How to Make Your Own Homemade Drain Cleaner

Do you have a house full of clogged drains? Did you know you could fix this while spending less than ten bucks? 

Most drain cleaner labels can make you dizzy with all the terminology. Lucky for you, there’s a whole DIY community that’s made it easy to unclog a drain yourself. 

If you want to save money on drain cleaner and learn a little chemistry along the way, keep reading for the tips you need to know!  

The Ingredients for Home Made Drain Cleaner

When you’re making DIY drain cleaner, it’s best to have a stable list of ingredients that you can afford monthly. Start by researching the baseline supplies for the drain cleaner, then adjust your list to your needs and your budget. Here are the basic ingredients that you’re likely to buy. 

Cleaner Bases 

Baking soda is one of the best storebought solutions for drain cleaning. Composed of sodium carbonate, baking soda is full of sodiums that help break down dirt and grime. You can buy baking soda almost anywhere and because of its low price you can buy in bulk. 

Baking soda is reactive, meaning that if you add an acid (such as vinegar) it will become excited. This compound can jostle and break down grime that’s built up in your drain. 

The trick is starting with sodium. This means you can use salt or Borax instead of baking soda just as well. Anytime you combine a sodium base with an acid you will get a halfway decent cleaning solution. 

You can think of Borax as a concentrated form of baking soda. It contains a few extra chemical chains that make it a cleaning alternative and not a cooking formula. If you decide to use Borax make sure to keep it away from any sensitive body parts, children, or pets. 


Acids are your key to a positive chemical reaction. When you add any acid, even one mild as lemon juice, to sodium, you get a reaction capable of cleaning your drain. If you want to unclog your drain, find a multipurpose acid that you can buy for cheap. 

Vinegar is a great acid for your drain cleaning mixture. You can add it to any of the sodiums listed above to get quick results. 

Lemon juice is a weaker acid that works just as well. However, lemons have less acidity than vinegar, meaning you will have to add more lemon juice than an average drain cleaner recipe. 

Cream of tartar is less another option that is derived from tartaric acid. This makes it a viable acid that you can add to baking soda and water to get a great cleaner. 

Sodium and Acid Reactions 

The general rule applies: when you add a weak salt base with a strong based acid you will get an acidic solution. Accordingly, combining medium-strength salts and acids will leave you with a fairly strong compound. 

Adding sodium and citric acid will give you carbon dioxide gas. Don’t worry, adding the right amount of both creates enough reaction for drain cleaning. It will not cause you harm. 

The Steps 

Now you know the cheapest and most simple ingredients for homemade drain cleaner. For this section, we’ll be talking about how to mix and apply your ingredients to your clogged drain. 


First, get all of your ingredients in the right order. For example, you will always add your sodium before you add your acid solution. You might have some blockages at the surface of your drain, clean these out before moving forward. 

Step 1 

Begin by pouring your sodium solution to the drain. Remember, you can use any of the contents listed above. If you choose to use a powder like baking soda, you can use a funnel to pour it down the drain. 

This fills your drain with the base to your draining reaction. It makes a foundation for your acid, leading to the dissolution of gunk and grime. 

Step 2 

Now it’s time you add your acids. You can use any of the acids presented in this post, just make sure to always add them after your sodium. Doing any of these steps out of order will make the process useless. 

After you add something like vinegar or cream of tartar to your powdered sodium you must wait up to one hour. It’s advised that you plug your drain while you wait. 

Step 3 

Add a pot or two of boiling water to your drain. The hot water has an easier time passing through your drain and pushing the dissolved gunk through. 

To recap: add your powder sodium and acid then pour a pot or two of boiling water down the drain. 

This will work for almost any drain you have in your home. If you are dealing with a larger drainage system you might want to buy a professional solution or call a plumber you can trust

Plumbing Done Right 

There’s no question that DIY home repair can be a pleasing experience. After all, it’s your home so why can’t you be the one to fix it? 

After reading this post you are well-equipped to unclog your sinks and bathtubs using a homemade drain cleaner. The formula is simple and most importantly, everything on this list is cheap. 

Still, sometimes a drain is harder to fix than with baking soda and vinegar. In cases like these, it’s best to hire a professional. 

If you can’t do it with storebought items, try contacting a top-notch plumber. Your next step is exactly that, start a dialogue with a pro and get your house back to its old self!