong seal. Now you can pump the plunger for around 15 to 30 seconds and see if your drain is unclogged.
Clothes Hangers, Drain Snakes, and Closet Augers
For a quick DIY method, you can use a clothes hanger to try and remove the obstruction. Clothes hangers work well for removing hair from clogged drains. Straighten out the clothes hanger and create a hook on end. Insert the hanger into the gutter and fish around for any clogs.
You can also use a drain snake or a flexible closet auger to remove any clogs from your pipes. Keep in mind that these tools may need to be purchased and require you to remove the P trap under your sink. If you opt for this route, be sure to read all the product instructions and guidelines before beginning.
Use a Wet Vac
Using a wet-dry vacuum is similar to a plunger or drain snake. This method is a bit more involved and expensive but can be effective in some scenarios. Here’s how to unclog a drain with a wet vac.
- First, place a bucket under the P trap. Remove the P trap using a screwdriver or wrench, be sure to keep the screws and fasteners insight.
- Connect the vacuum hose to your stopper pipe. The stopper pipe is the vertical pipe that connects to your sink basin. Ensure the vacuum hose is connected to the vacuum.
- Set your wet-vac to the “liquid” or “water” mode.
- Now, plug the drain. You can use the sink stopper or a rag to create a seal.
- Turn on your vacuum. Pulse the wet vac on and off to help get things moving. Sometimes, the clog will come out in one fell swoop. In other instances, you’ll have to remove the clog manually.
- Finally, turn off the wet vac, disconnect the hose, reinstall the P trap, and inspect the drain to see if it’s flowing correctly.
Call a Professional
It may be time to call a professional plumber If none of the methods above worked. A professional plumber will have the expertise to access the situation and handle it accordingly. Plumbing services typically range from $100 to $250, depending on the job.
Can I Unclog My Drains Using Salt?
Coarse salt and boiling water don’t work well for clearing clogged drains. The salt doesn’t have enough friction to remove the obstruction and can cause damage to your pipes if you aren’t careful. Other homemade solutions such as baking soda and vinegar aren’t that effective. If you have a clogged drain, it may be best to hire a professional plumber to handle the job.