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Kitchen Hack: Learn to Unclog Your Own Drain

July 9, 2015

A savvy homeowner knows when to fix household problems themselves—and when to call in the cavalry. After all, every little scratch in the paint or torn off button doesn’t require professional attention.

A perfect example? A clogged kitchen sink. Unless you know you’ve put something down there that you shouldn’t have, often times, a little elbow grease and TLC is all the drain really needs.

So before you call the plumber, pull on a pair of rubber gloves and give one of these easy DIY solutions a try.

The Baking Soda and Vinegar Method

First, take a cup of baking soda and stuff it down the drain. Use a spoon or spatula if it won’t go down by itself.

Next, pour one cup of white vinegar down the sink. (If you don’t have any handy, apple cider vinegar will also work.) Allow the solution to sit for 5 minutes or so, then run warm water into the sink.

At this point, the clog should disappear and the drain should start to work again. If that doesn’t do the trick, pour a few cups of boiling water down the sink as a last-ditch effort.

The Hot Salt Water Method

Salt is both abrasive and antiseptic, making it the ideal substance for clearing out a clogged drain. If you don’t have enough baking soda or vinegar around, try making a hot water solution instead.

Add 1/2 cup of salt to 1 gallon of water. Heat the mixture until it barely begins to boil. Once the water is hot, pour it into the clogged sink, rotating your the stream as you go to make sure the hot water runs through every part of the drain.

Be very careful while you pour—a gallon of water is pretty heavy, and splashing yourself with boiling water is no fun!

Photo credit: Paul Delmont

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Annalise Mantz

Annalise is a foodie, Brussels sprouts lover, grammar nerd, and political pet aficionado.

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