Clearing clogs without chemicals

I’m so excited to share these tips for clearing clogged drains (with no harsh chemicals)! Like most bathroom drains, ours gets clogged from time to time. (It may have something to do with my long hair…or the natural body scrub I’ve been trying out, but more on that in a later post!)

Whatever the reason for the clog, I’ve been standing up to my ankles in water each time I’ve showered over the past week. Time to clean the drains! Because we’re on a septic system, I was reluctant to pour harsh chemicals down our bathroom pipes, but we needed a remedy—and fast!

Baking soda and vinegar

Thankfully, I remembered this tip from a friend. Whenever your drain gets clogged, just pour ¼ cup baking soda down the drain, followed by ½ cup white vinegar. Cover the drain for a few minutes and follow up with boiling water.

My first attempt with this remedy yielded a lot of black specks pouring back into the tub, but it had little effect on the clog. So I tried it again. Fewer black specks, still no significant drainage. Time to bring in the big guns: sea salt and boiling water.

Sea salt to clear clogged drains

For this remedy, I poured about 1/3 cup sea salt down the drain and followed it with a quart of boiling water, which I boiled in my electric kettle. (Short plug for electric kettles. I first ran into these kettles when I spent some time living in Ireland several years ago. The Irish used these kettles all the time for hot tea. When I returned to the states, I knew I needed to buy one. So glad I did. I use it for tea, hot cocoa, canning, and now…drain cleaning!)

Electric kettle

Electric kettles are great for making tea and hot cocoa, keeping a ready supply of boiling water during canning, and…[wait for it!]…clearing clogged drains!

Back to the post…When I poured the boiling water down the drain this time, I heard a loud gurgling, popping sound coming from under the tub. Sure enough, the salt and boiling water cleared the clog. Today, I took a shower with a clear-running drain–no standing water, and no harsh chemicals! Hooray for me! Hooray for clean drains! Hooray for home remedies!

(You should be aware that I’m not sure whether the baking soda and vinegar softened up the clog so that the salt and boiling water could work better, or whether you’d get the same results without messing with the baking soda and vinegar. Please feel free to experiment. Just be sure to share your results in the comments section below!)

Update: If this natural remedy doesn’t move the clog, check out an updated post about clearing the clog here.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for more information. And thanks for stopping by!

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5 Responses to Tips for Clearing Clogged Drains (With No Harsh Chemicals)

  1. Jack says:

    I ordered Drain-FX online after hearing about it on the Gary Sullivan radio show and it cleared my drains – no need for chemicals. It’s ecofriendly & effective. I highly recommend it.

  2. Carla says:

    While the baking soda and boiling water can help with clearing clogged drains, there is actually preventative maintenance that can keep from having to deal with clogs at all. There is actually a local company that I have come across that manufactures a product, that naturally cleans drains. I believe they have a website, but the company site is The water runs over their bacteria and plastic device, and the bacteria eats away at fats, oils, and grease that are in our pipes. It leaves behind an awesome smell, and I know that I don’t have to worry about unexpected clogs.

  3. Sarah says:

    Our bathroom sink was draining slowly, and I remembered this post. I tried the baking soda/vinegar/boiling water first and it worked! Thanks for the helpful tip!

    • MaryJane says:

      So glad it worked for you! It’s been a few months now, and my drain is still running clear! I love it when the cheap option is actually best for my family and my septic system. 🙂

  4. MaryJane says:

    By the way, I’m not sure what I liked better about this home remedy…the way it really cleared the clog, or the fact that I could actually breathe in the bathroom while clearing it. (Ever feel like the fumes from commercial drain cleaners are just so overpowering?!)

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